A Rankin County Run State Government?
Since I looked at the Speaker’s over the past 70 years, which included no one from the Jackson area and more than two decades of control by Northeast Mississippians, I also wanted to look at the governor and lieutenant governor.
As I said, Tim Ford and Billy McCoy have helped Northeast Mississippi keep a lock on the post for 24 years. During eight of those years, North Mississippi actually had control of the top three offices in the state. From 1988-1992, with Ford as Speaker, Ray Mabus of Ackerman was governor and Brad Dye of Charleston was lieutenant governor. And from 2000-2004, still with Ford, Ronnie Musgrove of Batesville was governor and Amy Tuck of Maben was lieutenant governor.
As for this year, we know at least one of the three top office holders will be from the Jackson area- Tate Reeves is from Flowood. With Phil Bryant the favorite to win the governor’s mansion, that would be a second Rankin county resident. With a few serious candidates for Speaker from the capitol region, the area could control all three offices, which would give the region political clout it simply hasn’t seen. Even more interesting is the possibility of Mark Baker winning the Speaker’s post. He hasn’t made any formal announcements yet, but is viewed as a serious candidate. He is from Brandon. If he was to win (and Bryant was too), Rankin county would have a hold on the top three offices in the state. That would give one county power that I am pretty sure has never been matched.
By the way, the last Jackson area resident to be governor was John Bell Williams. He is from Raymond and served from 1968-1972. Interestingly, he was preceded by Paul B. Johnson who is from Hattiesburg, hometown of Johnny DuPree- and the last Pine Belt resident to win the position.