As a member of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran’s staff, White then was ineligible for qualification. Under Mississippi state law, “the other electors attending shall appoint some person or persons to fill the vacancy or vacancies.” The electors chose Charles Evers, an active advocate for the election of Obama in 2008 and 2012.
Evers, who took over as NAACP Mississippi Field Director after the assassination of his brother Medgar in 1963, was elected Mississippi’s first black mayor since Reconstruction in 1969. He was a close advisor to the Kennedy family which ironically set him on a path toward becoming a Republican. “I’ll always be a Republican,” Evers told me in a 2009 interview, “I promised Teddy Kennedy I’d never be a Democrat no more because the way they booed him in New York [at the 1980 Democratic Convention].”
Evers supported Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. He had served many years on the Mississippi Republican State Executive Committee but left in 2008 over his support of Obama.