Sunday, June 10, 2018

Bill Crawford: Will the Candidates Go Negative?

Low turnout Democratic and Republican primaries last week yielded two surprises. Political novice Howard Sherman was the surprise leader in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. Described by the Clarion-Ledger as the "Los Angeles-native venture capitalist and husband of Emmy Award-winning actress Sela Ward of Meridian," Sherman will face Mississippi native Baria of Bay St. Louis in the June 26th run-off.

The other surprise was two white guys leading this ticket in a state where black voters dominate statewide Democratic elections. Black state Rep. Omeria Scott of Laurel finished third.

The Third District Republican primary for Congress will also feature a run-off. No surprises here. District Attorney Michael Guest of Brandon led the ticket and will face-off against Madison businessman Whit Hughes.

Turnout should be even lower in the June 26th run-offs unless candidates can spice up what have been tame contests so far. That means playing up policy issue differences, if any, and bringing up negative issues about opponents. So far there have been few major disagreements on policy, but some negative points began to surface.

The knock on Sherman is he only became a Mississippi resident two years ago and he and Sela have supported GOP candidates financially in the past. The knock on long-time Democratic activist Baria appears to be a lack of meaningful accomplishments.

The knock on Guest is that he got wealthy running a company that collects court fines while serving as full-time district attorney for Madison and Rankin counties. Guest claims he has had nothing to do with the company's day-to-day operations, saying his vice president handled that. However, public filings show his VP to be the same person who serves as office administrator for his DA's office.

The knock on Hughes is that as Deputy Director of the Mississippi Development Authority he was part of the team led by former Gov. Haley Barbour that made deals to land development projects with GreenTech, Stion and KiOR. All three of these deals went sour, potentially costing the state millions of dollars (collection efforts are still underway).

Whether these or other knocks will stir voter interest and spur turnout remains to be seen.

You can expect Sherman to be asked pointed questions about his real ties and commitment to Mississippi and Baria about why he hasn't had more impact as a party leader. Whether either candidate will mount negative media blitzes is another question.

Negative media is likely in the GOP runoff given the party's tendency toward such in recent elections.

Guest will need to answer whether he used his judicial connections as district attorney to get into business with city and county court systems to collect their unpaid fines; and how this occurred while he and his VP were both public employees. Hughes will need to answer how he was involved in the controversial economic development projects and what, if any, concerns he raised at the time.

In the end, whoever wins the Democratic runoff will likely be clobbered by Sen. Roger Wicker, while whoever wins the Republican third district runoff will likely clobber Democratic nominee state Rep. Michael Evans of Preston in November.

Crawford ( is a syndicated columnist from Meridian


Anonymous said...

Maybe Hughes can ask Guest to collect the debt on all the bad deals he made.

Anonymous said...

Let’s see, NO one cares about this race. Let’s get to the real good stuff from this week. A candidate in the 3rd Cong. race just made the biggest blunder in sometime. Whit Hughes somehow managed to get Law Enforcement across the state hopping mad with his Facebook post condemning asset forfeiture. Whit said cops are taking your property and GUNS. It backfired so much so that Sheriff Randy Tucker,from Madison, had stayed out of the race and is now knee deep in it and is condemning Hughes and supporting Guest. Look for the rally caps to come out state wide from law enforcement for Guest. More endorsements for Guest and more condemning Whit Hughes. As several people have told me, this just ended Whits political career. Finally some political fun this year!!!

Anonymous said...

1245, let the LEO'S come out. Hughes brought out the totally unconstitutional process many of them are using to fund all their toys - taking the assets without charging them of a xrime, much less bothering to get a conviction.

LEO and county governments love this game - see an out of state tag, especially if driven by a Hispanic, stop them, rake all the cash value assets, and let them go on their merry way.

You think this is a good process, then you better hope they don't decided to extend it into your lily white neighborhood one day.

Anonymous said...

I read what Hughes wrote and he disagrees with what Guest said a couple years ago about taking your property without due process. I tend to believe most conservatives disagree with Guest as well. Most conservatives believe there is thing called the Constitution and we're supposed to follow what it says.

Law enforcement was already solidly behind Guest - if you don't think they were then you haven't paid attention to the Guest campaign - it's all law enforcement.

I'm glad we finally see some contrast in the race.

Anonymous said...

I assume we now know why Guest is laying low in the runoff. He doesn’t want this debt collector story to come out.

He’ll probably get an assist from the Clarion Ledger who would never bring it up during the runoff. Will other members of the press? Will they ask Hughes about these MDA projects.

As a voter - they better ask both about these issues.

Anonymous said...

40 years in the political wilderness: A Parody
A late night telephone call...RING RING
WH: Austin Barbour? Whit Hughes here.
AB: Hey Whit. It’s kinds late.
WH: I’m worried Austin. I’m way behind and I need to do something ASAP or I’m going to lose this race. Any suggestions?
AB: I got a great idea. Let’s attack law enforcement. That will get us some votes.
WH: Why didn’t I think of that? Hold on I got another call
Chris McDaniel: Whit, it’s Chris. I’m so lonely in the political wilderness. Want to join me? Bring Austin with you, more the merrier.
The End.

Anonymous said...

Political Jokes
Cajun Knock Knock.
Who dare?
Whit Hughes
Who dat?
- Daddy
- Yes son
- How does someone commit political suicide?
- Why boy, that’s easy. You just hire Austin Barbour to run your campaign
# Daddy
#Yes son
# why do the police want to take our guns
# MARTHA...our boy is no longer allowed to play at Whit Hughes house.

Macy Hanson said...

