Congressman Bennie Thompson and Legislative Black Caucus Supporting David Baria in #MSSen Runoff

Mississippi’s lone black Democratic Congressman and several members of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus have thrown their support behind fellow legislator David Baria in the Democratic U.S Senate runoff taking place this Tuesday, June 26th. Congressman Bennie Thompson of Bolton endorsed Baria on Friday.

This came after Baria thanked Representative Sonya Williams Barnes of Gulfport, leader of the Legislative Black Caucus, and the several members who attended a meeting recently in Jackson to throw their support behind him. Baria has been endorsed by 34 members of the 48 member Legislative Black Caucus and they’re listed below.

Baria finished second during the June 5th Democratic Primary to Meridian businessman Howard Sherman. Caucus member Omeria Scott of Laurel, who finished third in the race, threw her support to Sherman ahead of the runoff. Sherman currently enjoys the public support of Rep. Omeria Scott of Laurel, Rep. Charles Young of Meridian and Senator Willie Simmons of Bolivar County.

Legislative Black Caucus Members who PUBLICLY Support David Baria Include:

Senator John Horhn- Jackson

Senator Sollie Norwood- Jackson

Senator Tammy Witherspoon- Magnolia

Senator Robert Jackson- Marks

Senator Albert Butler- Port Gibson

Senator Derrick Simmons- Greenville

Senator Juan Barnett- Heidelburg

Senator David Jordan- Greenwood

Rep. John Faulkner- Holly Springs

Rep. Jarvis Dortch- Jackson

Rep. Abe Hudson- Shelby

Rep. Kathy Sykes- Jackson

Rep. Debra Gibbs- Jackson

Rep. Chris Bell- Jackson

Rep. Alyce Clarke- Jackson

Rep. Greg Holloway- Hazelhurst

Rep. Oscar Denton- Vicksburg

Rep. Rufus “Pete” Straughter- Belzoni

Rep. Earle Banks- Jackson

Rep. Willie Bailey- Greenville

Rep. Cedric Burnett- Tunica

Rep. Credell Calhoun- Jackson

Rep. Bryant Clark- Pickens

Rep. John Hines- Greenville

Rep. Karl Gibbs- West Point

Rep. Lataisha Jackson- Como

Rep. Robert Johnson- Natchez

Rep. Cheikh Taylor- Starkville

Rep. David Myers- McComb

Rep. Kabir Karriem- Columbus

Rep. Sonya Williams Barnes- Gulfport

Rep. Percy Watson- Hattiesbug

Rep. Orlando Paden- Clarksdale

Rep. Carl Mickens- Brooksville

Legislative Black Caucus Members who haven’t PUBLICLY endorsed either candidate Include:

Rep. Jeramey Anderson- Moss Point

Rep. Ed Blackmon- Canton

Rep. Angela Cockerham- Magnolia

Rep. Chuck Middleton- Port Gibson

Rep. Willie Perkins- Greenwood

Rep. Adrienne Wooten- Jackson

Rep. Kenneth Walker- Kosciusko

Rep. Sara Thomas- Indianola

Rep. Tracey Rosebud- Mound Bayou

Rep. Deborah Dixon- Bolton

Senator Barbara Blackmon- Canton

Senator Sampson Jackson- Kemper County

Senator Hillman Frazier- Jackson

Senator Angela Turner Ford- West Point

Mike’s Missive: Mississippi’s Chris McDaniel and the Tale Told by the Idiot

Former Mississippi state senator and national Tea Party darling, Chris McDaniel, took to his Facebook page to share his thoughts on the #WomensMarch held across the US and world on yesterday. See below his thoughts on the event seen as an unprecedented rebuke of an American president.

I suspect McDaniel is testing the waters for a run against Senator Roger Wicker in 2018 and what better way to get the attention of the crazies than to start going after “liberal women”… This race to the bottom should be fun and entertaining…

Chris McDaniel Facebook Page

“So a group of unhappy liberal women marched in Washington DC. We shouldn’t be surprised; almost all liberal women are unhappy. Perhaps there’s a correlation.

Nevertheless, I’m fascinated to see them exercise their First Amendment rights (however objectionable the message). But I do have a question: if they can afford all those piercings, tattoos, body paintings, signs, and plane tickets, then why do they want us to pay for their birth control?”

McElhenney Who? Calls Out Congressman Thompson on Isreal

Tea Party Lt. Governor candidate, Alisha McElhenney, fired off a press release blasting the dean of Mississippi’s congressional delegation; Rep. Bennie G. Thompson of Bolton, the state’s lone Democrat. The text of Ms. McElhenney’s diatribe is below:

Israel is not only our strongest ally in the Middle East but one of our only true friends anywhere in the world,” McElhenney said in a statement. “Congressman Thompson is disgracing Mississippi by not standing with the rest of our delegation members who will be attending the Prime Minister’s speech.”

“Mississippians have been repeatedly embarrassed by Congressman Thompson’s antics over the years,” McElhenney said. “It’s not surprising that the Congressman’s ideology of hate and intolerance would rear its ugly head once more.

I find it laughable that Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate Alisha McElhenney would find the time to call out Congressman Thompson in such a mean spirited and disrespectful way. Members have the right to vote and take positions opposite of the majority which is the bedrock of our democratically representative form of government. Moreover, members have the right to not attend political stunts disguised as speeches if they so choose. The constitution grants us the freedom of assembly and the supreme court has held that the freedom of association is akin to freedom of speech.

What this means, Ms. McElhenney, is that Congressman Thompson has the right to not attend this particular speech if he so chooses. Rather than grasp for straws and attention, I’d suggest you focus on convincing Republican voters why your seemingly narrow minded interpretation and understanding of even the basic tenets of our political system are reasons why you should be Lt. Governor. Leave matters of foreign policy and diplomacy to those officials that have actually been elected by the people.

UPDATE: Alday Stands by Racist and Incendiary Comments About Blacks

By: Mike Biggs

UPDATE: Today, Gene Alday doubledled down on his racially offensive language saying that Jerry Mitchell took his comments out of contex, he assumed the comments were off the record and that it was “late in the hour”.

I applaud Democratic Reps. Lataisha Jackson, Jeramey Anderson, Chuck Espy, Kim Campbell,and Bobby Moak as well as Republican Speaker Phillip Gunn and Gov. Bryant for côndemmhng the remarks.

In a time where our politics have all but devolved into a 1950′s race war and in a state that has often clung to the last vestiges of it’s racist past in the name of “heritage”, the race to the bottom continues. It’s new standard bearer is none other than Desoto Republican Rep. Gene Alday of Walls, Mississippi.

Unfortunately ignorant morons are elected to public office and put in charge of setting policy. Gene Alday and his bigoted viewpoints and beliefs are not worthy of the office of representative and he should apologize and step down. The fact that he is not likely to do either is shameful and speaks volumes to what is now common place in our political discourse.

See his comments below: Clarion Ledger Article: Miss. third-grade gate: Fear of failure

State Rep. Gene Alday, R-Walls, doesn’t believe any more funding is needed. “I don’t see any schools hurting,” he said.

But then he went on to say that Mississippi “has a lot of bad school districts. The people are electing superintendents that don’t know anything about education.”

The former mayor of Walls (population 1,248) went on to say, “I come from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call ‘welfare crazy checks.’ They don’t work.”

He had to go to the emergency room for pain, he said. “I liked to died. I laid in there for hours because they (blacks) were in there being treated for gunshots.”

Dems, GOP Mulling Congressional Bids in #MS01

Political observers have turned their attention to Mississippi’s First Congressional District now that a special election is eminent following the death of Rep. Nunnelee. All of the attention has been focused on Republican potential’s. CQ Roll Call and our friends over at Yall’ Politics floated the following names:

Potential Republican candidates include:

Commissioner Mike Tagert- Currently serving as Northern District Transportation Commissioner

Glenn McCullough- Former Mayor of Tupelo

State Sen. Gray Tollison from Oxford.

Amanda Tollison, an attorney who served as chief counsel to former Gov. Haley Barbour.

James Maxwell, a judge from Oxford, who serves on the Mississippi Court of Appeals.

Quentin Whitwell, a former Jackson City councilmember who moved back to Oxford in the past year.

State Rep. Brad Mayo from Oxford.

Trent Kelly- Alcorn County District Attorney Trent Kelly.

State Treasurer Lynn Fitch

Boyce Adams, who lost a bid for the Mississippi Public Service Commission in 2011 to Democrat Brandon Presley, a relative of singer Elvis Presley.

Merle Flowers, a former state senator who retired in 2012.

On the Democratic side, a few names have surfaced but no one has made their intentions clear publicly. Commissioner Brandon Presley ruled out running last week. A few names have been floated around however:

Potential Democratic candidates include:

Attorney General Jim Hood

Eric Powell- former state senator from Corinth in Alcorn County

Mayor Jason Shelton- Mayor of Tupelo

Scott Ross- Former mayor of West Point

Sen. Hob Bryan- State senator from Amory

We’ll continue to follow this!

Mikes’ Missives: From Tim “Elvis” In Jackson

By Mike Biggs

Baria tantalizes with tweet

Rep. David Baria of Bay St. Louis provided, what has by in large been a run of the mill qualifying period, a much needed jolt last night when he teased that Mississippi Democrats would have a major announcement. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one calling, texting and emailing well into the wee hours trying to get the scoop. A rarity these days: Republican switching to join the Democratic Party.

Will it be Trent Lott? Is it Chris McDaniel? By midnight, I had almost been convinced it was Ron Williams, former GOP gubernatorial candidate. Finally about 1:30 a.m I received the most promising callback yet, it was Tim Johnson of Madison County. My initial reaction was coincidentally the same as several I’ve encountered throughout the day; “The Elvis guy”? Yes, Tim Elvis Johnson was holding a press conference to announce he was switching parties and running for Lt.Gov as a Democrat!

Switchin’ to Glide: Johnson singing a different tune

Johnson, flanked by his family and Democratic Party leaders, managed to do in one day what hasn’t been done in several years: energizing Mississippi Democrats and giving hope to the possibility of a much needed win. Tim Johnson served 2 terms in the state senate before serving 2 terms as a Madison County Supervisor. Prior to being elected to the legislature he served 1 term as a Madison alderman. He ran for Central District Transportation Commissioner in 2011 but was defeated by incumbent Dick Hall.

In explaining why he decided to switch parties, Johnson exclaimed “Republican leadership in Jackson has failed Mississippi families”. He went on to say “the failure of the Republican leadership in the senate to help sick people was the last straw for me”.

“All are welcome in the Democratic Party, even a reformed Republican like me”

Rickey Cole, Chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party sounded a similar tone saying, ” Tim is representative of the tens of thousands of Mississippians who are reconsidering their loyalty to a Republican Party that has lost its way”. Cole went on to say ” we are proud of the efforts of our veteran Democratic leaders, and are happy to welcome new “walk-on” recruits like Tim Johnson as we step up to offer the people of Mississippi clear choices in November”.

Reeves Stymies Full Repeal of Common Core in Senate According to Watson

From State Sentaor Michael Watson’s Facebook Post Watson’s Facebook Page

“It appears SB 2690 that fully repeals and replaces CCSS will not come up for a vote in the Senate Education committee. In its place, the Lt. Governor has decided to use SB 2161 as his approach to address Common Core, as SB 2161 passed the Senate Education Committee this morning. Here’s the problem: SB 2161 only forces the state board of education to “hear recommendations” and “consult with” the MS Commission on College and Career Readiness. The board would not have to enact a single recommendation. Remember, the state board adopted Common Core. The state board has maintained their support of Common Core. I have no faith that a group who fully supports Common Core will do little more than simply “hear” and “consult”. To boil it down, SB 2161 may repeal the name, “Common Core State Standards”, but it is not a full repeal and does not guarantee a single standard will be replaced. Please stay engaged, we’ve much more work to do!”

Sen. Michael Watson is a Republican from Pascagoula.

Legislative Black Caucus Calls for Full Funding of Education Budget

Legislative Black Caucus calls for full funding of education budget: Mississippi Press

The Legislative Black Caucus’ request that House and Senate leaders fully fund Mississippi’s school budget formula appears likely to be fulfilled, based on early recommendations for state spending in this election year.

Caucus chairman, Democratic Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones of Canton, said Wednesday that it’s time for lawmakers to stop shortchanging MAEP.

“It’s always been a political pawn, but we haven’t put our money where our mouth is,” Jones said during a Capitol news conference. Sen. David Jordan, D-Greenwood, said MAEP was put into law because “some counties and some school districts were just rock-bottom poor.”

Rep. Alyce Clark, D-Jackson, said during the Black Caucus news conference that paying for schools is less expensive than paying for prisons that would be needed in the future if schools are weak.

Mississippi Republican Party Announces New Executive Director

MSGOP Press Release: January 6, 2015

Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef announced today that the Party has hired a new Executive Director, Spencer Ritchie.

“An effective Executive Director is crucial to making sure the Mississippi Republican Party not only functions effectively but also can successfully defend and expand our new majority,” Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef said. “Spencer brings not only experience to this position but also judgment and character. The MSGOP will be well served with Spencer in this important position.”

Ritchie most recently worked as an attorney with the Watkins & Eager PLLC law firm in Jackson. Prior to his legal career, Spencer worked in Washington, D.C. as a legislative aide to Republican Congressman Sam Johnson of Texas and as Director of Legislative Affairs for the Associated Builders and Contractors.

“Spencer is a great hire for the Party,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “I look forward to working with Spencer to maintain the Party’s momentum in our state and help Republicans up and down the ballot this fall.”

“The Mississippi Republican Party is a venerable institution built by the tireless efforts of people past and present who care deeply for the well-being of our state,” Ritchie said. “I am honored to be asked to serve the Party as its Executive Director and am excited and optimistic about the days ahead.”

Ritchie and his wife Mary Mills live in Jackson and have three children, Katherine (age 5), James (age 2), and Leila Ann (5 mos.). Ritchie is a member of the American Bar Association, Mississippi Bar Association, and Jackson Young Lawyers. He and his family attend Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Jackson.

Palazzo Explains Vote for Boehner Amid Tea Party Backlash

Rep. Palazzo, Courtesy of Roll Call

Rep. Palazzo Facebook Post regarding Boehner vote

Over the past week, many of you have contacted me asking me to vote against John Boehner for Speaker of the House. Americans are frustrated with the leadership in Washington, and they should be. President Obama and his liberal friends are destroying this country and we have to fight back.

I met with Speaker Boehner yesterday one-on-one and man-to-man for more than an hour. I asked him directly whether he was going to be a conservative leader who will stand up to the liberal agenda of President Obama, and he unequivocally said yes. I believe him and am willing to give the Speaker and his team a last chance to put us back on a conservative path for America. If Speaker Boehner refuses to put forward conservative solutions immediately to our nation’s problems, I will vehemently oppose his every move.

I strongly considered opposing Speaker Boehner. However, after careful consideration and speaking with dozens of my colleagues, I realized that a viable, more conservative candidate would not, and ultimately did not, emerge. Other candidates simply did not have the votes.

I realize many people disagree with this decision, but I was not willing to compromise my ability to serve South Mississippi for a purely symbolic vote that could later be used to punish my constituents. I believe a vote against Speaker Boehner would have been harmful to our jobs and the economy of South Mississippi and diminish my ability to effectively represent the citizens of South Mississippi.

Throwing South Mississippi under the bus just to make a point was not an option. As the most conservative member of the Mississippi delegation and one of the most conservative in the country, I decided to choose my constituents and South Mississippi over a purely political vote.