For many engaged citizens and us politicos, Election Day is our Super Bowl and it is finally here.
The prognosticating and electioneering, by campaigns and the media alike, is soon to be over much to the glee of millions of Americans. The anticipation is palpable, especially in overwhelmingly conservative areas like Mississippi.
But when the dust settles, what will Election Day 2012 mean for Mississippi?
Let’s start at the top of the ticket.
If President Barack Obama wins, a majority of Mississippi families and businesses will continue to yearn for change and relief from the administration’s policies that are stifling growth and creating a regulatory environment that is uncertain at best.
Plus, Mississippi’s defense industries, especially shipbuilding, will face intense business planning discussions as sequestration and the Obama administration’s calls for cuts take center stage.
If Obama wins, Mississippi gains no influence nor does it stand to benefit over the next four years.
If Mitt Romney wins, Mississippi will still face challenges under what is sure to be a gridlocked political environment inside the Beltway with a Democratic U.S. Senate and a Republican House. But a Romney win does place Mississippi in a better, more influential position. That fact cannot be argued.
From a U.S. Senate and Congressional delegation view, nothing will change. Mississippi will continue with Republicans in both Senate seats and in three of the four Congressional districts.
It will be interesting to see if Bennie Thompson’s iron hold on MS-02 is beginning to slip as some have suggested. He’s taken well over 58 percent since he faced Clinton LeSueur in 2004. Oh, if only old friend Hayes Dent had topped Thompson back in 1993, but I digress.
The Mississippi Supreme Court should return its Chief Justice in Bill Waller and Associate Justice Mike Randolph despite Democrats’ efforts to flip the Central District seat in favor of rolling back tort reform.
The Northern District race for the High Court will be the race to watch. Josiah Coleman looks to have out worked Richard ‘Flip’ Phillips and is certainly the more conservative choice what with Phillips’ trail lawyer background. Will voters see this race for what it is – a vote to protect tort reform?
Election Day will also seat two new members of the Mississippi Legislature although the party numbers aren’t likely to change. Republicans will retain both seats but the legislation up for discussion this cycle is, of course, charter schools.
Freshman Republican Rep. Pat Nelson of 2012’s House charter school debate fame looks to be in the lead to replace Merle Flowers in Senate District 19. A special election would have to be held to fill Nelson’s House seat should he win, setting up another education based race in DeSoto County.
Nelson will be met in a Lt. Governor Tate Reeves-led Senate focused on passing charter school education reform and given the numbers, any opposition from Nelson isn’t likely to gain much traction.
Retiring Rep. Tommy Woods’ replacement in House District 52 is still uncertain but as we noted, it will remain in the Republican column.
With Nelson out and a replacement to come, along with Wood’s replacement, Speaker Philip Gunn’s charter school efforts in the House could see a similar uncertainty as last session but we would suspect Gunn’s approach has been honed and the Speaker is ready to face in-party dissenters.
So now we wait and watch for the results. Your vote does make a difference and sends a statement. Exercise your right and responsibility; let your voice be heard.
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