Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sid Salter: Little Interest or Intrigue in Runoffs

For voters, the June 26 primary runoff elections are unfortunately looking like low turnout, low interest affairs that don’t promise much to voters in terms of the opportunity to substantially change their ballot choices in the Nov. 6 general election.
In the state’s U.S. House races, the nominees of the respective major parties have in great measure already been chosen.

Only the state’s Third Congressional District Republican runoff election holds any real intrigue for primary voters as District Attorney Michael Guest of Brandon, who led the June 6 GOP primary ticket with 28,701 votes or 44.86 percent of the vote, faces businessman and consultant Whit Hughes of Madison, who ran second in the primary with 14,299 votes or 22.24 percent of the vote.

The Guest-Hughes runoff race has generated little in the way of fresh information for voters other than a rather predictable tempest in a political teapot over debates. After the primary, Hughes challenged Guest to a debate which Guest’s campaign essentially ignored citing a large number of candidate forums and appearances prior to the primary.

With Guest’s margin of victory in the primary, it’s not unexpected that his campaign would ignore debate requests. Given the fact that both Guest and Hughes live in the Metro Jackson area, turnout in the north, east, and south portions of the far flung district are especially expected to suffer in the runoff.
The eventual GOP nominee will face Democrat Michael Ted “Big Country” Evans of Preston and Reform Party candidate Matthew Holland in the Nov. 6 general election.

In the First Congressional District, incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly will face Democrat Randy Mack Watkins and Reform Party candidate Tracella Lou O’Hara Hill on Nov. 6. In the Second Congressional District, incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson faces no Republican opposition and will face Reform Party challenger Irving Harris on Nov. 6.

In the Fourth Congressional District, incumbent GOP U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo will face Democratic challenger State Rep. Jeramey Anderson and Reform Party candidate Lajeena Sheets on Nov. 6.
If the U.S. House races generate little draw to the polls in the June 26 primary runoffs, the state’s two U.S. Senate races offer only slightly more draw for statewide voters and that’s only in the Class l U.S. Senate race on the Democratic side.

Mississippi voters will elect two U.S. senators in the 2018 elections. There is a regular election Class I Senate seat up for grabs for a full six-year term to run from 2019 to 2025. Mississippi’s incumbent Republican Class I U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker of Tupelo will face Libertarian and retired U.S. Navy diver Danny Bedwell of Columbus and Reform Party perennial candidate Shawn O’Hara of Hattiesburg in the Nov. 6 general election.

The Democratic nominee in the Class l Senate race features a primary runoff showdown between attorney and State Rep. David Baria of Bay St. Louis and businessman Howard Sherman of Meridian (the husband of actress Sela Ward). Baria has the apparent endorsement of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus, but political novice Sherman led Democratic primary balloting over Baria.

Then there’s a special election Class II Senate seat being contested for a partial term that will end in 2021. The nonpartisan special election will be held Nov. 6.

Mississippi’s interim Class II U.S. senator is Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Brookhaven, appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant to fill the unexpired term of former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, who stepped down from the post in April citing persistent health problems.

Challenging Hyde-Smith in the nonpartisan special election for the right to succeed Cochran is former municipal candidate Tobey Bartee of Gautier, former Democratic U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and congressman Mike Espy of Madison and attorney and veteran Republican State Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville (who lost a bruising 2014 GOP primary to Cochran).

So on June 26, voters will decide a Democratic U.S. Senate primary to face Republican incumbent GOP Sen. Roger Wicker and will choose a Republican nominee in the Third Congressional District race. Turnout, which wasn’t good on June 6, isn’t expected to improve much on June 26.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at


Sid Fails to Mention AGAIN said...

... who lost a bruising 2014 GOP primary to Cochran after the Barbour political machine stimulated thousands of black Democrats to turn out for Cochran in the Republican primary runoff.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I think that the D candidate in the First District's name is Mr. Wadkins.

Anonymous said...

9:50 = bs without basis

Anonymous said...

Little interest or intrigue in your boring pieces...

Anonymous said...

Wicker on TV with President Trump, where is Cindy, hmm, might be scared to get her Billy Bush grabbed! Not!

Anonymous said...

Drop it already! What you REALLY wanted to mention is that you do not want black people voting in your primary! We don't register by party in Mississippi. Black people can make decisions without being paid for it, and decided to vote for Senator Cochran (or against McDaniel).

Anonymous said...

KF - save some money. drop Sid. Seriously, do we need sid to tell us the interest level in the runoff is low? Wow, he is quite the analyst. Next, maybe sid can write about how hot it will likely be in July.

Anonymous said...

McDaniel is a nut. I don't support him one bit. But the comments about the Barbour machine encouraging Hinds County Democrat voters to come out for the run off and defeat McDaniel by supporting a candidate very few of them intended on voting for in the general - well, those comments are accurate.

I was already soured on Barbour, but when he used his machine to go against the will of the Mississippi Republican voters - the very same people who had put him and his cronies in power for decades - I lost what little respect I had left for him and anyone who would associate with him.

That's why I will not support Whit Hughes. That and the fact that 90% of his pitch is "vote for me because I played college basketball".

Anonymous said...

11:27 - you are wrong. The law in Mississippi is that voters who do not vote in the opposing party's primary are allowed to vote in the run off. The kicker is that they must intend to support said candidate in the general election - a requirement that is impossible to quantify, let alone enforce, given the secret ballot that all voters use.

