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Post Labor Day Preview Of House Races

September 7, 2011

We have about two months before the general election, so I figured this would be a good time to recap what will likely be the competitive House races this fall. Some of these races are more competitive than others, and it’s still a little too early to really get a good feel on which way the district is moving.

We have 25 races listed below (about one-fifth of the House), a pretty high number, so obviously a number of them won’t be changing. But here is a look at the overall playing field:

HD 2 (Open): Nick Bain (D) vs. Chip Wood (R). This seat is being vacated by longtime Rep. Harvey Moss (D). Haley Barbour won 57 percent here four years ago.

HD 3 (Open): Tommy Cadle (D) vs. Tracy Arnold (R). This seat is being vacated by Speaker Billy McCoy (D). Barbour won 49 percent here four years ago.

HD 4 (Open): Jody Steverson (D) vs. James Benefield (R). This seat is being vacated by Rep. Greg Ward (D). Barbour won 57 percent here four years ago.

HD 10 (Open): Greg Hodges (D) vs. Sen. Nolan Mettetal (R). This seat is being vacated by Rep. Walter McBride (D). Barbour won 71 percent here four years ago.

HD 13 (Open): Billy Gray (D) vs. Steve Massengill (R). This seat is being vacated by Rep. Jack Gadd (D), a Jeff Smith supporter in 2007. Barbour won 62 percent here four years ago.

HD 19: Rep. Mark DuVall (D) vs. Randy Boyd (R). DuVall defeated Boyd 52-48 in 2007 as Barbour carried the district with 54 percent. DuVall recently fended off a primary challenge from Jamie Franks, the previous holder of this seat. I am told that DuVall and Franks beat each other up pretty good in their race, more so than we heard about in this district that is located in the very Northeast portion of the state. The thinking is is that the primary helped Boyd.

HD 20: Rep. Jimmy Puckett (D) vs. Chris Brown (R). Another rematch from 2007 where Puckett defeated Brown 51-49. This is a district that Barbour was at 62 percent in 2007.

HD 21: Rep. Donnie Bell (D) vs. Deborah Tierce (R). Bell won his first term in 2007 in pretty strong fashion, but Republicans are at least targeting this seat thinking that Bell may now be beatable thanks to his voting record over the past four years. Barbour won 54 percent here four years ago.

HD 24: Rep. Sid Bondurant (R) vs. Kevin Horan (D). Bondurant is running as a Republican for the first time in his district that has a BVAP over 40 percent. Barbour won 53 percent here four years ago.

HD 25: Rep. John Mayo (D) vs. Gene Alday (R). Mayo was one of the Democratic legislators likely hurt by Bill Luckett losing the Democratic nomination. This race will be about geography and Mayo will need a strong turnout in the Clarksdale area, his home base. Alday is the mayor of Walls, in Desoto county. Mayo won by ten points in 2007, while Barbour carried the district with 64 percent.

HD 28 (Open): David Dallas (D) vs. Tommy Taylor (R). This seat is being vacated by Rep. David Norquist (D). Barbour won 59 percent here four years ago.

HD 43: Rep. Russ Nowell (R) vs. Michael Evans (D). Nowell is running his first race as a Republican in a district that has a BVAP in the low 40s. Barbour won 51 percent here four year ago.

HD 45: Rep. Bennett Malone (D) vs. Jay Mathis (R). This is another rematch from 2007, where Malone defeated Mathis 56-44. Barbour won 60 percent here four years ago.

HD 73: Rep. Jim Ellington (R) vs. Brad Oberhousen (D). Ellington was one of the first Republicans in the legislature, but as demographics in Hinds county have changed, so has Ellington’s once very strong Republican district. Four years ago, Barbour won 61 percent and Ellington was at 64 percent. The district’s BVAP is now in the mid-40s. One thought when you see a district change this much, this fast is that many of the new residents likely won’t have re-registered or won’t be voting.

