Phil Bryant’s road to the governor’s mansion started with a defeat

Phil Bryant has won seven straight elections, beginning with a race for state House in 1991. But he lost his first run for public office, a bid to become a Rankin County supervisor in 1988.

The loss is one reason Bryant is in line to take the oath as Mississippi’s 64th governor on Tuesday.

It connected him with a group of supporters who helped elect Bryant to the Legislature and Kirk Fordice as governor in 1991, in a Republican breakthrough. Fordice and Bryant bonded, leading the state’s first modern Republican governor to name Bryant as state auditor in 1996.