Chris Cillizza’s “The Fix” blog covers politics for the Washington Post. He asked readers to send in names of political dynasties from each of the fifty states and created an interesting list. Many states have obvious choices: Alabama – The Wallaces; Illinois – The Daleys; Louisiana – The Longs and the Landrieus; Massachusetts – The Kennedys.
For Mississippi, Cillizza listed the Barbours and the Wallers. I thought I’d dig a little deeper into the political families of Mississippi. To make the cut, I looked for families with at least one statewide or district wide elected official with other family members elected to office as well. I also looked mostly at families within the past fifty years.
The Barbours – Current Governor Haley R. Barbour is descended from Mississippi’s third governor, Walter Leake; but we don’t have to go that far to prove a Barbour dynasty. His older brother Jeppie served as mayor of Yazoo City. Jep Barbour, son of Jeppie, served a term in the state legislature and Jep’s brother Charles served two terms as a Hinds County supervisor from 1999-2007. Haley and Jeppie’s first cousin William Barbour, Jr. took senior status as a federal judge in 2006 and has served on the federal bench since his appointment by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. Haley also served as Republican National Committee Chairman.
The Pickerings – Current State Auditor Stacey Pickering previously served as a state senator from Jones County holding the same seat his uncle Charles Pickering, Sr. held from 1972 until 1980. Charles Sr. had previously been elected county prosecutor and also served as Mississippi Republican Party Chairman. In 1990 he was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to the federal district court bench and served on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2004. His son Chip (Charles, Jr.) represented Mississippi’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1997 until 2009.