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Hosemann, McDaniel don’t mince...

Hosemann, McDaniel don’t mince words under the pavilion at Neshoba

By: Sarah Ulmer - July 26, 2023

The top two candidates for Lt. Governor didn’t hold back about what they think of each other on Wednesday as they spoke from historic Founders Square at the Neshoba County Fair.

On Wednesday at the 2023 Neshoba County Fair, incumbents and challengers running for Central District Public Service Commissioner, Agriculture Commissioner, Insurance Commissioner, Attorney General, and Lieutenant Governor took to the stump at Founders Square, treating attendees to political speeches under the pavilion.

The main political event of the day came from the two Republican candidates running for Lt. Governor, perhaps the highest profile statewide primary election this cycle.

Current Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann and State Senator Chris McDaniel have been back and forth for months, as the tension has risen. They wasted little time getting direct with either other prior to the August 8th Primary Election.

Both Hosemann and McDaniel made pointed remarks toward each other before a crowd that looked to be evenly split in their support for the campaigns.

The key takeaways from the two Neshoba speeches were McDaniel’s opinion that Hosemann more closely aligns with the Democratic Party than the Republican Party, and Hosemann’s view that McDaniel is more focused on constant negative campaign tactics instead of offering input on how to solve real issues facing Mississippians.

McDaniel took to the stage and emphasized his long held conservative values, something he has done on the stump since his failed 2014 U.S. Senate race. He emphasized his strong belief in the Republican Party platform, as influenced by former President Ronald Reagan, calling for a party of “bold colors.”

He said that the Democratic Party is responsible for tearing down the foundation of America.

“They are the problem with America,” McDaniel told the crowd. In the same comment he accused Hosemann of aligning with Democratic Party values. Hosemann has run as a Republican since 1981 and maintains that he is also a “Reagan guy” with core conservative principals.

McDaniel made attempts to back up his statements regarding Hosemann’s viewpoints with policy issues.

He said he is for complete elimination of the state’s income tax as well as the grocery tax. He referenced an effort made by the Legislature in 2022 that would have fully eliminated the state income tax. It was strongly supported by Governor Tate Reeves and Speaker Philip Gunn. While still the largest tax cut in state history, the one passed in 2022 was not a full elimination. McDaniel claims that Hosemann stood in the way of that effort.

Hosemann addressed the claim when speaking with reporters after the speeches.

“Where is that money going to come from?” asked Hosemann, noting that those cuts would lead to an estimated $2.2 billion annual loss in revenue for the state. “My decision is to do it a little bit at a time, keep giving people their money back, but be solvent.”  

McDaniel said he believes it can be done more swiftly by reducing the state budget.

“About 10 years ago, we were running the government at about $4.6 billion in spending, and now we are approaching $8 billion in the state. There is a pretty big window there of opportunity,” said McDaniel.

McDaniel said in order to eliminate the income and grocery tax, the state would need to find a comfortable position between those numbers where a spending cap can be implemented without eliminating state services. Triggers would then be put in place to phase out the remaining portion of the income tax once revenue hits that number, he added.

In many ways the current tax cut that was passed does utilize triggers to phase out another individual income tax bracket.

One of the most controversial claims made in recent days surrounds the time Hosemann was involved with a Jackson health clinic in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. He has been accused of being on the board of what later became an abortion clinic, an accusation McDaniel reiterated on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Race for Lieutenant Governor turns ugly over abortion clinic accusations

Hosemann denied the allegation, saying he had no involvement with the clinic after 1981. He says he represented the clinic in 1976 on tax matters and they failed to remove his name on their reports until the late 1980’s. A former director of the clinic came out in the 1990’s explaining that Hosemann was not involved when abortions were taking place.

When asked by the press if he was Vice President of the abortion clinic at that time, Hosemann said, “Absolutely not. It is just false; it is totally false.” He added that the Right to Life, a pro-life organization, has endorsed him since 1998.

At one point in his speech, Hosemann said he was pro-life while McDaniel was “pro-lie.”

In response to the hard hits in his speech, Hosemann said he thought it was time to be pointed in response to many of the negative comments that were coming from McDaniel and his supporters.

“They have been negative and that is difficult for all of our family. There’s not discussion about taxes or infrastructure, or education, things that we’ve been doing, and I found out for the next ten days what he’s been doing is running negative ads, nothing positive,” said Hosemann. “So, I thought it was time to be pointed. I wasn’t just representing myself in that. I’ve got a bunch of Republican Senators that worked really, really hard to do what we did this year.”

For McDaniel’s part, he said he still has great respect for Hosemann and that the race is not personal, but rather focused on the two’s policy differences. However, Hosemann did not believe that sentiment. Hosemann said if McDaniel truly respected him, he would pull all of his ads today because he knows they are not truthful.

If re-elected, Hosemann said he hopes to see the Legislature pass more tax reductions and continue to invest in education, particularly programs that cater to special needs children. Hosemann said a major concern he has is with the state’s healthcare.

“It is not sustainable where we are, we have got to do something on healthcare,” said Hosemann. He said he plans to have additional hearings in October and November ahead of the 2024 legislative session to seek a solution to the scope of care in every county.

McDaniel said he remains opposed to Medicaid expansion but has “many plans” to help aid struggling hospitals but the state senator did not elaborate on his plans when asked by the press.

McDaniel has been outspoken on his desire to see the two debate prior to the August 8th Primary Election. Hosemann, however, has not responded to McDaniel or media offers for the two to face-off on a debate stage before election day.


Magnolia Tribune will have more coverage from the Neshoba County Fair political speeches. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for video clips and photos from Founders Square and check back for more articles on what the candidates are saying as election day nears.

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: