In 8 years, the State of Mississippi has gone from one statewide Republican elected official to seven. Haley Barbour led the charge with 58%+ of the vote in a top to bottom drumming of the Democratic Party of Mississippi. This can only fuel additional speculation of his inclusion on a Republican ticket as a Vice Presidential candidate.
A few random observations from the evening
Tate Reeves was the top statewide vote getter with 416K, followed closely by Jim Hood (415K), Phil Bryant (412K) and Haley Barbour (410K). Tate Reeves’ star continues to rise. Breaking that down further, it looks like the starting point for Democrats in statewide races is 267K votes or 39%, which is the percentage that Shawn O’Hara garnered. O’Hara spent about $1300 and had a D by his name. John Arthur Eaves, Jr., had 294K votes and spent millions. So the difference between the low water mark for Democrats and Eaves performance was about 27K votes or roughly $100 per vote. But for the millions he spent, Haley would have gotten to 60%, but it didn’t matter much.
Jim Hood has placed himself as the standard bearer of the Democratic Party for the State of Mississippi. Much like Elliot Spitzer (for AG and now Governor) of New York, it is hard to imagine that he won’t try to run for Governor in 2011 and would be the presumptive nominee on the Democratic side. In the meantime, he will have seven other relatively hostile statewide elected officials, who are likely all shopping for outside counsel today to represent the interests of their agencies in the absence of having the AG’s office as an advocate for them.
Delbert Hosemann, in an emotional victory speech, ended the night by pulling out his drivers license and saying something to the effect of “Y’all get ready . . . The push for Voter ID starts tomorrow” to a resounding roar from the crowd.
Lester Spell survived with just over 50% (as predicted here), and Stacey Pickering continues his elective service in the State Auditor’s office and will likely see his star rise as the years go by.
And, of course, David Hampton wasted no time in lamenting the defeat of Gary Anderson (again). By lamenting Anderson’s defeat as the defeat of the first potential statewide elected African American official, Hampton continues to miss one critical component. ANDERSON IS A HORRIBLE CANDIDATE. Though he was a state bureaucrat for many years and was somewhat qualified on paper, he is a poor campaigner and communicator. It isn’t that Mississippi isn’t ready to elect an African American as a statewide elected official . . . it’s that Mississippi is not ready to elect Gary Anderson (again). I doubt there will be any further mention of it, but that campaign loan from Anderson to his campaign will likely be cashed out here at some point behind the scenes.
And how unbelievably poetic that Dickie Scruggs gets personally involved by dumping several hundred thousand dollars in a race to politically assasinate George Dale only to have one of Barbour’s closest allies in Mike Chaney win that seat.
In Phil Bryant’s new Senate. Democrats look like they have regained the majority by a 28-24 margin over the Republicans. There has been talk about a “nuclear option” which would entail vesting committee chair selection powers to the Pro-Tem that the Democrats will likely elect. However, the conventional wisdom is that there will be at least two or three conservative Democratic senators that will not go along with that plan. Interestingly, when the rules for the next session are set, Amy Tuck will preside. The bottom line is that Bryant should be able to retain committee chair selection ability and Haley will likely continue to swing a big stick in the State Senate.
On the House side, it is interesting. Both sides are tentatively claiming victory for Speaker. Billy McCoy is claiming he has 62 votes, but so is Jeff Smith. There is currently a race in House District 111 where Democrat Brandon Jones holds a 38 vote over Republican Tim Lee. That will be watched closely by both sides. There is likely to be an unbelievable amount of behind-the-scenes horse trading in the next 72 hours as both sides want to lock down their votes in writing. Freshman Representatives will hold a lot of power potentially by how they commit in this race. Certainly many current and newly elected Legislators will see the writing on the wall as the Republican juggernaut has moved through the state. With party reregistration looming, many may choose to party switch in the near future.
And, yes, the 3rd Congressional Race
Charlie Ross, David Landrum and Gregg Harper were all seen working the crowd. I am assuming that John Rounsaville was there, but I did not see him at the Marriot. That race is about to kick off right now, and it will be a dog fight for sure with those four and probably one more candidate.