Various Post-Election Day Observations
We have talked a lot about the statewide, Senate, and House results from Tuesday night, and here are a few post-election observations as we wrap that coverage up and begin to focus on what’s next:
** By now you’ve probably heard that the Democrat who is changing parties is Sen. Gray Tollison. In a move that didn’t really receive much press, Tollison actually endorsed Phil Bryant when he stopped in Oxford to campaign on Monday. You may also remember Tollison’s name as the candidate who received a pass when Delbert Hosemann and the election commission removed his challenger, Todd Wade, from the ballot. Funny how these things work out.
In the Republican caucus, Tollison will be on the more moderate side. I wouldn’t even call him the most conservative Democrat in the chamber, but I asked a Republican in the area about Tollison and he said he was definitely comfortable having Tollison in the party and believes it will help the GOP grow, particularly locally. Keep this in mind, prior to the election the Lafayette county delegation (SD 9, HD 10, HD 12, HD 13, HD 33) consisted of four Democrats and one Republican. After the switch it will be four Republicans and one Democrat, that being Tommy Reynolds.
** The question will now become are there any other switchers? I can identify at least a couple members in each chamber who would be candidates to switch and this is certainly something you traditionally see when the House or Senate flips from one party to another, particularly when it goes from Democratic to Republican in the South.
** We mentioned Buck Clarke and the district that he won in on the blog earlier. But it’s also worth pointing out Greg Snowden. Both of these Republicans won re-election in districts that are now majority-black. Certainly most majority-black districts are Democratic held, but these two Republicans have been able to survive in transitioning districts. That said; expect to see their districts get a little friendlier when the legislature wraps up redistricting.
** Many factors went it flipping the House, but the Tea Party and their ‘Move the House’ campaign has certainly played a large role. At times we have seen Tea Party groups more interested in defeating Republicans they are not happy with, but the group in Mississippi put in a lot of effort in electing conservatives and deserves credit for their work. In a press release, Move the House Committee Chairman Richard Wilbourn said, “Since the beginning of 2011, members of the Tea Party movement from around the State have focused their efforts on replacing Billy McCoy and his liberal House leadership with conservatives who better reflect the values of the people of Mississippi…Ultimately, this was a grassroots, volunteer effort by the members of the local Tea Parties who make up the Mississippi Tea Party and our generous donors. We look forward to working with each newly elected Tea Party endorsed representative and the next Speaker of the House to move our State forward towards better and brighter days.”
** We talked a good bit about Northeast Mississippi and the state’s House delegation prior to the election. Republicans picked up a number of seats here and the delegation has now gone from 16 Democrats and 11 Republicans to 15 Republicans and 12 Democrats. Keep in mind that heading into the 2003 elections; the delegation consisted of 25 Democrats, 1 Republican, and one independent. The times have changed in Northeast Mississippi.
** After being elected governor, Phil Bryant tapped former Appeals Court Judge and State Republican Party Chairman Jim Herring to head his Transition efforts. In a press release, Bryant said this about Herring: “I am grateful to have Judge Herring serve as my Transition Chairman. Judge Herring brings a vast amount of experience and talent to the table. In the days coming, Judge Herring and his team will help advise me on the challenging decisions required in preparation for beginning the new administration in January.”