Mississippi governor (R):
Things were already looking pretty good for the GOP in the race to succeed term-limited Gov. Haley Barbour, a potential White House 2012 contender, in this Republican-leaning state.
But they look even better after last Tuesday, when Democrats lost control of two of the state’s four House seats with the defeats of Democratic Reps. Travis Childers and Gene Taylor.
Barbour’s lieutenant governor, Phil Bryant (R), is considered the early frontrunner on the Republican side. Businessman Dave Dennis (R) is also readying for a bid and has already set up a campaign website. State Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R), who ran unsuccessfully for Congress last decade, is said to be mulling a run as well.
The GOP primary looks to be competitive; Bryant has the advantage of statewide name identification, but Dennis appears to be putting together a strong “outsider” campaign. Much could depend on who — if anyone — emerges as Barbour’s preferred candidate.
On the Democratic side, those who have already announced bids include attorney Bill Luckett (D) and Johnny DuPree (D), the first black mayor of Hattiesburg. State Attorney General Jim Hood (D), the only Democrat to hold statewide office, announced earlier this year that he will seek a third term as attorney general and won’t pursue a bid for governor.
The qualifying deadline for candidates is March 1, 2011, and the primary is on Aug. 2.