On Sunday, Geoff Pender exposed what was originally meant to be a “test piece”. A very small run of direct mail crossed with a very small batch of robocalls fell into the wrong hands two weeks ago. Shortly after Philip Gunn made the comments to kick the movement to change Mississippi’s flag into motion, a very sophisticated group mobilized a campaign very quickly. This group wanted to test the message to see how the possibility of changing the flag might blow back on the race for Speaker.
The mail piece was sent with the postage slug “T Enterprises”. According to the Secretary of State, that registers to Allen Taheri, who is head of A2Z Printing, a local direct mailhouse in Jackson. Ironically (and sadly), a pro-Confederate flag mailer had a Tougaloo, MS address. Taheri, for his part, said that his group was only paid to run the mail piece and cited a confidentiality agreement made at the behest of his client that did not want to be exposed. The mail piece nor the robocall (which A2Z did not conduct) did not otherwise indicate who paid for the effort. It will be interesting at the next campaign finance report to dig through and see the groups that employ A2Z. The bottom line was that this was done by someone with sophisticated quick-strike capabilities that did not want to be associated with the messaging.
The target areas were largely in Desoto county, where there are a slew of contested House seats in heavily Republican districts. However, there was an interesting other locale included in the push . . . Rep. Sam Mims district in Pike County. Mims’ district is illustrative for the simple reason that NO Republican would have ANY reason to run a coordinated direct mail piece and robocall into his district 5 weeks before an uncontested primary. None. That’s an expensive effort done by a sophisticated messaging group and it would be a pure waste of money. What makes Mims’ district interesting is who he’s running against. Kitty Sasser (D) just happens to be the sister of Rep. Bobby Moak. Moak, as the House Minority Leader, who has been conspicuously silent on the flag issue, would likely be the Democrats’ horse to ride in a Speaker race against Gunn next January. Moak’s Leadership PAC has pumped some money into the Mims/Sasser race for his sister earlier this year.
From the Y’allPolitics Memory Division, there have been similar anonymous bomb throwers from the Democrat side of the aisle in recent Mississippi political history that we’ve documented. You might remember back in 2012 and 2013, we did a couple of pieces about the “Home MS” blog that was a Democratic leaning soft money-backed anonyblog effort that turned out to be just a flash in the pan. At the time, we uncovered some loose connections on the implementation (common mailing addresses & personnel) of that effort with Brad Chism’s group in Jackson. Chism is a highly regarded pollster/robocall/direct mail/political consultant who focuses on Democratic advocacy in Mississippi and nationally work from his offices in Jackson.
I am of the opinion and logic seems to indicate that a similar sort of Democrat-oriented soft-money group was behind this effort. Think about it. If it were done by pro-flag Republicans, why would they be secretive? There are Republicans actively and openly pro-confederate flag/anti-Speaker. Whoever did it got caught. They didn’t mean to and as a result, they’ve gotten real quiet. Usually, the truth comes out, and the implications, if in fact Democrat-oriented soft money (from unions, PACs or other similar 501c4 advocacy groups) was behind this for this, are huge. Just like the HOME MS anonyblog effort a few years ago, we eventually figure out who’s doing it, who’s funding it and why. My hope is that we get it done before the general election. It could well force a tectonic shift in how the MS Democrat party operates internally and who runs it in Mississippi.
Again, I have long operated under the premise that the worst thing you can give someone is exactly what they’ve asked for. These folks wanted exposure. They’ve got it. Now let’s find them out and rid them and everyone who helps them (Democrat or Republican) from the Mississippi political landscape. If folks want to advocate above board and openly, even if I don’t agree with it, I’m all for it. But this effort is what’s wrong with politics, and I’d like to do my part to stop it.