GOP’s Recent Success In NEMS House Races
In my post on the Northeast Mississippi House delegation earlier today, I attempted to give a lay of the land of sorts on how the races are looking in this very key region. Of the 27 districts that cover the area, Democrats control 16, but Republicans have a shot at the majority. I said that would have been unheard of not too long ago- and by that I meant less than a decade ago.
Heading into the 2003 elections, Democrats occupied 25 of the current 27 seats post-redistricting. And Republicans had just one seat- Gary Chism of Columbus, who was moved from HD 40 (sent to Desoto county) to HD 37. Charlie Smith, an independent from Eupora representing HD 35, also served at that time although he was a conservative.
But 2003 would be a big year for Republicans in the region. The GOP picked up four seats including the seat held by outgoing Speaker Tim Ford (Republicans would obviously love to duplicate that feat in November with Billy McCoy stepping aside). Along with Jerry Turner taking HD 18 for the Republicans, Brian Aldridge won the open HD 17 being vacated by Democrat Eloise Scott. In HD 23, Jim Beckett defeated Steve Whitten who had knocked off incumbent Joey Grist in the Democratic primary and Noal Akins unseated incumbent Jay Eads in HD 12. And Dannie Reed would replace Smith in HD 35, formally giving Republicans this seat.
At this point, the GOP increased their representation to six members of the delegation. They would add two more in 2007 with Bubba Carpenter unseating incumbent Rickey Cummings in HD 1 and Mac Huddleston unseating Pat Montgomery in HD 15.
The next three pickups for the Republicans occurred over the past few years with former Democrats Sid Bondurant, Margaret Rogers, and Jeff Smith all changing parties. That’s how the GOP got to 11 today.
As I said earlier, not winning a couple open seats last time around certainly aggravated the Republican Party, but an average pickup of three seats over the past two election cycles in this region is nothing to complain about. But, the GOP has their sights on more than a two or four seat gain here this fall.