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Primary Season Will Be Here Soon

November 21, 2011

While voters have just gone to the polls two weeks ago, another election season is upon us whether you like it or not. This is the simply the system that is in place in Mississippi. By holding statewide, legislative, and county elections the year before the presidential election you are guaranteed a quick turnaround time with primaries right around the corner.

In the “off-year” Congressional elections (2006, 2010, 2014, etc.), primaries are held some time in the spring. I believe it was June 1 in 2010. But the 2012 primaries are set for March, coinciding with the presidential primaries. Some states hold separate elections for Congressional and presidential primaries, Mississippi does not.

Judging by the way the Republican presidential primary has gone so far, I don’t think it’d be a far fetched to imagine it still being in the air by the time Mississippians head to the polls. Polling of Republican primary voters only, Newt Gingrich leads with 28 percent in the state compared to 25 percent for Herman Cain, 14 percent for Rick Perry, and 12 percent for Mitt Romney. Speaking of Romney, the state has never warmed to the perceived frontrunner, and I think that underscores his problems in the South. Perry was the obvious choice to carry the anti-Romney mantle but his campaign never took off. Gingrich is in very strong position to win the state’s primary, should he still be in the race in March.

Of course, Obama’s 36 percent approval rating here virtually guarantees the GOP nominee will carry the state’s electoral votes. In hypothetical matchups, he loses by 12-18 points to any Republican and is generally in the low 80s with the black vote, compared to upper 90s in 2008.

Immediately following the 2010 election, there was talk about a challenger to Roger Wicker’s right. Unless they are running the most secretive campaign in history, that person doesn’t exist, at least not in any serious form. Among primary voters, he leads 56-26 over “someone more conservative” and has a 75 percent approval rating. Across the board, the Republican maintains a nice 56-23 approval rating. I wouldn’t be shocked if Democrats pass on this race. Every big name Dem (Moore, Musgrove, Childers, Taylor) gets trounced in hypothetical matchups.

The Congressional primaries could be a little more interesting, but again the time table has to be a concern. First, we still don’t know what the Congressional maps will look like. With the GOP taking control of the House, Gregg Harper should get his wish and keep Northeast Jackson. But these are small details. The maps don’t greatly affect anything.

Harper, in fact, is the only House member who isn’t facing a primary in some form or fashion. Bennie Thompson, the lone Democrat in the delegation, is facing a challenge from former Greenville Mayor Heather McTeer (and others). Thompson has faced primaries before, but never from his left. Will be interesting to watch and to see if McTeer can drum up the female vote, but Thompson is still king of the Delta.

Alan Nunnelee is very likely to face a primary rematch from Henry Ross. We have been looking at this for some time now. But probably the most serious challenge will be in MS-04 where Steven Palazzo has faced bad press for staff turnover (which began almost immediately) to a more recent story involving staffers who threw a two-night party in Annapolis and tried to impersonate the Congressman after getting a call from local police. One candidate from the Coast has already emerged, but this will get very interesting if any sitting Republican officials decide to make a run here.

But those challengers have little time to get in, followed by a very short timeframe to run. And of course they still have to remind voters, who are certain to have some amount of fatigue, that their is an election going on.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Louis Baxter permalink
    November 21, 2011 2:52 pm

    I hadn’t considered the fact that McTeer was on Thompson’s left. Might make for an interesting race. She’s a bit of a “new age” Democrat if you will, as opposed to Thompson, who’s the epitome of old school.

    Of course, Thompson should still pull this one out quite handily

  2. Charlie Stogner permalink
    November 21, 2011 2:59 pm

    While there are some Republican members in Congress making the sensible proposal that we roll back Congressional pay and presidential hopeful Perry is suggesting a drastic cut in pay as well as a return to citizen-legislators, Congressman Greg Harper recently gave a resounding ‘NO’ to whether he would support cut backs in congressional pay and expenses.
    In fact he remarked he had to take a cut in pay to serve in Congress.
    He was asked during a recent Stennis/Capital Press Corp luncheon if that since many small business owners have had to accept serious cuts in their income, would he be willing to support a move for members of Congress to accept less. His reply was NO.
    It may not be a bad time for some truly fiscal conservative with an understanding of the needs of small businesses to take a stab at Harper’s seat. He was in private law practice before getting elected to his $174,000 plus perks position. There is a vast difference in how fiscal conservatives in the nature of the old Republican party and today’s ‘social’ or ‘religious right’ conservatives look at government programs and taxes.

    • rankinlawyer permalink
      November 21, 2011 6:06 pm

      Charlie, I sure get tired of your anti-Christian diatribes.

