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Mississippi Democrats Face Tough Election Season

By Daniel Cherry | Published 02 Mar 2011 02:35pm | comments

Democrats in Mississippi will not contest Republicans in elections for three statewide offices, and now the deadline to field candidates is passed. MPB's Daniel Cherry takes a look at what Democrats are facing in election season.

Republicans qualified at least one candidate for all eight statewide offices before the deadline....Democrats fielded only five. That leaves Independent and Reform Party candidates to contest Republicans for the offices of Secretary of State, Lieutenant Governor, and State Auditor. Senator Hob Bryan of Amory says the Mississippi Democratic Party needs to come together and reconnect with the people.

"I think the state party needs to be revitalized. I think we need to have a functioning state party, and I think we need to get out and tell the message that Democrats have to tell."

Bryan says the tenants of education and working for the people are still there....Democrats have just done a poor job of maintaining that image. In fact, that image might be more important in the long term than failing to field candidates in the upcoming elections. Speaking on MPB's Mississippi Edition, Tougaloo College political science professor Dr. Steve Rozman says Mississippi Democrats have an uphill battle when it comes to how they are perceived.

"There was a Gallup poll that recently came out that showed that Mississippi has the largest percentage in any state that calls itself conservative, over fifty percent, and that puts the Democrats in the state in an awkward position of trying to differentiate themselves from the Republican Party."

Across the South which was once the bastion of the Democratic Party, states are beginning to switch to the GOP in their elections. Tim Saler, the Executive Director for the state Republican Party, says southern Democrats have been seeing backlash from voters over policy unpopular among conservatives.

"What's been going at the national level in the Democratic Party has been a lot different than what some folks locally would like to see from the party. The national Democratic Party has gotten far too liberal for a lot of the local more conservative Democrats."

Primaries for statewide elections are August 2nd and the General Election will take place on November 8th. 

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