Philip Gunn, Shanda Yates, Jason White

Gunn, White pull back from hosting fundraiser for Yates after GOP Caucus express concerns.

On Thursday, Y’all Politics first reported that Mississippi Republican Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and his Speaker Pro Tempore Jason White would be hosting a fundraiser slated for September for progressive backed Democrat-turned-Independent State Rep. Shanda Yates.  This was to be in support of her re-election efforts in House District 64 in 2023.

READ MORE: Republican Speaker Gunn, Pro Tem White hosting fundraiser for Democrat-turned-Independent State Rep. Yates

However, following that report, Speaker Gunn and Pro Tem White issued a joint memo to the House Republican Caucus addressing the matter, noting that they would no longer be hosting the event for Yates after the reservations expressed by many in the House GOP Caucus.

Despite Rep. Yates’ “liberal ideas” and casting some “liberal votes,” Speaker Gunn and Pro Tem White indicate that she is considering joining the Republican Party.  They say they should not have agreed to host Yates’ event unless she switched.

“In hindsight, as your elected Speaker and Pro Tem, we should not have agreed to host the reception unless she switched her party affiliation.  We believe she is considering joining our party and hope she will,” Gunn and White tell the House Republicans.

Below is the full memo obtained by Y’all Politics from Gunn and White:

MEMORANDUM
FROM: SPEAKER PHILIP GUNN AND SPEAKER PRO TEM JASON WHITE
TO:        HOUSE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS
DATE:    July 7, 2022
Many of you have contacted Jason White and me today as it became news that we had agreed to host a reception for Rep. Shanda Yates.
Since 2012 we in the Mississippi House of Representatives have seen unprecedented gains in Republican representation.  Sound fiscal policy and a commitment to limited government have been the foundation for our Republican growth in Mississippi. Growing from a Republican majority to supermajority in the House is the result of conservative policy implementation and actively seeking to expand our Republican principles throughout Mississippi. A part of that outreach has been our effort to recruit other elected legislators to join our party.
Shanda certainly has some liberal ideas and has cast some liberal votes. We disagree with her on many things, but she has also voted with Republicans a large portion of the time, which got her kicked out of the Democrat party. While the Democrats continue to kick out members, we continue to welcome those who broadly share our views. She changed to Independent after they harassed her for repeatedly voting with us on key issues. Before she became an Independent and continuing to this day, many of you have invited her and tried to convince her to join the Republican party.  Several of her constituents and supporters who are Republicans asked us to attend and co-host a fundraiser they were hosting and organizing as they support her and continue to attempt to get her to switch to the Republican party. We agreed to be a part of that effort.
In hindsight, as your elected Speaker and Pro Tem, we should not have agreed to host the reception unless she switched her party affiliation.  We believe she is considering joining our party and hope she will. However, because of the reservations expressed to us by many of you, we have informed Shanda that we will not be able to go forward with hosting or attending any reception for a candidate who is not a member of the Republican party.
For those who reached out to express your feelings, we appreciate your willingness to do so.
Sincerely,
Speaker Philip Gunn
Speaker Pro Tem Jason White