State Democratic Party Chairman Rickey Cole said for his party to be able to field a viable candidate for governor in 2019 “we have to have a person who will decide to make it his or her life’s work for the next four years to be a Democratic candidate for governor. They will have to be fully committed early on.”
Cole said the person will have to master a way to raise funds to compete with the Republicans or will need to have personal wealth and be willing to spend it. Plus, he said the person must be willing to work for four years with various Democratic groups to head off any possibility of being upended by a surprise candidate in the Democratic primary.
That is perceived to be what happened in 2011 when Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree defeated Clarksdale businessman Bill Luckett in the Democratic primary and again this year when Gray defeated Slater.
“If somebody wants to be the next Democratic governor of Mississippi, there will be an open seat in 2019 and whomever that person is, he or she needs to begin now,” Cole said. “…That is something the state party cannot do. We cannot pick a candidate and say this is our man or our woman.”