Charlie Mitchell, a columnist and associate dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at Ole Miss, used his weekly write up to proclaim that Donald Trump’s win boosted Democrat Attorney General Jim Hood’s chances for governor in 2019 should he run.
“Now in his fourth term, Hood did have a serious Republican challenger in the last election. In that contest, Hood was assailed as a clone of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton. Why? Because Obama, Pelosi and Clinton do not win popularity contests in these parts.
“It wasn’t an unwise strategy to frame Hood, a genial son of the South, as best buddy to raging liberals. It didn’t work, but it could have. Other moderate Democrats in conservative states have fallen to the tactic of wedding them to the party’s national icons.
“But with Trump’s win, Hillary Clinton will not be in the White House. Obama will be surfing and playing golf. Make no mistake, if Hood seeks the governor’s office he will still be depicted as a liberal. That was a winning strategy in this state in 1950, and it will be in 2019. But there’s no big-name leftist with which to saddle Hood. That’s a plus.”
While Mitchell correctly states that Obama nor Clinton will be in the White House, he conveniently forgets the fact that the (D) behind Hood’s name does saddle him with the liberal party of which he is the highest ranking member in Mississippi, a liberal party that continues to advocate for a pro-abortion, pro-gay, anti-gun, pro-Obamacare agenda and that still holds fast to a “spend now, pray later,” higher tax, limited tax cut fiscal philosophy, not just in Washington D.C., but here in Mississippi, as well.
The bigger issue with Hood politically is that he has a documented history of not answering the bell for higher office. His boss before him, Mike Moore, had the same issue. Moore was widely viewed as the “fair haired golden boy” who was going to run against Roger Wicker when Trent Lott resigned from the U.S. Senate. Moore strung everyone along and then announced shortly before the deadline he would not run. Former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove jumped in and got whipped by Wicker.
In 2015, Hood was widely discussed for Governor and you heard then the same speculation that he would run and be a formidable candidate for the Democrats. He waited until two weeks before the deadline only to announce he was running for AG again.
While Hood would be a virtual lock to win the Democratic nomination in 2019 if he wanted, there are three main problems for him politically:
1. Though it appears that people around him want him to run for Governor, there seems to be no tangible evidence that he has the fire in the belly for a yearlong blood-fight with an extremely well-funded Republican opponent (looking likely at this point to be Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves).
2. He has no campaign warchest to speak of. As of January 2016, he had about $170K on hand. Running a credible campaign for governor is a $2 million minimum. Historically, fundraising has not been a major issue for Hood as trial lawyers (through the Democratic Attorneys General Association) have been able to parachute from the sky and funnel his campaign apparatus money without him having to raise it. The issue is that in a gubernatorial race that lifeline won’t likely be there for Hood. First, trial lawyers carry baggage trying to buy a governor’s seat that people just don’t seem to care as much about for a judicial or AG seat. Second, DAGA will be out of the picture. Outside money will not likely chase a severely underfunded candidate in a red state with a failing party apparatus.
3. Hood has put no real time or energy into the Democratic party, particularly into its base. He hasn’t helped any other candidates to speak of. He has a (D) by his name but he is minimally involved with Democrat events or party building. That sort of distance doesn’t typically fuel a lot of emotion for a candidate from the base, which Hood would need in a race for Governor.
Mitchell also fails to mention the plethora of issues Hood has inserted himself into over the years.
The amount of examples are overwhelming but here is a quick list of a few headlines with links from the YP Memory Division in case you, like Mitchell, have forgotten Hood’s record:
Again, Hood has not historically had the stomach for a political fight that involved risk. Despite the fawning and swooning in much of the Mississippi media establishment, there is no meaningful indication that he’s gearing up for such a fight other than idle chatter of folks who want him to. A look at the math and just some basic history will tell you that though he may allow speculation to continue, Hood jumping into a real political fight that involves risk (losing his current position) is not likely in the cards.