Questioning the corrupt and unconstitutional system of asset forfeiture without a criminal conviction is not attacking law enforcement. Shame on all of you who make that dishonest arguement.

Anonymous said...

It’s just shocking that sheriffs are upset that someone criticized their honey pot of asset forfeiture. I want the police to be focused on locking up criminals. If the police take someone’s property, and it’s not connected with someone being guilty of a crime, that sounds like a police state to me.

The constitution protects us against the government taking our property without due process. It doesn’t say it’s ok as long as a sheriff says it’s ok.

The pro-liberty members of congress are with Hughes on this issue. So is Clarence Thomas and many of the conservative legal movement.

It may not make a difference in this race, but Hughes is the one who is being conservative on this issue. Good for him.

Anonymous said...

Agreed 4:22. But don’t forget that the Jackson Prep and Jackson Academy members are behind Whit too! MRA basketball coach said that Whit was the best player he ever saw. Wonder why that quote didn’t join Nolan’s? Hmmm....

Anonymous said...

I am against asset forfeiture it has become a corrupt and abused process. If anyone should get the assets of convicted criminals it should be the crime victims.

Anonymous said...

This thread is the poster child for why we're 50th and will stay that way.

Anonymous said...

Asset forfeiture is part of backing the badge. You get what you vote for and a majority of you up here were champions of "Back the Badge"

I'm pretty sure you can do a search on Whit Hughes and see he was for it before he was against it.

Anonymous said...

I agree 7:11 am but must admit I do hope Sherman wins.

I want to improve Mississippi's national image and they would be great marketing tools for us.

It'd be a good way to let the rest of the country know we have well spoken, well dressed, and well mannered citizens and conservatives .

No one will be making fun of their hair or dress or grammar or behavior as being either too old fashioned or too flashy or just inappropriate.

And, I'll be relieved not to worry about another MS politician nationally embarrassing himself and us.

I do freely admit that I'm embarrassed to have that be the main reason Sherman will get my vote. But, I take comfort that some newly elected power couples from other States have gotten early influence in D.C. political circles just by being social assets.

Anonymous said...

So if I am running down I-20 with stacks of cash and all white bricks, then they shouldn't be allowed to size my assets?

I feel confident that they aren't just pulling people over like pirates, taking their cash, and letting them go without having something illegal on them.

Anonymous said...

@ June 11, 2018 at 1:08 PM

I feel confident that they aren't just pulling people over like pirates, taking their cash, and letting them go without having something illegal on them.

Trust me 1:08pm some police departments are doing both, pirating the cash and drugs from "certain" drug dealers whenever they get an early warning from their own constituents

Now if they were busting everybody, this would be a different conversation

Anonymous said...

It is one hell of a sad day for this state when Wicker, almost by default, earns himself another six damned years of hog-slopping at OUR trough!

It's not quite that bad, but is bad enough, when we send someone like Guest to represent us and all he's ever done is run a collection agency and get himself elected to a prosecutorial role at the county level.

Both of them ought to be running a fish-house in Sardis.

Anonymous said...

@2:41 so getting jobs through political favoritism like Whit did is OK?

Anonymous said...

1:08: if someone is found guilty of running drugs like that, then yes, the car is fair play for asset forfeiture. But what if the car belongs to the drug dealer’s sister and the drug dealer took it without permission? And the sister didn’t have anything to do with the drug running? According to Guest, that’s just another asset to seize so the government can have more money. Who cares if the sister no longer can drive to work.

If you are poor, or even worse, poor and a minority, good luck ever getting that car back.

I want to “Back the Badge” but I want the badge to actually prove that someone committed a crime before property is taken.

Too many people on this blog and in politics think it’s ok to just be for slogans. Mississippi needs elected officials that will dig a little deeper.

Anonymous said...

Baria is running the worst campaign in the history of the state. Sherman will win the runoff.

Anonymous said...

Poor David Baria is crying that he can’t beat a Hollywood California Republican (Sherman) in a Mississippi Democratic Primary. If Baria can’t even beat the Hollywood Republican in a Democratic primary where he’s the leader of the Democratic caucus how in the hell does he think he can stand a chance against a true Mississippi Republican that is a sitting U.S. Senator with over $6 Million in the Bank & with unlimited resources?

Hollywood Sherman would do him a solid by actually beating him in the primary before the wrath of God, known as Roger Wicker, gets him in a general election.

Poor Baria struggling to compete with Hollywood Sherman has had to come out more liberal than Bernie Sanders and this is even before his voting record is attacked, the salary his law partner & the rent his campaign is paying his own law firm so it can stay afloat during this failed campaign bid, and not to mention that Sherman campaign hasn’t even mentioned yet him stealing from the taxpayers all those days when he said he was in Jackson at the Capitol working but court records show that he was in court at the same time (hard to be in 2 places at the same time) and not to mention the time he was tweeting while campaigning or begging everyone in Washington for money to run while being voted & paid for by the taxpayers at the Capitol.

This should be a fun two weeks to watch Hollywood Sherman’s & Doug Jones’s campaign team finish off Baria’s political career. With Representative Omeria Scott’s endorsement last week to even bigger names rumored to endorse Sherman for the days to come will keep Baria in turmoil & running in circles to the end. Someone can put a fork in Baria’s career in politics b/c it’s over. If anyone has some extra cheese & crackers they can spare please send it to his law office bc he’s going to need some to go with his wine.

Anonymous said...

3:35 opines: @2:41 so getting jobs through political favoritism like Whit did is OK?

The difference here is that running a two bit collection agency and prosecuting local criminals is in no way related to anything that might qualify one to represent me in congress. While working in job creation and industrial recruitment might well be.

And as for Wicker? I'll let you answer that one.

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