HD39: Who Is Endorsing Who
In the GOP primary for the House District 39 seat, longtime Rep. Jeff Smith is hoping to win his first election as a Republican, but he must defeat Jack Larmour to do so. In general, incumbents are generally heavily favored in primaries borrowing some scandal or other major issue, but party-switchers (at least in national elections) have had a tough time of it of late. As for this specific race, I am not here to make any predictions but I do know Smith is viewed very favorably in the district.
Another thing we know is the favorability enjoyed by the NRA, and their sought after endorsement. As we have talked about in the past, they favor incumbents and they did so in this case. Smith received an A+ rating and their endorsement. Larmour received an A rating; the highest rating available to a challenger. After receiving his endorsement, Smith ran an ad in the Commercial Dispatch with the letter. After that, Larmour counted with his own ad that has the NRA very angry and a number of questions that still remain.
First, here is the official letter that Larmour received from the NRA:
However, the Dispatch ran an ad which looks to be an edited version of Smith’s letter (view it here) and a forged signature from NRA liaison Tara Reilly Mica. Here is what ran (full-size here):
According to an extensive rundown of these events from Sarah Fowler, a reporter with the Columbus Packet, Larmour is claiming innocence in the matter and the Dispatch has apparently attributed the error to the graphic designer. (Here is the entire story from the Packet).
The Dispatch then ran the correct ad along with a disclaimer in Wednesday’s paper. It said: “Due to a transcription error by a graphic artist and failure to see the mistake in the proofing process, an ad in Sunday’s dispatch mistakenly stated that the NRA endorsed the candidacy of Jack Larmour. That is not the case. The organization gave Mr. Larmour an A rating and a positive response. The Dispatch regrets and apologizes for the error.”
This still seems pretty suspicious. There was a forged signature, a + added to the A rating, and a line announcing the endorsement if we are to believe the graphic artist is at fault.
Also from the Packet, here is an editorial on what happened from Ron Williams.
This comes a couple weeks after Smith has his own endorsement issues that had him and Rep. Mark Baker backtracking.
Baker, the leader of the House Republican Conference, used official letterhead to pen an endorsement for Smith. While signed by just Baker, the letter did include the names of members of the Republican conference.
Here is the letter (via Fire McCoy):
Smith initially posted on Facebook: “Officially endorsed by the Mississippi House Republican Conference in my primary race! I humbly appreciate the support!”
Several members were outraged over these events, and Smith took full blame for the postings on Facebook and said he was going to tear up the letter, which has been taken off his Facebook page.
This was the new post from Smith: “My post from yesterday should have read: I have officially been endorsed by the Mississippi House Republican Conference Leader Mark Baker. I apologize for any confusion. I am still very excited about the support!”