Brandon Presley, The Populist
Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley is running for a second term this fall, and is one of only two Democratic incumbents running for the 14 statewide and regional races (statewide, PSC, and transportation). Jim Hood, of course, being the other.
Presley, like many north Mississippi Democrats, has staked his reputation on being a populist. He was the sole member of the three-person PSC to oppose the Kemper county lignite coal plant arguing that it would cost ratepayers too much. It did get the PSC’s approval, although the Sierra Club (not exactly popular company in Mississippi) is suing hoping to block production. Some labor groups also opposed the plant.
And recently Presley, who is one of (if not the most) active elected officials on Twitter said this: “CEO pay rose 24% from ’09 to ’10, to an avg of $9 million a year while the American worker saw a 3% raise, if anything. Anyone surprised?” And I imagine most people in his district agree with the sentiment.
In 2010, the traditional brand of Democratic populism that has been so strong for decades in North Mississippi didn’t help Travis Childers too much. As for Presley, he should be the favorite but has drawn a couple challengers and some reason to be concerned. For one, Presley has raised about $11,000 this year and has less than $2,5000 in the bank. Many of Presley’s past fundraising channels were eliminated with the judicial scandals of a couple years go, but I would expect stronger numbers of the incumbent.
Presley has two Republican challengers. Boyce Adams of Columbus raised a little more than $29,000 with a little less than $15,000 in the bank. Marvin Cox of Southaven raised a little less than $6,000 and has around $3,500 COH. Money is key in the GOP primary but geography could also play a role, and that would certainly favor Cox.