Senate 2008: Can the Dems Make a Play at Mississippi?

Even as Democrats harbor serious concerns about being able to hold their lone remaining Senate seat in the deep South (that of Louisiana's Mary Landrieu), could it be that they actually have a chance to pick up a seat in the region come 2008? Over at the newly-launched Political Insider blog, Drew Pitt takes a bit of a stab at that question.

That brings us to [former Mississippi Attorney General] Mike Moore who has been the Democrats' dream candidate for some time. Moore almost stepped out of retirement and prior to Hurricane Katrina was in line to have challenged, and quite possibly defeated Trent Lott this year. Instead Moore wisely held back for the plum many Mississippi politicians have awaited, an open Senate seat.

With Lott cutting off senior Senator Thad Cochran's bids for leadership in the U.S. Senate; and the fact Cochran, who has served since 1978, is getting rather old; and because he is once more in the minority position, many believe Cochran will retire. This will clear the way for U.S. Congressman Chip Pickering to step up the ladder. U.S. Congressman Gene Taylor might love to run, but with Democrats controlling the House and a Chairmanship opening up for Taylor, its highly doubful. This clears the primary field for Moore to challenge Pickering. When you compare the two, Moore is the more adept debater, has a statewide organization, and speaks better on the stump than Pickering. One more thing, although the tobacco lobby might weigh in [because of Moore's leading role "in the landmark suit against the Tobacco Companies"], Moore would be able to easily outraise Pickering. Outraised and outgunned, and especially if the Democrats recapture the Governor's office in Jackson, Moore would be almost unbeatable. Add a prominent southern Democrat well liked by Mississippians, like Wes Clark to the national ticket and the Democrats will be rolling along like Old Man River.

I'm not quite as bullish as Pitt on Democratic chances in Mississippi -- particularly during a presidential year in which the state's voters will likely support the Republican atop the ticked by an overwhelming margin (Mississippi backed George W. Bush over John Kerry by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin in 2004, a closer spread than Alabama but a wider margin than every other neighboring state). That said, just about anything can happen in a race for an open Senate seat, even in the South, so there's little reason for the Democrats to overlook Mississippi should Sen. Cochran indeed opt to retire.

Looking at the dynamics of a potential Moore-Pickering race, which seems like a likely potential outcome of party primaries, Moore would come in with a number of strengths, not the least of which is his overwhelming favorability among the Mississippi electorate. Back in late-2005 when it looked possible that Moore and Pickering might square off for the seat that Lott flirted with vacating, Robert Novak (consider the source...) reported that "prominent Republicans" in Mississippi worried that Pickering "cannot defeat Moore."

More importantly, Moore is extremely popular. As best I can tell, the most recent public polling on Moore comes from an Ipsos-Reid survey commissioned by The Clarion-Ledger and the Associated Press back in 2002 that found 65 percent of likely voters rated the then-Attorney General favorably while just 18 percent rated him unfavorably, giving him the highest favorable/unfavorable ratio of any politician in the state. While it is certainly possible, if not likely that Moore's name recognition level is lower than it was back in 2002 (he has been out of office since 2004), there is little reason to believe that he would not enter a race for Senate with similarly impressive favorable ratings.

Of course 2008 is still a long way off and there is no definite proof that Cochran will not defy the prognosticators by running for a sixth term. Cochran's $350,000 cash-on-hand does not scream, "I am running for reelection", but we have been fooled trying to read the tea leaves in FEC filings from the state before (or at least I have). That said, if this seat does open up, we should make every attempt to capitalize on the vacancy and try to elect a new Democratic Senator from the state of Mississippi -- if not Mike Moore than someone else.

