There is a crucial difference between the two candidates seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.
Phil Bryant, the state’s auditor, has said that if he had still been a member of the Mississippi Legislature when it voted on onshore casinos in Hancock and Harrison counties, he would have voted against it.
Charlie Ross, who was a member of the Legislature at the time (and still is), did vote for onshore casinos in South Mississippi.
No one can know what the status of this region’s economy would be today without land-based gambling. But we doubt that anyone would say it would be as healthy as it is today without it.
Bryant, like Ross, says that if elected lieutenant governor and placed in charge of running the state Senate he would not do anything to endanger the state’s gambling industry, either along the Coast or the Mississippi River.
But at a moment when that industry was endangered, Ross did what was necessary to preserve it. Bryant did not.
Either man would probably be an able legislative ally of Gov. Haley Barbour, who is considered a shoo-in for a second term. But Ross impresses us as not only the best man for Barbour, but for all of Mississippi.