Emails from multiple members of the Mississippi Democratic Executive Committee provided to Y’all Politics reveal a major break in decorum along racial lines over efforts by the Jim Hood campaign to impugn the credibility of both the Director of the Hinds County Democrat Executive Committee Jacquie Amos and JSU Director of Communication Dr. Elayne Hayes-Anthony.

Several hours after Y’all Politics broke the story about the aborted Democratic gubernatorial debate proposed by the Hinds County Democratic Party at Jackson State University, Mississippi Today’s Adam Ganucheau wrote a story (that did not cite the originating story from YP that broke 12 hours earlier) regurgitating the facts of the original YP report.  After the original report was posted, Mississippi Today added the following to the report.

Editor’s note: After this story published, the Hood campaign told Mississippi Today in a statement: “We were not offered any alternative dates, were never contact by WJSU and were advised that only three of the eight (D)emocratic candidates were invited.” The campaign also objected to the format and several individuals who would be involved with the event.   

After repeated attempts to contact the Hood campaign late last week, the campaign declined to make the full statement that they made available to Mississippi Today on Tuesday to Y’all Politics.  The campaign responded, “We have nothing else to send regarding this issue.”

In the meantime, two Mississippi Democrat Executive Committee board members, on the condition of anonymity, provided internal emails to Y’all Politics that documented the entire incident behind the scenes. They were also apparently forwarded to Mississippi Today.

In what seemed to be a coordinated effort, the state party led by Bobby Moak, who is white, seemed to quitclaim any effort by the State Democrat Party around the debate.  Over the weekend, the Jackson Free Press wrote an article about Velesha Williams’s failed attempt to contact Bobby Moak.  In the article, she stated clearly that Moak should step down and that the party has not been helpful to her to connect with voters.

The Jim Hood campaign in an attached email string to State Democrat Executive Committee members provided the following comments.

The statement referred to JSU’s Communications Chair Dr. Hayes-Anthony, who had volunteered as the moderator, as a “Haley Barbour supporter” (which by all indications is a pejorative in Democrat politics).  The quip apparently refers to an October 17, 2007 endorsement press conference where Dr. Hayes-Anthony, who is African American, appeared in a bipartisan group alongside former Democratic US Senate nominee Mike Espy in support of Barbour.  Dr. Hayes-Anthony was selected to the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters in 2015.

The statement sent by Hood’s campaign pointed particular ire toward Jacquie Amos, Chair of the Hinds County Democrat Executive Committee and also the Field Director for the State Democratic Party.  It clearly insinuated that the debate effort had “an ulterior motive other than informing voters,” and alleged that the political operative (Amos) “called back and stated in a loud voice that “this has cost me a lot”.  The Hood campaign statement concluded, “This very unprofessional approach sent red flags up in every direction.  We are not sure which party is behind this, but this was not a legitimate forum.”

Amos responded to the MS Democratic Party executive committee in an email stating, “It is not uncommon for county parties to hold events designed to educate the public about the candidates and issues in an election. Nothing about this proposed forum violated the party’s bylaws regarding neutrality in a contested Democratic primary contest as the party was not taking a position in favor of one candidate over another.

The requirements for determining which candidates would meet the threshold were reasonable and comparable to what other political party organizations and new organizations have used to determine participation in events of this nature in the past.  July 24, was an alternative date given to the Hood Campaign and I was informed by the CM that it wouldn’t work that the best they could do was a prerecorded interview.  I relayed that message and both the members and WJSU denied that request.”

Y’all Politics verified the veracity of the email string from several state Democratic Party Executive Committee members on the string.