  3. Frederick permalink
    November 21, 2011 4:17 pm

    What a great idea Charlie!! Why don’t you do it – that way you can learn the depth of your support for throwing out all the current leaders of the MS Republican Party. I’ll contribute the first $1000 to your campaign IF you will agree to bet with me on the eventual outcome. Bet you don’t get 10% of the vote against Harper.

    Harper, Nunnellee and Palazzo should all go back to office – plus Wicker of course. Nunnellee has done a good job representing his district and despite Ross’s contention that he has issues with his voting record, don’t believe anyone in the First Rep Primary will disagree with the results from Nunnellee.

    Palazzo may be challenged by some Coast Repub, but the large majority of the primary voters will agree that Palazzo pulled up his big boy pants in 2010 and jumped in the race to unseat Taylor, while any potential challenger stood on the side and watched. Palazzo won and he has not given reason to change him. Staffing issues? Is that a big deal to the average voter? No. Staff foolishness? Same thing – as long as Palazzo dealt with them appropriately, still not an election issue on the outside of “insider politics”.

    Palazzo has a good voting record, has landed major committee assignments important to his District, and has not given a reason to get rid of him. The issue down there is that many folks that had their eye on Taylor’s seat didn’t have the guts to take him on – and now they are out in the cold.

    • Chrisman permalink
      November 22, 2011 3:12 pm


    • Coast Rat 4ever permalink
      November 22, 2011 5:45 pm

      I’m beginning to really question if Palazzo will have an R contender. Michael Watson’s name has floated around for some time now but the primaries are just a few months away and no commitment from Michael. Other potential contenders include at least one, and maybe two names, right here in Ocean Springs have been rumored. Even if Michael does decide to run it may be too late to put a campaign machine together and raise the $$$ that he will need to be a serious contender. There are also strong rumors of Gene running as an independent but no hard word as to the accuracy of this rumor. And I haven’t heard any word of a potential D candidate in the 4th cong district.

      My question to other MIM readers is how would Gene Taylor running as an Independent affect a general election between Palazzo (or potentially another R) and a strong D contender?

    • Travis Rose permalink
      November 27, 2011 10:50 pm

      I haven’t met too many Republicans in south Mississippi who liked continuing to fund Planned Parenthood or raising the debt ceiling.

      • a harmless nobody permalink
        November 28, 2011 1:43 pm

        Regardless of what anyone thinks of Palazzo, it was Joe Tegerdine who created the the vulnerability of Gene Taylor. The Republican Party realized that Joe ( if elected ) would not support business as usual, in D.C. In a panic the party pushed Steve on the voters.

        Steve won mainly because of the “R” by his name, not qualifications or values.

        I think any true conservative candidate with credibility could defeat Steve Palazzo.

        I don’t know if Travis rose is interested in running, but I think he could do it.

  4. Charlie Stogner permalink
    November 22, 2011 12:37 pm

    I’m too old but sure hope I live long enough to see some genuine ‘fiscal’ conservatives taking office. We’ve got too many elected officials serving for ‘what’s in it for them’ rather than for ‘what they can do for their fellow citizens’.

    Thanks for the offer though. Maybe 10% would get Harper’s attention and bring him back to the reality us small business owners are going through with reduced incomes.

    • ron to charlie williams permalink
      November 26, 2011 8:33 pm

      Hey Charlie, I hope you are doin well. I have a test for any congressman or senator to determine wether or not they are truly fiscal conservatives.

      They should demand a stop to the Solyndra hearings.

      The fact is this, ” Solyndra” Is an example of Politics as usual in the US. it is obvious that the Whitehouse was aware of it and pushed it. This is party politics and the rerwarding of cam paign contributors. ( Both parties do it ).

      Wether you agree with it or not, Secretary Chu, had the legal authlority to approve the loan.

      What is alarming is how much money is being spent to inquire into the matter. The solyndra loan was unethical and wrong, but is was within the authority of the secretary. while being used as a public opinion ploy, by the Republicans, all this costly inquiry will not change a thing except increase our debt.

      Same thing on fast and furious.

      I suspect that We ( the republicans ) will be successful in 2012. Then our leaders can start rewarding their campaign contributors.

  5. Charlie Stogner permalink
    November 22, 2011 4:24 pm

    I’m afraid I’ve given the wrong impression. I very deeply embrace Christianity and the basic concepts associated with religion in general. I think anyone serving in office needs to have strong religious convictions. I do however think none of us should want to impose our own religious beliefs on others and should respect any other person’s beliefs. That leads me to think we need to be ‘fiscal’ conservatives having social values based on religious beliefs but not make these into law.

    I even attend church on a regular basis.

    Seriously I would think having strong religious convictions can just as easily apply to someone who is a Democrat as a Republican or perhaps to a Libertarian. There are governments where religious law supersedes civil law and usually it results in some members of society being forced to follow some other person’s belief, not their own.

    Sorry if you’re offended.

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