Barbour’s political coattails frayed

JACKSON (Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2007) – When a powerful state Senate ally of Republican Gov. Haley Barbour lost a bid for re-election, it became more clear than ever that the governor’s political coattails aren’t as long as he thought.

Barbour endorsed state Sen. Tommy Robertson of Moss Point – the Senate Finance Committee chairman who single handedly killed a proposal in the Legislature this year to cut the state sales tax on groceries. Barbour even recorded a radio ad for Robertson.

“But Haley’s staunch support did nothing,” said Wayne Dowdy, chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party. “Voters chose someone completely different. Haley couldn’t even help an incumbent state senator win another term.”

On Tuesday, Democrats made their choice for governor overwhelmingly clear by nominating John Eaves for the job.

Unofficial and incomplete returns show that Eaves received 286,557 votes, or 70 percent, in the Democratic Party primary. Eaves, in fact, received 115,635 more votes than the 170,922 Barbour received in winning the GOP nomination.

Eaves’ strong performance in the Tuesday primary shows that momentum has shifted to him and the Mississippi Democratic Party. It also sets up a distinct contrast of styles between Eaves and Barbour.

Over the next three months, voters will learn more about Eaves’ support for such issues as better health care and consistent education funding every year.

“It’s clear Haley’s coattails are worn, ragged and frayed,” Dowdy said. “It’s a new day in Mississippi. And with John Eaves, we have a candidate for governor who will offer this state the kind of dynamic leadership we have been sorely lacking.”

Mississippi Democratic Party
8/8/7