Sunday, July 21, 2019

Bill Crawford: Finally a Republican A.G.?

The last and only Republican to hold the office of Attorney General in Mississippi was George E. Harris back in 1877. As Republicans began their surge to take over statewide offices in the early 1990s, Mike Moore and Jim Hood easily held on to the position for Democrats.

Odds are that’s about to change.


Even when Republicans took over all other statewide offices in 2008, Hood held on as Attorney General by appealing to many conservative voters. Longtime Democratic leader Bobby Moak said Hood did so by taking “the right stance on God and guns.”

Despite strong credentials, the Democratic nominee for Attorney General, Jennifer Riley Collins can’t match that appeal.

In particular, Hood has been a strong, consistent voice for pro-life issues. As Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, Collins was not.

“The Bible states that God knows us in the womb (Jeremiah 1:4-5), and that’s why I’m firmly pro-life,” Hood told Mississippi Today. In contrast, in 2018 when the Mississippi Legislature passed a bill to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, Collins told the Associated Press that lawmakers’ real agenda was to ban abortions which would “seriously harm low-income women, women of color, and young women.”

Unless there is a big surprise in November, Mississippi’s next Attorney General will likely be one of these pro-life Republicans, Andy Taggart, Lynn Fitch, or Mark Baker.

Each would bring different strengths to one of the more complex offices in the state. The Attorney General serves as the state’s chief prosecutor, chief legal counsel representing all state agencies, and manager of over 100 lawyers, dozens of investigators, and scores of support staff, nearly 300 in all.

Taggart, a practicing attorney for 34 years, is the lawyers’ lawyer of the three. He holds the elite “AV” peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell. State officials have called on him to represent the state in cases when Hood has refused to do so. He has handled important cases before the U.S. District Court, the Mississippi Supreme Court, and the Mississippi Court of Appeals. He has also served as a Madison County Supervisor, Gov. Kirk Fordice’s Chief of Staff, and president and CEO of the Mississippi Technology Alliance.

Fitch, also an attorney for 34 years, is the experienced agency manager of the three. One of only four women ever elected to statewide office, she has served as State Treasurer since 2012. In 2009 Gov. Haley Barbour named her executive director of the State Personnel Board. Both agencies employ about 40 full-time staff. Prior to 2009, Fitch served as deputy executive director at the Department of Employment Security, as counsel for the House Ways and Means and Local and Private Legislation Committees, and as a special assistant Attorney General.

Baker, a practicing attorney for 30 years, is the popular Rankin County candidate. (Note: the current governor, lieutenant governor, and state auditor live in high Republican turnout Rankin County.) Since 2004 he has represented much of Rankin County in the Mississippi House of Representatives where he serves as chairman of the House Judiciary En Banc and Judiciary A Committees. He has also served as board attorney for the municipalities of Brandon and Puckett, as city prosecutor for Brandon, and as municipal judge for Pelahatchie.

This should be a humdinger primary with a likely runoff. Who will survive to take on Collins?


Crawford is a syndicate columnist from Meridian.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

If it’s a runoff it’s Fitch and Taggart. Baker is polling in single digits.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Crawford left out an important function of the Mississippi AG, which is consumer protections. Both Moore and Hood were strong on this point,and I'd like to think that's what kept them in office. Maybe, just maybe, it isn't all about politics and abortion isn't the only issue that people vote on.

Anonymous said...

Things are about to change and it's really not going to be good for the Sipi.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a bunch of pussies don't want to fight for the cause. MAGA!

Anonymous said...

"Haley Barbour named her executive director of the State Personnel Board. Both agencies employ about 40 full-time staff. Prior to 2009, Fitch served as deputy executive director at the Department of Employment Security."

There is NO evidence that she did ANYTHING at the State Personnel Board other than re-decorate, the same thing she's done in her current job. At Employment Security, the deputy director has no job assignment. She showed up one day, commandeered an office and left a few months later before her desk-name-plate even arrived from Office Supply.

I'm still baffled by Barbour's attraction to this woman and even more mystified why anybody would think she can perform as A.G.

To repeat the oft-asked question...Has she ever even been in a courtroom?

Anonymous said...

I'm reminded as the candidate who is a truck driver. What's up with that party? The way they 'throw the game' I'm wondering if Pete Rose is their state party chair.

Anonymous said...

"Longtime Democratic leader Bobby Moak said Hood did so by taking “the right stance on God and guns.”

Obviously the tongue-in-cheek remark of a buffoon.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at Fitch’s campaign finance reports for the past 8 years. Appears she’s been living out of her account. Also, this year’s reports include a suspiciously high number of contributions from plaintiff lawyers and out of state democrats.

