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Rants & Reasons blog: Primary election picks

New Albany MS Rant man election picks NAnewsweb.com reminds you to inform yourself and vote on election day.

New Albany MS- NAnewsweb blogger gives a few election picks.

In 1955 James Plemon Coleman, a former Mississippi Supreme Court justice, then serving as state attorney-general, ran for governor. The conventional wisdom then was that a gubernatorial candidate had to have the endorsement of his home town newspaper to stand any chance of winning.

The W. R. Coleman family were the first white settlers in Choctaw County after the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was signed in 1830, so J. P.’s was the first family. But Justice Coleman was a deliberate man, who took no unwise risks. He bought the Choctaw Plaindealer, the county seat newspaper in Ackerman, eliminating the chance that some long simmering resentment by the prior editor might provoke an endorsement of his opponent.

J. P. Coleman won, of course, becoming Mississippi’s 52nd governor. He followed that with a distinguished career as Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.

The decades since 1955 have certainly eroded the value placed on the opinions of newspaper editors. In fact, newspapers themselves are gasping for survival. Many across the country have closed their doors and many more will fail in the coming years.

Although I left the newspaper business a long time ago, I can’t get over the habit of being a reporter. So, I continue to report and opine by this digital means. I doubt if many people will pay any attention to what I think, but I can’t help myself. I will limit myself to opinions only on those few races for state office where I have followed the careers of the candidates carefully.

Here are several of my election picks, along with my reasoning for the selections.

Mississippi Governor, Republican Primary: William Waller, Jr.

An easy election pick. Bill Waller, Jr. so far outranks his opponent in experience, character, and fitness for office that endorsing him is a no-brainer. Waller served 20 years as a justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, the last ten as Chief Justice. His military career included service as a brigadier general in the Mississippi Army National Guard. His reputation, both as a military officer and as the state’s top judge, is that of intelligence, fairness, and decency.

He is the only candidate for governor who has spoken forthrightly on issues that concern most Mississippians: crumbling bridges and highways; underfunded, underperforming public schools; hospitals throughout the state that are in financial trouble, because the state has refused to accept millions of dollars in Medicaid funding.

We are by no means close friends, but I have had the opportunity for a few casual visits with Waller. He is open and direct, with a scholarly mien and easy smile and able to discuss any issue with an informed and open mind.

His opponent in the Republican primary is two-term Lieutenant-Governor Tate Reeves. I have been in the same room with Reeves on a number of occasions. I have never met the man and have never been so inclined. I don’t believe I am a snob, but I just didn’t want to shake the man’s hand. He is an arrogant know-it-all whose only accomplishment in 16 years of public office (eight as state treasurer) has been the accumulation of a huge amount of money — over eight million dollars — in campaign contributions.

We will not detail here his self-serving conduct in office, including a quick willingness to blame his several failures and errors on his own staff. Reeves is campaigning on the claim that “everything is just great in Mississippi.” He is openly hostile to public education.

Although Reeves has outspent Waller by a factor of about six to one, the most recent Mason-Dixon poll shows he is not likely to win a clear majority in Tuesday’s Republican primary election. He will likely face Bill Waller in a run-off election, an incredible loss of face for a man who has behaved for the last eight years as if he were the sure heir apparent to Governor Phil Bryant.

Bill Waller, Jr., a distinguished soldier, scholar and Christian layman, should be our 65th Mississippi governor.

Lieutenant-Governor Republican Primary: Delbert Hosemann.

Most people, Democrats as well as Republicans, agree that Delbert Hosemann is the smartest person currently serving in Mississippi government. He has had a brilliant legal career, and has served with distinction as our Secretary of State for eight years. He is more-or-less a shoo-in to win the Republican nomination and the general election in November. Hosemann certainly has no need of our endorsement, but it surely is fun to recommend such a capable guy.

Attorney-General Republican Primary: Andy Taggart.

I first met Andy Taggart a quarter century ago when he was chief of staff for Governor Kirk Fordice, Mississippi’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction. Fordice was a very smart guy, a successful governor, but sometimes over-played his Marlboro Man persona and was inclined to shoot from the hip. Andy Taggart ran the governor’s office day-to-day, kept Kirk Fordice more-or-less on the straight and narrow.

Since Fordice left office two decades ago, Taggart has built an impressive career as an attorney. Governors Haley Barbour and Phil Bryant hired Taggart to represent the state in several cases. He has had extensive successful experience in appearances before the federal courts and the state supreme court.

Taggart’s opponent in the Republican primary is Lynn Fitch, who has served two terms as Mississippi’s state treasurer. Before that she was a bond attorney and a state employee working for the Mississippi House of Representatives. Her service as state treasurer has been competent. We know of no major negatives about her. However, her experience as a litigator is very limited and her qualifications to be the state’s top lawyer are clearly inferior to those of my election pick. Andy Taggart could well be our most distinguished attorney general since J. P. Coleman.

State Representative, District 14, Republican Primary. Sam Creekmore.

Having gotten to know Sam Creekmore over many years, I have been impressed with his intelligence, integrity, drive, and get-it-done attitude. In addition to an enviable record in a variety of civic endeavors, Creekmore has built a couple of very successful businesses.

Creekmore is a true force of nature with enormous energy and an unwavering focus on making things happen. His would be a powerful voice for Union County in the state legislature.

Creekmore’s opponent is Robbins Ellis Rogers. Rogers is a likable young man from a prominent family. He is the grandson of both the late Dr. David Ellis and of the late Herbert Rogers, Sr. Therefore, one could safely say he is from “good stock.” However, Rogers has no record of achievement of his own, and has done nothing to indicate he would be an effective advocate for Union County in Jackson. His time may come, but not this year. Sam Creekmore is the clear choice.

Be sure to exercise your right to make election picks on Tuesday, August 6th!

–J.W.S.

Governor Bryant acknowledges the gubernatorial primary race is close: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/FMfcgxwDqdzqcVKvKnTRbSjQFnCRPJvg

Why not Tate Reeves? https://www.nanewsweb.com/anybody-but-tate-movement-path-victory/

 

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