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Gene Taylor runs to the right
Hits easy talking points, not yet proving sincerity in switch; takes credit for Coast Katrina response

by Frank Corder
Gene Taylor, the former Democratic Congressman and current Republican candidate for the same 4th District seat, surprisingly appeared on Paul Gallo's radio show on Supertalk Tuesday morning addressing a number of questions swirling about his recent switch.

Taylor has obviously run to the right, however it remains to be seen if it is a genuine move or simply out of political calculation and expediency.

On his vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House, Taylor said, "She was a big disappointment to us all...She had a chance to govern from the middle and she blew it. I regret that vote," also noting that by the time the roll call got to him she was already elected as Speaker.

Of course, Taylor's vote for Pelosi is relevant because it was the rallying cry against him during the 2010 election where Steven Palazzo unseated the 20 year incumbent.

Should Taylor win he says he would support the Republican nominee whomever that may be. "I know John Boehner...if he is the Republican nominee I have no problem voting for him... I will vote for the Republican nominee." Gallo didn’t press him on the matter, but Taylor is on the record as unequivocably saying years ago that he didn’t like John Boehner or his politics.

In 1995 Taylor made the comment that if he changed parties he would feel like a prostitute. Taylor told Gallo it was a comment based on Republicans offering him opportunities for his switch some while back. He didn't like the horse trading.

In the interview with Gallo, Taylor basically took full credit for Hurricane Katrina disaster response on the Coast, dismissing any involvement from former Governor Haley Barbour and others. It seemed as if he was a one man show from the way he spoke of the response, which in all truthfulness, it was not. Here's a link to the edited clip courtesy of Supertalk.

When asked about his party switch, Taylor said Democrats shifted from their pro-gun, pro-life, balanced budget stances while Republicans have largely remained committed to those ideas which he supports.

What Taylor missed in that response is that there is more to being a Republican and a conservative in principle than paying lip service to God, guns and budgets. Spouting those easy talking points will only get you so far with GOP voters.

As for the Affordable Care Act, Taylor said, "I did not vote for it (Obamacare). I said all along I would vote to repeal it... The whole bill is bad."

State of the race

Rep. Steven Palazzo has done a good job, as did Senator Thad Cochran, of landing the endorsements of statewide elected officials early on to gird his flank. Phil Bryant, Thad Cochran, Roger Wicker, Tate Reeves, Gregg Harper, Philip Gunn, Stacey Pickering, Lynn Fitch, Cindy Hyde-Smith, and Mike Chaney have all come out strong for Palazzo. This should help ensure that there are not many rank and file Republicans that might vote for Taylor out of a protest vote.

The other interesting dynamic is that with the limited, unexciting Democratic slate of candidates, it’s pretty foreseeable that Taylor Democrats will crossover and vote in the Republican primary. This will have an interesting impact on the Cochran vs. Chris McDaniel race. I just don’t think that there are any prospective voters out there who would pull the lever for both Gene Taylor and Chris McDaniel.

Gene Taylor may be hitting the high points so far but he has a long way to go in connecting with Republican primary voters. His responses to Gallo shows that even Taylor is not 100% resolute on how he threads the needle from voting for Pelosi to now trying to win a Republican primary in just a few short years.

If he’s going to make any progress, Taylor will need to show sincerity in his switch and land some converts of Republican elected officials and business leaders if he's going to compete with Palazzo at the ballot box come the June Republican primary.


Posted March 11, 2014 - 11:45 am

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