Tags: Democrats, Mississippi, MS-Sen, Senate 2008 (all tags)

Comments

13 Comments

Just so you know

Er..the guy who wrote this..Drew Pritt..has a pretty shady reputation in southern democratic politics, especially in AR. No one takes him seriously nor considers him credible. I would take anything he says with a truckload of salt, a shot of cheap vodka and distilled enema. I certainly wouldn't post it on the front page of Mydd.com

by dantata 2006-11-30 02:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Just so you know

Weird side-note: according to a diary that he posted on Swing State Project, he's embarking on a primary challenge to Sen. Pryor.

http://www.swingstateproject.com/showDia ry.do?diaryId=104

by HellofaSandwich 2006-11-30 06:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Just so you know

Pritt got his start as a write-in candidate for the Arkansas Legislature in his first forays into electoral politics, in his early twenties. This was while he was a student at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, where he acquired the nickname "Squirrel Boy" after stomping a squirrel to death in a fit of rage. Additionally, he founded a Presbyterian student organization, the Westminster Fellowship, from which he embezzled large sums of money and was forced by his own father to pay it back over time.

When these political ventures proved unsuccessful, he went to Washington as an intern for a US Senator from Arkansas. In this position he lasted all of two weeks before getting fired. The legendary history of Pritt's termination is that he had asked for a day off to attend a Democratic political meeting while working for a Republican. Rebuffed, he then called in sick, assuming that the staff of a US Senator just fell off the turnip truck yesterday. When his office sent several fellow interns to the meeting to locate Pritt, they found him coming out. When he saw them, he started limping He was immediately fired.

Without a source of income, Pritt attempted to stay in Washington, but ended up bouncing a bunch of checks to stay afloat. Hot checks, incidentally, became a major part of the Pritt repertoire. He would ultimately spend time in jail in West Virginia for writing checks on an empty bank account.

Pritt later went on to launch a campaign for the US House in Tennessee. He failed because he could not obtain 25 signatures (yes, 25) that he needed to qualify for the ballot. He would later claim that he had been drafted for this race, presumably by the same people who killed OJ's wife and ruined Enron when Ken Lay wasn't looking.

In 2004, he returned to Arkansas and ran for the county judge of Bradley County as an openly gay candidate. Not surprisingly, he did not win.

In early 2005, Drew announced his candidacy for Congress in Wisconsin. A month later he dropped out and headed home to Arkansas, having found that he could not even win support in the state that elected Joseph McCarthy to the Senate.

Most recently he ran for Lt. Governor of Arkansas, spurning a wild web following that regards his campaigns as major lulz. He has the distinction of being the first openly gay candidate for any state position in Arkansas... something that did not endear him to the voters of that state. Added to the humor is the fact that he clearly regards the internet as serious business and will respond to comments about him on message boards, even going so far as to write his own Wikipedia page (which was later deleted.)

Picked this up off of a website that does have a slant and I don't want to link here.

by deepsouthdem 2006-11-30 08:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Can the Dems Make a Play at Missi

I think Mike Moore would have a good shot if it is an open seat. Some other possible Democrats would include former Governors Ray Mabus and Ronnie Musgrove, Congressman Gene Taylor (who as you mentioned may not want to leave the House now), trial attorney John Arthur Eaves, former Secretary of Agriculture and Congressman Mike Espy and some others as well.

by robliberal 2006-11-30 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Can the Dems Make a Play at Missi

I left off one name. Another is former Congressman Ronnie Shows who was a very popular member of Congress before his district was gerrymandered to make it a GOP district which he lost to Pickering. Shows is a strong stump speaker with a populist streak.

by robliberal 2006-11-30 02:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Can the Dems Make a Play at Missi

We would need him to retire. This is a very conservative Republican in a red-state with high favorables.

by yodafone 2006-11-30 02:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Can the Dems Make a Play at Missi

Didn't Pickering have a rather unflattering "cameo" in Borat?

by feynman 2006-11-30 03:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Can the Dems Make a Play at Missi

What happened, for those of us who couldn't stand Borat?

by JRyan 2006-11-30 06:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Can the Dems Make a Play at Missi

There would have to be an open seat for this to be a shot.  It'd still require a lot of hard work and a more effective and unified state party than I'm used to seeing in recent years.  