Anonymous said...

Andy had a very good chance to get my vote until he brought up the State Flag. The State Flag has no part in the duties of this office. To me there's only one correct answer regarding the Flag - whatever the People vote for. I think that in time the people will vote to change it. I probably won't, but as long as most of the voters agree, fine. What I won't support is a move for any elected official or group of elected officials to change it. It is the perfect issue to be voted on - it's not urgent (so it can be voted on during a normal election)and it's not complicated (we don't need legislative committees or hired consultants to advise us on this). So if Andy is reading this, in my opinion your view on the flag is just as important as mine. We each count one vote. When you tried to change that you lost my trust.

Anonymous said...

7:02, you obviously work for Fitch's opponents. Taggart's last minute switch to anoint D.I. Smith at 5 minutes to the deadline to file should disqualify him as thwarting our American right to vote. And Baker is a non-entity outside of Rankin County. So my bet is on Fitch in the first ballot, and I don't work for her.

Anonymous said...

Andy gets my vote. Young man has his hands in everything from County politics (Supervisor), and running their wires (Venture Technologies contracted with the County he supervised), to representing criminals pro-boner, to bargaining with the receiver of the largest Ponzi scheme in Mississippi history. He didn’t actually physically run the wires.

Anonymous said...

Spry Strategies sample Over 65 Males @ 77% and Over 65 Females @ 80%.

Good Lord Andy, tell us you aren't paying for that garbage.

Anonymous said...

@8:44 If Mississippi wants to improve its' image, then I do hope that the People will vote to change the flag. I am a Texan who loves Mississippi, am married to a native Mississippian, and plan to move here one day. I am as conservative as one can be, but... the flag needs to go. It is time. Mississippi deserves better than an old Democrat throw-back flag.

Anonymous said...

@2:57 you may be a Texas republican, but you certainly aren’t one in Mississippi. Keep your out of state liberal policies in texas where they belong. You are attacking our Mississippi Christian family values. Mississippi conservatives fully support 3 things: guns, the Bible, and the confederacy.

Anonymous said...

A wave of people (supposedly) wanting to change the flag but very few of them want to submit the question back to the voters via the ballot. Hmmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

8:44 Glad you reminded me of that. If Andy has the guts to do what's best for the future of Mississippi despite the neanderthal vote, he's got my vote. That's a rare showing of character.

Unknown said...

Jim Hood has hand picked Lynn to replace him. I do not understand why we are even having an election

Anonymous said...

I'm a Christian conservative Republican, and Andy's personal stance on changing the state flag is one of the main reasons he has my vote.

Anonymous said...

7:06 a.m. is a troll. Please disregard.

Anonymous said...

9:10 - I don't work for anybody. I'm retired. And I've never met any of the candidates. I simply pay attention and am informed. You?

And you will find out how well Baker is known, soon.

Anonymous said...

@7:06 Not a liberal in any form or shape, in fact, that made my husband laugh really hard. Not a Texas Republican either. A Constitutional Conservative actually. Funny though, how you listed the Bible behind your love of guns. I love them too, but personally, I would have listed the Bible first. Oh well. There is NOTHING conservative about the Confederacy, NOTHING. It was established by Democrats. And Democrats, it seems have kept Mississippi down. I want better for a state I love almost as much as I love Texas, and that is A LOT!!! Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Maybe I misread what Andy said about the flag. If he said he wants to change it and would support a statewide vote on the matter, I would be OK with that. What I thought he said was the politicians need to change it. As in - the voters are too dumb to decide something as complex as the flag, better let the professional politicians do that for you. I still think that is close to what he said and it's just freaking arrogant. Winning an election doesn't give you one inch in insight into what flag we should have more than the collective wisdom of all of us. If you want to tell me how you would cast your one vote out of 2 million, or whatever, fine. Go for it. If you want me to elect you so that I don't get a vote on the flag, not a chance. I know a lot of people want to change it, but don't be so arrogant that you think the people can't decide the issue using direct ballot. If you want to change it AND have the issue settled without hard feelings that go on for decades, direct election is the fair and proper way. If you want to change it and think it's worth starting WWIII over, then let the politicians do it.

Bluebonnet said...

@6:49 I agree with you wholeheartedly! And I did not mean to sound like an outsider criticizing your state. But, I read so many comments on here by people complaining about the difficulties that Mississippi deals with, and I want better for Mississippi. It is a beautiful place with beautiful people. I love it.

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