At this juncture, Pickering would still be considered a favorite to win re-election. He has enough anti-corruption trophies in his case, plus eight years of incumbency and the fund-raising advantage that goes with that, to probably fend off Hawkins’ challenge.
A Republican who appears to be more on the ropes is State Treasurer Lynn Fitch. Several of her former advisers have now turned against her, including her GOP primary challenger, Ridgeland attorney David McRae. In the first campaign finance report, McRae has outraised Fitch 3-to-1. Even if you subtract what McRae and his wife have contributed to his campaign, he still outraised the incumbent.
Fitch has lost a lot of “friends” in her first term in office. At least a half-dozen top staffers have quit or been fired. She has already replaced her campaign manager just two months into her re-election campaign.
Fitch has made at least one huge mistake in office, ignoring a law that required her in 2012 to publish a listing in the state’s newspapers of unclaimed property. It was only after the Mississippi Press Association “lawyered up” and Fitch saw that a lawsuit was possible did she concede to publish. She did so last month and now is trying to make re-election hay out of it by championing her efforts to return this $31 million to the rightful owners — three years late.
It’s not very smart to turn former staffers, several GOP operatives and every newspaper in this state against you. If there is a recipe for being a one-term wonder, Fitch so far has certainly followed it.