Taylor-Palazzo rematch

Five candidates are seeking the Republican nomination in Mississippi’s Fourth Congressional District Republican Primary. The matchup features incumbent Congressman Steven Palazzo, and the man he defeated four years ago Gene Taylor. Taylor represented Mississippi’s Gulf Coast District for 22 years as an unconventional Democrat, but lost in 2010 after dropping his maverick reputation and voting for Democrat Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Taylor’s Pelosi vote and a lackluster campaign provided an opportunity for the then state legislator Palazzo to sweep in and win with 52 percent of the vote.

Now running as a Republican, Taylor wants a rematch.

Taylor told the Biloxi Sun Herald he was not a very good Democrat – by national standards – so he could equally be a “bad Republican.” That’s not exactly the best slogan to run on in a GOP primary.

Palazzo hits all the conservative marks: endorsed by the National Rifle Association, promoting legislation on pro-life issues, and taking a hard stand on issues like the apparent IRS targeting of conservative groups and the administration’s failures surrounding the Benghazi attack. He has focused on issues like flood insurance reform and increasing funding for facilities like the Stennis Space Center in Hancock County and military contracts for Ingalls Shipbuilding in Jackson County.

Taylor remains popular on the Coast and his switch to the GOP could bring a number of new voters into the Republican Primary. But any congressional campaign requires funding to be competitive and I had wondered whether he would attract the contributions to run a competitive race and get his supporters to the polls. His pre-primary FEC report shows he has raised about $250,000.

Meanwhile, Palazzo’s pre-primary report shows he raised $670,000 and spent $684,000 and combined with his pre-cycle war chest has nearly $280,000 cash-on-hand to spend.

Madison County Journal
5/28/14