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Mississippi Gubernatorial Race Begins in Earnest

By Sandra Knispel | Published 03 Jan 2011 09:51am | comments
Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant declares his candidacy for governor at Hawkeye Industries in Tupelo on Monday.

The new year is barely a few days old and already the race for governor has begun in earnest. Yesterday, Republican Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant officially declared his candidacy, hoping to inherit the state’s top job when Governor Haley Barbour’s second term ends in January of 2012. MPB's Sandra Knispel reports from Tupelo.

The 56-year-old Bryant is currently on a seven-location whistle-stop tour across the Magnolia state, to announce what has been called the worst-kept secret in state politics. Bryant, who is in his fourth year as lieutenant governor, told a small group of supporters at a sheet metal manufacturing plant in Tupelo yesterday afternoon his new year’s resolution: “I’m going to resolve to work harder than ever to earn your support and your respect.”

Despite the need for serious budget cuts for fiscal 2012 in light of a multi-million structural deficit and the end of federal stimulus funding next year, Bryant says he won’t raise state taxes.

“I think we’ve helped right-size our government during these turbulent times. I think we were able to save money in the rainy day fund, we’re going to use another $85 mio out of it. And we’re going to get through this without raising taxes. This is the worst possible time to raise taxes on businesses and working people in Mississippi,” Bryant said.

Earlier in the day, a Democratic candidate, Clarksdale lawyer and business man Bill Luckett, was in Jackson to turn in his campaign paperwork at his party’s headquarters.

“ I can make this state a better place for most of all of us Mississippians, using the same principals, means and methods that I have used in helping rehabilitate Clarksdale.”

Other gubernatorial candidates include the Democratic mayor of Hattisburg, Johnny DuPree and three more Republicans: Gulf Coast businessman Dave Dennis, Pearl River County supervisor Hudson Holliday and state employee James Broadwater. Candidates have until March 1st to throw their hats in the ring.

Sandra Knispel, MPB News.

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Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant declares his candidacy for governor at Hawkeye Industries in Tupelo on Monday.


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