Skip to content

Four Weeks Until The Primary

July 5, 2011
tags: 2011 Governor, 2011 Lt. Governor, 2011 Treasurer
by Brett

Like many things, the primary election season has gone by incredibly fast and the election will be here before we know it; in fact it is four weeks from today. Here is a rundown of what I am looking at today in the three big primaries.


In the beginning we knew Phil Bryant would be the frontrunner. He has worn that title from day one, and it would be very difficult to make any other argument today. Bryant has raised the most money, picked up a number of key endorsements, and has generally run a safe race like you would expect the leader to do so. Bryant has committed gaffes, but nothing that would be detrimental to a campaign.

For Dave Dennis, his tall task remains overcoming the popularity of Bryant. I have never heard Republican voters speak negatively of Dennis; but Bryant is who they have known and supported in the past, have no reason to turn against him, and that is just very difficult to overcome. As for the outsider angle, it didn’t catch fire in the Congressional primaries in Mississippi one year ago and it doesn’t look to be key here like we have seen in other states. Dennis has won some Tea Party endorsements, but so has Bryant.

Then, of course, we have the money. Bryant continues to lead on that front and we just don’t see those who lose the money game win Republican primaries that often.

One interesting thing to look at as well is the possibility of a runoff should no candidate crack the 50 percent plateau. It’s a possibility, and with Republicans Hudson Holliday and Ron Williams spending money at an amazing clip for long-shot candidates, you have to wonder if they have moved up any and where those votes may have come from.

On the Democratic side, I am little surprised that black political establishment has not moved toward Johnny DuPree in any major way. Bill Luckett has anointed himself the primary winner by focusing on Bryant in every other press release, and that’s not necessarily a bad strategy in a race where picking a favorite is difficult to do.

There have been rumors of a Bennie Thompson endorsement for DuPree for some time now, but that hasn’t come to fruition yet. If it does, it will certainly be a game changer especially in Luckett’s own backyard. For now, I believe we will still see results generally polarized by race, but, again, I don’t think we have a clear leader.

Lt. Governor

The most entertaining primary so far, Billy Hewes has really gone after Tate Reeves in a way that Dennis has yet to do so with Bryant. Is it working? Hewes has a nice fundraiser coming up with some big names backing him, and I’m sure he enjoyed a recent Sun Herald article that took a less than flattering look at Reeves and some of his campaign contributors.

That said, as we saw from the only independent polling I have seen on the race, Hewes had a long way to go and had little name identification north of the Coast. We know negative advertising works (why else would campaigns still use it if it didn’t), but with many (average) voters in the metro area, Desoto county, and elsewhere they were first introduced to Hewes with his press conference and corresponding ad going after Reeves, along with the media attention that followed.

And again, like in the gubernatorial primary, there is the question of can you win with less money. Reeves- as he has been the whole race- is sitting pretty with his cash on hand, and like Bryant, has worn the frontrunner mantle well. And for Hewes, you want to avoid reminding voters of Charlie Ross.


Lucien Smith continues to put up very nice fundraising numbers, which have made him the leader in my opinion. Unlike the GOP primaries for governor and lieutenant governor, we entered this race without a clear favorite so that is a bit more difficult of a call to make.

I do believe, however, this nomination won’t be determined on August 2 with three very capable candidates.

At this point we can be honest about at least one thing- most voters don’t know much about any of the candidates: Smith, Lee Yancey, or Lynn Fitch. All three have certainly been criss-crossing the state, attending festivals and events, but the treasurer’s race just isn’t one that attracts much attention or headlines. This is where Smith’s money comes into play; his ability to get on the air in much stronger fashion than Yancey or Fitch.

Of course, if you’re a campaign, at some point you have to make a decision on how to spend your funds. Can you afford to hold back knowing a runoff means three more weeks of campaigning? I suppose some will say that is like a baseball manager holding his ace for game seven when they are facing elimination in game six.

