Palazzo Begins Re-Election Campaign
Earlier this week, the Steven Palazzo campaign announced that he will have a reception on February 4 with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as the freshman faces the possibility of primary and general election challengers. Cantor wouldn’t be coming to the Fourth District if this race wasn’t at least on the NRCC’s radar, but I haven’t heard this race talked about as a Democratic takeover possibility at this point. You won’t find any mention of it from Rothenberg or Cook or Sabato, etc.
Part of that is because their is only one serious Democrat and that is the man Palazzo defeated last November- Gene Taylor. He recently told the Sun Herald that he is weighing his options, but isn’t committing one way or the other. He, and others, need to decide soon with a January 13 qualifying deadline. Comebacks aren’t unheard of, but they aren’t the norm either. But generally you will find them in swing districts, not a place like MS-04 which is very Republican, despite supporting Taylor over the years.
As an incumbent, Palazzo should have the money advantage. As of the latest reports, he has about $264,000- not a huge total, but he will obviously be able to raise money as the GOP looks to protect their incumbents. Taylor has about $30,000 in the bank. Taylor’s advantage, among other things, had long been his business connections and his ability to raise money. Those groups supported Taylor but generally tend to back the incumbent. It will be interesting to see which friends he can call on if he is the challenger.
But Taylor, if he entered, likely would have a pass through the Democratic primary while Palazzo may not get so lucky. Michael Watson again said he is looking at the possibility and Tea Party groups are saying someone will run. Not sure if Watson or someone else is their man. (They have also said someone will challenge Roger Wicker and so far nothing has come of that). But a primary could drain Palazzo’s resources for a certain period of time. But there will be nearly eight months in the time between the primary and general election.
If Taylor doesn’t enter, the GOP primary will decide this in all likelihood. Some Democrats may run, but they will face long odds regardless of who the GOP candidate is. For now, Taylor is the one to watch.