HD 75: Rep. Tracy Arinder (I) vs. Tom Miles (D) vs. Brenda Whatley-Kirby (R). This will be a competitive three way race with Arinder now running as an independent. As a Democrat, he won by 50 points four years ago, but I would look for Arinder and Miles to cancel each other out, and if they both don’t go above 31 or 32 percent, Whatley-Kirby should be able to win this seat. Barbour won 58 percent here four years ago.

HD 79: Rep. Bo Eaton (D) vs. Ron Swindall (R): Eaton will be going for his fifth term this fall so he’s been around. Republicans feel that they have a good candidate in Swindall in this district that gave Barbour 54 percent of the vote four years ago.

HD 83: Rep. Greg Snowden (R) vs. Gary Houston (D) vs. Sam Thompson (I). This is another race where a three-man field should help the GOP. This district has a BVAP in the upper 40s, but two African-American preachers will be on the ballot. If Thompson, the independent, could take some votes it will likely be at the expense of Houston. Barbour won 56 percent here four years ago.

HD 86: Rep. Sherra Lane (D) vs. Mark Purvis (R). Because Barbour was only at 49 percent here four years ago, I haven’t paid a lot of attention to this race but have heard that the GOP has a strong candidate in Purvis to match up with Lane who has been in the House since 2005. Lane won 61-39 four years ago.

HD 93: Rep. Dirk Dedeaux (D) vs. Timmy Ladner (R). Dedeaux has been around for 15 years in this oddly shaped district that spans six counties in the South Mississippi. This is a slightly Republican area, giving Barbour 55 percent of the vote, but has regularly supported Dedeaux, who I am told isn’t disliked but isn’t really liked. The trick is to give voters a reason to vote Republican, and Republicans believe they have a good candidate in Ladner.

HD 105 (Open): Dale Kimble (D) vs. Dennie Debar (R). This seat is being vacated by Rep. Shaun Walley (D). Barbour won 52 percent here four years ago.

HD 107 (Open): Douglas Lee (D) vs. Doug McLeod (R). This seat is being vacated by Rep. Deryk Parker, who voted for Jeff Smith in 2007. Barbour won 58 percent here four years ago.

HD 111: Rep. Brandon Jones (D) vs. Charles Busby (R). The race that everyone is watching. Every player in the state will likely be involved so resources will not be lacking on either side. We’ve talked about this in good detail. Jones won by 11 votes in 2007 as Barbour carried the district with 76 percent of the vote.

HD 115: Rep. Randall Patterson (D) vs. Pat Williams (R). Republicans didn’t field a challenge for Patterson four years ago, but believe they have a good candidate in Williams for this district that gave Barbour 58 percent of the vote. Patterson is on the more conservative side of the House Democratic caucus, but that probably says more about the caucus than Patterson’s ideology. He did vote for Jeff Smith in 2007.

HD 121: Rep. Diane Peranich (D) vs. Carolyn Crawford (R). Peranich has been around since the 1980s, but Republicans are eyeing this district that gave Barbour 66 percent in 2007. That same year, the GOP did not field a candidate to run against Peranich.

HD 122 (Open): Sen. David Baria (D) vs. Dorothy Wilcox (R). This seat is being vacated by longtime Rep. J.P. Compretta (D). Barbour won 73 percent here four years ago. Baria has the advantage of representing this district in the Senate, but it is a very Republican area and Baria got into the Senate four years ago thanks to winning a primary versus a conservative Democrat with no general election opponent.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Bill Billingsley permalink
    September 7, 2011 1:57 pm

    I guess Eaton and Malone will be hard to beat, but there isn’t another Democrat on this list who can take much time off between now and November. Anxious to see how this is going to turn out…

  2. Republican Dawg permalink
    September 7, 2011 2:21 pm

    I think Malone’s time has come, and he will finally lose.

    There is a ton of territory in Northeast Mississippi up for grabs. I would think DuPree will do nothing to help the Democratic candidates there, they better hope voters are still up for crossing over.

