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Mabus, Taylor And the Rumor Mill

April 13, 2011

One of the not-too-secret rumors floating around is that former governor and current Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus is in the running of candidates who may replace Robert Gates when as leaves his post as secretary of defense. Mabus has received good marks for his current job, but other contenders would likely include D.C. heavyweights such as former CIA Director Leon Panetta, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), and even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

I have heard Mabus had a meeting at the White House today with President Obama and Gates. We shall see.

But that isn’t the only Mabus rumor. Is a return to elected politics potentially in the cards? Suppose he doesn’t get the secretary of defense position or Obama is polling poorly a year from now and re-election hopes look dim- does he make a run for the Senate against Roger Wicker? I’ve heard talk of that, although you would imagine that would be plan B for Mabus.

As I said, Mabus has received nothing put positive feedback in his current job and there has been some image rehab for the former governor who lost to Kirk Fordice in 1991. But, before getting the job with the Navy, Mabus was one of the strongest backers of Obama in the state. It would be fairly easy for Wicker to tie the two together (like this, for example). Then there is the letter D that will be next to his name on the ballot.

But if Mabus does move up, move on, or move out, who would replace him as Navy Secretary? Apparently, former Rep. Gene Taylor wants it. He told the Sun Herald that is the only political position he would consider in the future. (Taylor has recently taken a job with a private company based out of New Orleans). If this is a possibility and I am Steven Palazzo- I become Taylor’s biggest cheerleader.

Rep. Palazzo has stumbled out of the gates in his first few months in D.C. and while Taylor says he’s not interested in his old job, you would have to think interest may rise if Palazzo appears vulnerable in a year. Having Taylor occupied with the Navy wouldn’t be the worst thing for the freshman Congressman.

As for other challengers to Palazzo, I imagine names like state Sen. David Baria and state Rep. Brandon Jones will come up. Of course, a lot may happen between now and November, 2012 for those two (and any legislator). Do Jones and Baria have to run twice? Do they win re-election this fall? If they do need to run twice, it would be near impossible to make a Congressional run at the same time so they would have to choose.

And for the DCCC, MS-04 has not been put on any of their early target lists of seats they are looking to win in their quest to win back the majority in 2012.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. The Heater permalink
    April 13, 2011 9:41 pm

    Before making any decisions to run statewide Mabus ought to consult with Musgrove to find out how it feels to get sent to the showers by the voters … twice. Because he’ll lose.

    As for Brandon Jones … he’ll never be able to get the stink of being a McCoy lackey off his clothes nor out of the nostrils of voters. He voted w/ McCoy as the House tried to enact a Mississippi version of card check for the school teachers’ union. His 3-year BIPEC average is a ‘F’, he’ll have to take a stand on Obama, Obamacare and state without equivocation or flinching whether he’d vote for Pelosi to return as Speaker.

    If the race is Palazzo v. Jones it will be Palazzo with at least 55%. By November 2012 voters won’t give a damn about changes in his personnel because nobody beyond political junkies and Democrat mouthpieces give a damn about them now.

  2. Voteoutobama permalink
    April 14, 2011 9:49 am

    who cares about staff changes anyways, it’s capitol hill? That’s how it operates, folks are constantly looking for promotions and moving to better opportunities. The Sun Herald is trying to make Palazzo look bad and they are desperate for stories because they lack real journalist. Does anyone remember their multiple endorsements of Taylor up until election day? It’s just a continuation of the campaign against Palazzo by the editorial board and their lackey Pender.

  3. Jim Martin permalink
    April 14, 2011 10:13 am

    Palazzo should turn to veteran politicos and well connected people to restock his staff. He should consider hiring Larry Gregory, who just announced that he is leaving the position of exec director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, to be his chief of staff. Gregory has a wide history of management experience and is respected by the gaming crowd. For his public info, he should hire a person with established connections to the University of Southern Mississippi. Two names would be excellent: Margie Jepsen and Ken Stribling. Jepsen was the USM public relations person until recently and is highly respected. Stribling was USM student body president, served with Palazzo in the MS House, and is the PR guy for USDA. Locally, there was a older lady who worked for Taylor in Hattiesburg who used to be a teacher. She was a great politico and Palazzo should look her up and see if she will work for him. As Trent Lott proved, your staff can make you or break you. Lott had a knack for hiring great staffers and that is why he lasted so long. BTW, another person who’d be a great hire is Morgan Shands, but he is managing a statewide campaign now. He has tons of experience and has great connections with both Dems and Republicans.

  4. Princess Sophia permalink
    April 14, 2011 2:28 pm

    Are the three of you hoping to get those positions? I know there are three staffers gone or going and there sudenly three Palazzo fans having a love fest here. Good luck!

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