Neshoba County Fair

Neshoba is coming up at the end of the month, and voters will head to the polls soon afterwards. I’d say that is the last, best chance to make an impression if you are an underdog, and the biggest platform you will likely receive. I’d at least wait until Neshoba concludes to say anything is a done deal.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Dontreadonme permalink
    July 6, 2011 8:56 am

    Excellent analysis. I would like to read more about the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce. The next Commissioner of Ag & Comm. will be pivotal to our economic recovery and there are three candidates to choose from.

    • Dannie Reed permalink
      July 10, 2011 4:46 pm

      The Commissioner of Ag. Job can be one of the most important leaders to effect development and jobs in Mississippi. I am the only candidate that has worked in AG. and Economic Development before becoming the first Republican Rep. 35 in the Ms. House that has developed jobs and local economy in Northeast Mississippi. I also worked state wide on AG.Engineering programs, this is in sharp contrast to the other candidates who have not been in public service in Agriculture. 30 years working for the publc in Ag. Service and two terms elected as a republican with an Dotorte degree earned are maked differences from the other candidates. With a technical, education, economic development and policy background I will can keep on leading in developing Mississippi’s economy. I have a working background in all of the areas that I will be asked to regulate and make policy, including mining. We need a great spokesmand for AG. but most we need a skilled leader that will make changes, I have and will make a difference if I am elected, I will be about action, not talk, accomplishments, not activitys and production, not just show!
      When, I decided to run, before Spell’s retirement announcement, I knew then that less qualified candidates would be running for personal gain or to help those currently in power to keep their hold on profiting from the Commission. We do not need another beef plant mistake, we do not need former lobbyist’s and politicians working for friends, and we do not need lobbyist’s money running or stopping the progress of Mississippi AG as much we as we have now,, I am concserned that we have a candidate that is not working and has no public leadership experience.
      Now you have a proven credible canditate, and of course I do not see myself as similar to the others. Check out Encourage others to get behind . Dr Dannie Reed

      • Dontreadonme permalink
        July 10, 2011 10:50 pm

        Tried to check out, but my system was not compatible, but Im fixing that. I was leaning toward Dannie or Max ever since I visited Cindy Hyde Smith’s site and she referred to herself as a Cattle Farmer. Now that would be a first. I wondered where she gets her seed? Does she plant her cows in rows? What kind of fertilizer does she use to get that cattle to grow? Then I realized you can’t Farm Cattle. This reveals her ignorance in the area of Agriculture and I can’t support that. I would get laughed out the barn.
        I am a little burned out on doctors, given Dr. Lester Spell has done a horrible job and Max Phillips warned me about him long ago. Max has run for the office everytime, trying to beat Dr. Spell. Which kind of gives me Max fatigue, if you know what I mean. However he is a good guy and worked, through the private sector, in agriculture his whole life.
        So I have been giving Dannie Reed a good look to gain my support. He seems to have good qualifications, at least he is a cattle rancher. Now, his information here has given me a little more insight. First, he has worked for the government as a bureaucrat for a full 30 years and I assume drawing retirement. Second a full 30 years of feeding off the tax payers and not having to work in the private sector does not set will with me, but drawing retirement and working as a represenative means he is receiving two government checks each month. (double dipping). Third Dannie wants to bash Max for receiving a retired/diability check for a metal plate holding his neck and back together. (result of working hard for a living). Which is money the Man has already paid to the government through his high level of taxes. Now, Max said he would give that check up if elected so he is only receiving one check, his pay check, but Dannie has been double dipping for the last two election cycles. Talking about the tea pot calling the kittle black. Gee Wiz. Fourth, Dannie Reed claims to have a DOCTORAL degree, but he can’t even spell it. He spells it do-tort-e degree, uses incorrect grammer “background I will can keep on leading” and claims to be a “great spokesmand.” I could go on about the double commas and lack of commas in his comments, but I will spare everyone. People make mistakes, I know I do, and Brett does not offer spell check when commenting. Just don’t claim to be intelligent when you are not that smart. Then bash Max for getting hurt while working for a living. I’m still going to give you a look, just not as good of a look.