  3. Jack Bauer permalink
    September 7, 2011 2:53 pm

    Puckett, Malone,, and Dedeaux are all but gone, not because of the strengths of their opponents but because of incumbent issues. Arinder’s personal issues will prevent him from throwing it to Whatley-Kirby (Scott Co. voting for a woman with a hyphenated name? C’mon). My sense, and I hope I’m wrong, but it seems the Democrats did a better job recruiting quality candidates than did the GOP. Again, I hope I’m wrong about that. Also, I’m wondering if maybe we’re not putting too much stock on Haley’s numbers in these districts. John Arthur Eaves, after all, was a terrible standard-bearer with no organization whatsoever. I”ve started wondering if Haley’s numbers in many of these districts might be false measurements for optimism–especially in light of how weak some of our GOP candidates are.

    • September 7, 2011 9:46 pm

      Agree re: Barbour’s numbers but its what we have. Since he won 59% statewide you can use that as a gauge on how Republican the district may be. Obviously if he was in the low 50s, not very. But when I looked at Barbour’s numbers, his strength from 03 to 07 appeared to be in South MS, particularly along the Coast, and the Delta and other majority black counties. By that I mean he did a good bit better than he did in 03 and better than you would think an average R would. He won 42% in Chuck Espy’s district for example even though its 70% plus black. But in other areas, NEMS for example where we have a number of key races, Barbour didn’t necessarily perform that well and even did worse in a few counties compared to 03.

  4. Jack Bauer permalink
    September 7, 2011 10:28 pm

    You’re right, and I’m not trying to make work for you, but do you have Jim Hood’s numbers vs. Al Hopkins in those districts (NEMS in particular)? Knowing the world and all dynamics have changed (Obama, Tea Party, Childers, etc), the Hood numbers from ’08 may also be relevant. Just a thought.

  5. Karen permalink
    September 8, 2011 1:04 am

    Where is HD 106? Donna Knezevich (Libertarian) has a lot of support from Republicans and Democrats alike. Is there a reason you omitted this district from your list?

  6. Henry Foreman permalink
    September 8, 2011 1:37 pm

    How can anyone vote for a Damn o rat. You can not vote for a liberal an be a Christian. God said I knew you before you were in your mother’s womb. How can you support people that pass laws that kill babies before being born then go to church on Sunday act like you did nothing worng, If you vote for these people like Obama, Pelosi are any Damn o rat you are as guilty as killing babies as they are for you put them in office to pass the killing laws. So if you vote for these pepole stop going to CHURCH God know what and who you are. Why liberal damn o rats can’t stand the truth is beyound me. They act like they will end up in Heaven like us that think God an only God has the right to end a BABY”S life. The Bible teaches us an eye for an eye. So you will pay with you life for you sorry ass votes.

  7. Henry Foreman permalink
    September 8, 2011 1:41 pm

    I hope all liberal know they are guilty for where America is today. SS end when Johnson took it out of the SS Fund and put it in the Gerneal Fund. Then every liberal Pres. after than has added more give aways so sorry lazy no good people don’t have to work. Yes every give away in the history of America has came from liberals. Guilty once again for you sorry ass votes. So how can you pro claim to he happy as a damn o rat.

  8. Henry Foreman permalink
    September 8, 2011 1:50 pm

    As for the Tea Party people talking about life time people in office they can keep their mouth shut. They support people like Lynn Fiitch which has been in gov job most of her life when someone that only served one term in the Senate so that does not wash. They blew it. Kept Gene Taylor in office all those years when he voted 84% of the time liberal support babies killers all those years then lied about abortion. People are jerks for not seeing people for who they are or not caring. That is why America is where it is. Every Conv. in America should stay out of Nv, they way the unions put the snake Reid back in office. Now there is a real jackass right there with Obama and Pelosi.

  9. Henry Foreman permalink
    September 8, 2011 1:54 pm

    You people that are talking about sorry ass Jim Hood someone tell me one good thing he has done in Ms. He refused to sue Obama when he bribbed the Senator for La. and Neb., the Repused to Sue Obama on the Health Care. The Cig. suit all the money went to friend lawyer of his. You never saw him on the Coast after any Hur. are Oil spill. he is one more damn o rat that need to be turn out and have his ass kick out of Ms. Sorry jackass liberal.


  1. MIM—Post Labor Day Preview Of House Races | Mississippi PEP

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