Mississippi’s Giant House Party is only weeks away marking the official start of the 2012 Road to November in the Magnolia State. If you are interested or involved in politics in Mississippi, the Neshoba County Fair is the place to be, a can’t miss event.
This time last year, Neshoba was filled with signs, campaign workers, candidates and an energy that would lead to a historic 2011 general election for Republicans in Mississippi. This year, Republicans can bask in the glow of their efforts and come back to the Pavilion victorious, setting the stage for positive conservative gains for years to come.
Political speechifying on Founders Square kicks off Wednesday, August 1, with State Auditor Stacey Pickering, Attorney General Jim Hood, and Lt. Governor Tate Reeves headlining the morning’s list of speakers. All of these are very familiar with the event and are sure to take the stage with ease.
The next morning (August 2) Governor Phil Bryant caps off Thursday’s program that features the other four statewide office holders – Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, State Treasurer Lynn Fitch, Commissioner of Insurance Mike Chaney and Commissioner of Agriculture Cindy Hyde-Smith – as well as Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn. Of these, other than Bryant, Gunn will likely be one of the more interesting deliveries since he just completed his first session as Speaker and is leading the newly minted GOP legislature.
Also on tap for Thursday are the Reform Party, Constitution Party and Democratic Party nominees for the U.S. Senate. Reform Party candidate Shawn O’Hara will thin the crowd, while Constitution Party candidate Thomas Cramer and Democratic candidate Albert Gore will be in full attack mode. Incumbent Republican Senator Roger Wicker is not listed to speak at this point.
Mississippi Supreme Court candidates Bill Waller, the incumbent, and challenger Earle Banks, a Democratic legislator, will also grace the Neshoba stage Thursday. This will be worth the price of admission if the ones above didn’t spark your interest.
Most notably absent on the Fair’s speaker list are any candidates for U.S. Representative.
It is easy to assume that most of the Republican statewide officials will be touting last year’s historic election while trying to energize conservative voters and direct attention to the national election as the GOP works to oust President Barack Obama.
Attorney General Jim Hood, the state’s lone statewide elected Democrat, is sure to take a few swipes at the GOP legislature after a rough 2011 session. Don’t count on Hood to sing the praises of his party’s presidential nominee, though; he’ll steer well clear of any ringing endorsement of Obama, as most slick liberals in Mississippi do these days.
If you’re like me, you can’t wait to tweet the zingers, track the storylines and share the Mississippi sun. So pack your bags and decorate those cabins. You just never know who you’ll run into – former Governors, Senators, high school sweethearts and neighbors. It’s party time once again at Neshoba!
(Click here for the official Neshoba County Fair political speaking list.)