I've seen indications Cochran may be thinking retirement.  I would not be surprised at all.  I know that Lott would like to see Pickering run.  I would wonder if Roger Wicker would consider giving it a try.  (Although I'd imagine it would raise blood pressure in the Rep. camp to have two sitting congressman go at it...).  

On our side:  Moore seems to be saving up for something.  Maybe this is it.  He'd be a serious statewide candidate, with money behind him.  He ssems to me very cautious, and I've never been sure what that was about.

Of the other names:  I'd add Ronnie Musgrove to the list of names that would come up.  

I was deeply disapointed with Shows in his run against Pickering and wouldn't be thrilled by a repeat at the Senate level.  I don't know how seriously I'd take Eaves, and Espy would be a long shot in a race that starts out being an uphill climb anyhow.  

by TomF 2006-11-30 06:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Can the Dems Make a Play at Missi

Attorney Gen. Jim Hood is another name but I think he will likely wait to run for Governor but not in 2007.

by robliberal 2006-11-30 07:05PM | 0 recs
Tired of the Swift Boating?

Free Speech is something when people use the anonimity of a blog to write lies about someone and try to make it seem believable. We have seen it happen to John Kerry and so many others. When will we as Americans say enough is enough?

If these supposed Prophets of the Truth would spend more time finding answers for our country's problems and less digging around in garbage pails to find dirt, or more accurately thinking up a believable lie, then maybe we wouldn't be in the mess we are in.

The only thing "squirrely" is the fact that you wasted time on this page to lie about someone and didn't comment on the merits of this story.

by Drew Pritt 2006-12-01 03:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2008: Can the Dems Make a Play at Missi

What is Moore like on the issues? How liberal/conservative is he? Does anyone know? I'm guessing he has to lean toward Conservative Democrat to be so popular in a red state like Mississippi.

by RyeGuy5555 2006-12-01 12:07PM | 0 recs
About the Attack on my Character

Deep South Dem attacked my character on this blog and I want to point out the lies.

I admit was arrested for Hot Check Charges twice in my life. In 1999 and in 2000. I realized I had a problem and I sought counseling. I also repaid my debts on the checks. I PAID....not someone else. Both times, because I repaid the money owed, no charges were filed.

I have NOT spent time in prison as someone libelously stated. That would mean I had been convicted and was a felon.

*

Had I been a convicted felon, I never could have run for County Judge, City Council, nor attempted to run for Lt. Governor.

Yes, I explored a bid for U.S. Congress in Tennessee in 2002. No, I didn't get the signatures then, because I was suffering from a malady known as Hodgkins Lymphoma, otherwise cancer. I went home to Bradley County to recuperate, rest, and get better.

I ended up in Wisconsin after working as an advisor and member of the campaign staff of General Wesley Clark in Wisconsin where I worked on a Congressional campaign. Yes, I initially stayed on and considered a bid for U.S. Congress in 2005. However, I missed Arkansas and the infastructure for me to run in Wisconsin was not there. So I came back to Arkansas, to look for an opportunity to serve.

Yes, I did move away from Bradley County, because as much as I love Hermitage and the County, the county is trapped by many who gossip or believe the tallest tale. One said when I ran for County Judge is I would perform same sex marriages if elected.

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Yes, I have taken the long road to a college degree. I started out in college at University of the Ozarks. I transferred to SAU. Once the first stint in the military ws over, I went to UAM for awhile.

I didn't focus on a degree then. Right now I am at UALR. I am maintaining above a 3.0 and I have 82 hours so far to Graduation. I am President of my Fraternity of 30 guys so far, SGA Senator, and member of the French Club.

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I never stomped a squirrel to death in a rage!

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I did not embezzle money from a Presbyterian Student Ministry. If you knew about me, you'd know I am Episcopalian.  

**

I have been a paid staffer for almost 30 campaigns. Personally, I think you are a lousy punk who doesn't know me, is spreading a lie, and because you can only address me with anonimity in a blog setting, that makes you a coward.

by Drew Pritt 2006-12-01 01:40PM | 0 recs

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