        • chrisman permalink
          July 10, 2011 11:49 pm

          I pay a pretty good chunk to the Mississippi State Tax Commission every year. And by voting in favor of House Bill 1463 (TWICE!), Dannie Reed and Cindy Hyde Smith both voted to put $38,000,000 (that’s 38 million dollars) more on my shoulders, not for roads or infrastructure, but for a civil rights museum larger than the capitol. Contrary to what popular media and certain minority groups say, it’s not a black or white issue. It’s a green issue. This was a difficult issue that might get you slapped with a label for voting against, but take a look at the roll call votes. There were quite a few on both sides of the capitol who voted against it. They knew it was just plain stupid to commit $38,000,000 to ANY museum in this economy. This was a tough issue and it took courage to stand firm and do what’s right by those of us who go to work day in and day out to finance this state. Both Dannie Reed and Cindy Hyde Smith proved they lacked that courage by voting in support of HB 1463. I only can believe they’d both likely do the same by caving on the tough issues if they were given the keys to the office of Ag Commissioner like they did on HB 1463.

        • Dannie Reed permalink
          July 12, 2011 12:22 am

          While your checking my spelling, I think we have been through this before, I do not collect state retirement while in the House, I have been paying in and not collecting twice while your friend has collected from the same retirement group as the teachers use. I have also been a good public servant, I was hired by MSU to help people farm and make money, and I have helped start many jobs in my local area. Your may not know what a county agent or extension does and that is ok. I am proud to have been part of it. It has helped our country and the farms. I can not understand why you would not want an educated experienced person leading the development of AG. and Commerce and regulating the sectors involved. I realy dont know why you would want an Ag. commissioner at all if you dont consider a County Agent a worthwhile profession. Just vote for the best, perfect is hard to find.

  2. Steve Wilson permalink
    July 6, 2011 9:25 am

    I’m supporting Cindy Hyde Smith. Max Phillips collects a disability check, that doesn’t set well with someone who works for a paycheck.

    • Dannie Reed permalink
      July 10, 2011 5:05 pm

      This is proof of no real public leadership or work for years. I have no problem with him being on disability from the State Retirement System and from SS. if that is the case, if he is really not able to work. But, Max told Gallo, I am more able than, others in this race, If so why isn’t he working, bottom line, Max has not been working and leading, we need jut the opposite to hold the top office in Agriculture, that is why I am running. It is not personal, its professional, and this is my State!
      I am tired of ineffective leaders that will damage my children’s and grandchildren future, we need the Best!

  3. Dontreadonme permalink
    July 6, 2011 9:59 am

    Well I know Cindy Hyde Smith is the least qualified candidate in the race, although qualified. Reed seems to be a little more qualified. Phillips has a titanium plate in his back and neck which forced him to retire disabled. I thought he pledged to give it up if he won.
    I am kinda worried that this could be a democrat pick up! The local republican establishment (around my area) is forcefully supporting Cindy. I’m just not sure she can win the general. I don’t know I would like more solid information. Which is always found on MIM.

    • July 6, 2011 10:13 am

      I don’t know a whole lot about the Ag race, nor do I have a whole lot of info on it. I would say Phillips, Hyde-Smith and Reed all have similar backgrounds, similar ties with extension agencies/ the ag community. What is kind of ironic is that people from the suburbs will be deciding this race.

      I would guess in order of name recognition you have Phillips then Hyde-Smith then Reed just based on one running for multiple statewide campaigns, then a state senator (who made headlines earlier this yr with her switch), then a state rep.

      I don’t see Republicans losing this one. In 07, Democrats ran probably the best candidate they could get, had a conservative 3rd party candidate, and a Democrat turned Republican who had his flaws; yet he still won a majority and the D was in the low 40′s.

