Sunday, November 01, 2015

Mississippi Governor Election

Status: Republican Incumbent
2012 Presidential Result: Red State (South)

Prediction: Safe Republican

There is not a race for Governor or U.S. Senate that I will ever pass up on here, so I have to write, at least briefly about the contest for Governor of Mississippi. While Republicans may have to worry about holding an open seat in Louisiana later in the month or about a missed opportunity this Tuesday in Kentucky, the party has absolutely nothing to worry about in in this state, as Republican incumbent Phil Bryant will easily win a second term.

Bryant was always the overwhelming favorite for reelection as Mississippi has moved solidly towards the GOP in recent years and Democrats find it hard to compete statewide. Bryant was spared a serious primary challenge, after all the drama of the intra-party battling over a Republican U.S. Senate seat two years earlier, and no top tier Democrat came forward to oppose his reelection.

Democrats did have two women on the ballot on the ballot, one a doctor and one a lawyer, and both with the initials V.S. Appearing above them alphabetically on the ballot in the August primary was the sole male candidate, Robert Gray, a virtual unknown. As has happened in Democrat primaries in other southern states in recent years, just having your name first on a ballot, where very few people are paying attention to the race, may be key to victory, So lo and behold, Robert Gray beat the nominal party establishment candidate by nearly 20 percent of the vote. He even barely passed the 50 percent margin and would need no run off. The Democrat nominee for Governor of Mississippi was a long distance truck driver,who spent no money on the campaign, and did not even vote for himself because he was out of town. Mr. Gray appeared as surprised as just about anybody else by his primary win. Apparently, the 46 year old candidate lives with his mother, and even she had no idea he was running for Governor until she saw his name on the ballot.

While this is another embarrassment for Democrats, after similar primary results in South Carolina and Tennessee, it is not as though Bryant had much to worry about anyway. Like the more well-known candidate that Bryant beat four years ago, Gray is African-American, and is likely to win a majority of their votes, by virtue of his party label, but Bryant will win easily overall. The Governor has suggested that Mississippi may be ready to remove the Confederate emblem from its state flag, in the wake of the recent changes involving the display of the flag in South Carolina, and has suggested putting it on the ballot for a statewide vote in 2016.

Bryant campaign link:


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