AP – DNC chair’s visit comes as Miss. Democrats try to distance themselves from party

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Democrats seeking office in Mississippi frequently take great pains to distance themselves from their national party.

This week, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, is holding two campaign events in Jackson to promote Johnny DuPree, the Democratic nominee for Mississippi governor.

DuPree, the third-term mayor of Hattiesburg, said Tuesday that he’s not trying to tie himself to the national party or distance himself from it. He said Wasserman Schultz offered to appear for him in Mississippi before the Nov. 8 general election, and he accepted.

“I hope that she can rally some of the supporters, excite them,” DuPree said told The Associated Press in a phone interview as he headed to other campaign appearances in Holly Springs.

The Republican gubernatorial nominee and campaign finance leader, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, said he’s surprised DuPree is accepting help from a national Democratic leader.