  4. Because you asked permalink
    July 6, 2011 12:53 pm

    Dannie Reed is probably your most qualified candidate. Every degree imaginable, connections to Extensions, extensive work experience in the field. What he lacks is the polish. Dannie is a good ol boy, one of the nicest and finest around, he just doesn’t come off as “statewide” when you see him out. All that said, I’m confident we’d be in very capable hands were he elected, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better individual.

    Max Phillips is also highly qualified, and in my opinion, the most impressive in person. He’s comfortable with who he is, he clearly wants to serve, he’s a philanthropist (ex. he ran feed to affected areas after Katrina on his own dime in his own trucks – and doesn’t talk about it), he’s innovative (his study on the produce the casinos use, for example, and how much potential money MS farmers were missing out on because none came from MS), and he’s also been around ag all of his life. Max Phillips would also make a good Ag Comm.

    Cindy Hyde Smith is the candidate that I know least about, so I’ll keep my comments restricted to what I do know and what I’ve seen first hand. First and foremost, she switched parties to run for office. I know it’s not unprecedented. I know it’s not unheard of. But I’m skeptical, and I don’t really make any apologies for being unsure of someone that makes the change just to run for statewide office (yes, anyone can see the writing on the wall – Jim Hood is that last remaining D in statewide office, so is it really that convincing of a move to see her make the jump before running?). I’ve heard her speak a time or two and must say I was surprised, in a positive way. She comes across well, but she’s a politician, so I never know how much to make of that. I understand that this is her background, so upon further research, I could probably be convinced she’d make a good Comm. too, but the party switch to run still weighs heavy.

    I agree that this race is very important. I wish MS voters were more in-tune with what’s going on in their political world, because there are several races (read everything below Gov and Lt Gov) that are falling victim to that at a very crucial time for our state and its future leadership. We have no time for “Good ol Boy network” candidates, those that would use their position to better themselves and their friends more than their state. We have no time for candidates that will learn on the job, or those that have proven themselves to be less than effective or qualified in other positions, much less those that want to do for the state something they can’t even do for others. We have no time, and we certainly cannot afford, those that run for office out of ambition alone rather than a call to serve, those that see offices as stepping stones or progressions rather than a job to do, a duty to fulfill. Unfortunately the comment made about money is accurate – if someone can get on the air more than others, that’s usually about all it takes. Hopefully more folks will start to ask the questions that matter. Lord knows our state needs it.

  5. Frank permalink
    July 6, 2011 1:37 pm

    We are blessed with three qualified candidates for the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce and I will proudly vote for and support the winner of the Republican primary. Dannie Reed has the background, education, work experience and a proven conservative record from his time spent in the legislature and would be our best choice for this position.

  6. Chrisman permalink
    July 6, 2011 4:30 pm

    I’m with Max Phillips. I’ve shaken his hand and talked to him on several occasions this cycle and the last cycle. He truly wants what’s best for this state and in talking to him you know that he’s qualified, sincere, and a guy you can trust. I voted for him last time and I’ll proudly vote for him again this time.

  7. Steve Wilson permalink
    July 6, 2011 5:46 pm

    I’ve shaken Max’s hand a few times 1991, 1995 when he ran as a Democrat,2003,2007, and this year 2011. That makes 5 different elections, seems like an ok guy.

  8. Dontreadonme permalink
    July 6, 2011 6:14 pm

    All good information… I feel like this position is very important to improve our economy and generate jobs for the working class. There has been an obvious void filling this position sense the Spell that cast the cull cow debacle. Maybe we should have elected Max Phillips way back when.

  9. C Jones permalink
    July 7, 2011 9:58 pm

    Watched the Lucien commercial, looks like he has gained about 20 lbs since I last saw him.
    He comes off better in person, but so do the others.

What are you thinking?

Gravatar Logo

Please log in to to post a comment to your blog.

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. (Log Out)

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. (Log Out)

Connecting to %s