Quick Notes From The Qualifying Deadline
Now that the qualifying deadline has past, we have a bit of a clearer picture of the key House and Senate races this fall although there will still be question marks on how challengers are received over the few months.
Here are some notes:
** Statement from MSGOP Chairman Arnie Hederman: “We are poised for historic gains this November thanks to the many great Republican candidates who have chosen to serve their communities this year. After what has been the most extensive and successful candidate recruitment effort in our party’s history, we now look forward to spirited primaries, and we are confident Republican voters will choose the best nominees for victory in the fall.”
** Rep. Jeff Smith has qualified to run as a Republican. A longtime Democrat, he had previously qualified as an independent, but decided to switch to the GOP at the last minute. This decision probably had something to do with the Republican challenger who had qualified to run against him a couple days ago. Most of Smith’s constituents will be voting straight-ticket Republican in November, so I imagine there was some concern there.
They will now meet in the GOP primary. As for how this affects Smith’s plans to run for Speaker, that remains to be seen. He had previously said he plans to run for Speaker as an independent which he could still do I believe.
For numbers in the House, this is 54 Republicans. Again, a new high water number for the GOP post-Reconstruction. The magic number to an outright majority is 62.
** Former Rep. Jamie Franks, current chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party, has decided to make a run at his old House seat that he gave up four years ago when he ran for lieutenant governor. He will meet incumbent Mark Duvall in the Democratic primary, along with Brad Underwood. This is a very interesting move, and I think these late decisions show this deep yellow-dog seat is very much in play for the GOP.
The 2007 GOP nominee, Randy Boyd has qualified, along with Alan Sheffield, have qualified on the Republican side.
** Republicans Sid Bondurant, Russ Nowell, Greg Snowden, and Jim Ellington all represent districts with a BVAP in the mid to upper 40s. They all eventually got Democratic challengers. Snowden will actually have two challengers in November: Democratic candidate Gary Houston and independent candidate Sam Thompson. They are both African-American preachers and you would think they may split votes with each other when they are both on the ballot.
** Here is the final list of candidates hoping to replace Billy McCoy in HD 3: Democrats Bobby Wren, Jimmy Russell and Tommy Cadle; Republican Tracy Arnold.
** Among late qualifiers, Republicans got a candidate for the open HD 75 seat (Brenda Whatley-Kirby) and to run against Jimmy Puckett in HD 20 (Chris Brown). Four years ago, Puckett won with just 51 percent of the vote in a district that gave Haley Barbour 62 percent of the vote. For Democrats, they managed to get a candidate (Dale Kimble) to run for the HD 105 seat being vacated by Shaun Walley.
** A total of three Democrats have lined up to run against Mary Ann Stevens in the primary. Stevens is the most conservative Democrat in the House according to the latest BIPEC ratings and represents a district that has a BVAP in the upper-40s. Translation: Democrats think someone more liberal should be in this seat. They failed in their attempt to collapse her district during redistricting, but the longtime Representative will have a battle this August.
** Despite some rumors floating around, Terry Burton will run as a Republican; meaning he will face Tad Campbell in the August primary for the SD 31 seat.
** As for Republicans in the Senate facing districts with high BVAPs, Democrats fielded candidates to run against Buck Clarke, Lydia Chassaniol, and Ezell Lee- along with the open SD 10 seat being vacated by Nolan Mettetal. They did not field a candidate to run against Briggs Hopson, Terry Brown, Videt Carmichael, or Joey Fillingane.
** For the final GOP recruitment, the candidates remain to be seen but they do have one in every potentially competitive race. Something they did not do four years ago. I will have more specifics on that later.