Black people - at least those that Barbour and his machine marshaled to defeat McDaniel - were people who did not vote in EITHER primary. The issue is not that black people voted in the Republican run off. The issue is that a Republican machine that was unhappy with the results of the Republican primary used money that had been donated by Republican supporters to encourage people who had no intention of supporting a Republican in the general to sway the outcome of the Republican run off.

In short, Barbour's machine paid money to have Democrat voters change the course of a Republican primary. That's the issue. The beef is not with black voters. The beef is with Barbour and his machine.

Black people can most certainly make up their own minds about who to support, and they chose not to support Cochran in the primary - not until ads were run on local media begging them to stop McDaniel by voting in the run off.

I have no problem with black people voting Republican. I wish more would, but I want people who truly support the GOP candidate and his/her positions, not a bunch of people who are brigading the ballot box specifically to subvert the will of regular GOP voters.

By the way, when I say the machine paid for support, I in no way mean individuals were paid directly or bribed to vote for anyone. I have never heard that charge credibly leveled (I am not 9:50am). I mean they used money to stoke a media blitz that instilled fear and concern in a very specific voting demographic. The fact that a candidate who would have been an utter disaster was defeated is not sufficient to support this tactic.

The end does not justify the means.

Anonymous said...

It is a hard choice 11:38. Hughes and, as you note, the totally corrupt Barbour machine behind him or Guest and his backing by Harper. Beyond Bennie Thompson, Harper has been arguably the weakest most non-effective House Representative from Mississippi of the last 40 years. Seriously considering not voting at all.

Anonymous said...

@11:38 you won't support Whit because of the "Barbour Political Machine", so you will support Guest? Guest is a part of the "Rankin County Political Machine" that is refusing to allow the voters of this district a choice, but rather telling voters that we should vote for Guest because Phil and Gregg say too. How about instead of listening to others about how we vote. We just look at the resume of both candidates and make a decision for ourselves.

PittPanther said...

Who is this "Barbour machine" and where is the money I was supposed to get paid?

I guess it's inconceivable that black voters could come to our own conclusion about McKlaniel, and use our influence against him. No one paid me, no one told me what to do, I used my own common sense and knowledge of election rules.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with encouraging voters to vote for somebody outside their party. That is pretty crooked. But IF it happened and that’s what it took to keep McDaniel out then I have no problem with it. Obviously a double standard. Cindy will fight hard with passion for us. I am proud to have her representing us. And about Rankin county, it’s definitely a machine. Hard to beat it and they definitely influence but voters just didn’t show up. Except guests voters. They turned out. And take Rankin county out of it completely and guest still beat whit a few thousand votes. Just saying...

Anonymous said...

Usually Democrats, put up pitiful candidates so I end up voting for Thad in the general election. This time I missed the primaries because of a late night at work so when I realized that McDaniels was a little too close to beating Thad for my liking I ran out and voted for Thad in the runoff. I made the mistake of thinking Republicans would never vote for an idiot like McDaniels and I had to do a little corrective voting. No one paid me. No one knocked on my door or drove me to the polls. Instead, I voted for Thad like I always do, except this time I did it in the primaries. Thad may not represent my interests to the t, but he had pull in Washington, he was good to MS as a whole, he was a decent man and he didn't talk in coded racial language. Sorry some people think everything is about race. Sometimes it's about whats best for the state.

Anonymous said...

"That's why I will not support Whit Hughes. That and the fact that 90% of his pitch is "vote for me because I played college basketball"."

You forgot to say why you'll vote for his opponent. Is it his wife's TV commercials? His sideline business of traffic ticket collections? His refusal to indict Rudy Warnock? The fact that he has a stable of juniors who prosecute his cases? His ability to knock off every day at 2:20? Hell, I'll go with the basketball guy.

Anonymous said...

4:06 - Learn to spell the candidate's name, for starters, then go vote.

Anonymous said...

Anecdotes abound! "I voted for Thad because I was scared of McKlaniel" etc.

None of that changes the fact that Barbour's team engaged in activities to subvert the will of the majority of Republican primary voters. That's the real issue here.

And it is specifically stated above that the payoff (for lack of a better word) was in the form of media buys encouraging said non-GOP voters to juice the outcome - not bribes or direct payments. Learn to read, please.

Anonymous said...

Can we please get another McDaniel thread going soon? I'm so bored.

Anonymous said...

I voted for Cochran not because the Barbour political machine persuaded me through negative and fear mongering ads about McDaniel (and they damn sure didn’t pay me), but because the state of Mississippi needed his influence in Washington not some ineffective rabble rouser like McDaniel. (However, I almost didn’t vote for Thad after one of my white classmates that was a college republican came up to me and said I should grab a group of other blacks and protest McDaniel when he comes to campus because he’s a racist. I told him we weren’t his little pawns he could utilize when it benefited him and if he really perceived McDaniel to be this terrible racist why wouldn’t he organize a group of WHITE and black students to speak out against him?)

Anonymous said...

To all the (supposedly) black voters who are claiming that they voted for Thad in the run off with absolutely no external motivation, I have two questions:

1) Why did you skip the primary, because you would have to have either not voted or have voted in the GOP primary? None of you has indicated that you voted in the GOP primary, which means you must have sat home on election day that year. Why did you skip the primary?

2) Did you vote for Thad in the general election? Because the law states that you must intend to support the run off candidate, so did you abide by that?

Asking for a friend.

Anonymous said...

Keep Sid's column. The comments always prove that the obvious needs to be stated for those who are oblivious.

Anonymous said...

10:43 - If you were shooting for a rhyme, you failed.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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