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Taylor Switches Parties In Effort To Win Back 4th District Seat

By Evelina Burnett | Published 31 Mar 2014 08:17pm | comments
Gene Taylor speaks to the media at his campaign kickoff event in Biloxi on March 31.

Former Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor is fighting for his old seat, this time as a Republican. Taylor was elected as a Democrat in 1989 and served in the U-S House until his loss 4 years ago.

MPB’s Evelina Burnett was at the Biloxi Visitor's Center last night when Taylor officially kicked off his campaign.

"I'm asking for the opportunity to be your voice in Washington once again. Thank you."

With those words, Gene Taylor kicked off his campaign for Mississippi’s 4th District seat, which will begin with a tough Republican primary battle on June 3 against incumbent Steven Palazzo.

Taylor says Palazzo’s handling of defense cuts, flood insurance and Sandy storm relief were in part what prompted him to run this year. And there's also the gridlock he sees in Washington.

"I think our country's in trouble," he says. "From 1100 miles away, looking at Washington, it's just pathetic the lack of cooperation up there. The Democrats won't talk to Republicans, the House won't talk to the Senate, no ones talking to the president. I really do think our country's on the ropes. I want to go up there and make things better."

Taylor's loss in 2010 came during a year in which Republicans swept Congressional races across the country, winning control of the House. Political science professor Allen McBride of the University of Southern Mississippi says conservative is perhaps the more relevant term in Mississippi politics.

"Although Gene Taylor did hold the office for a number of years, the conservative influence certainly seems to have gotten stronger, with particularly the Tea Party and others," McBride says. "So I'm guessing he's going to have an uphill battle, although he does have the advantage of name recognition for many people in this part of the state."

A spokesman for the Palazzo campaign called Taylor a “life-long Democrat” and said Palazzo has spent the past four years reversing the policies, fighting for term-limits and restoring damage he says was done by Taylor and other Democrats.

Three other Republicans, Tom Carter, Tavish Kelly and Ron Vincent, will also compete in the primary in June.


Gene Taylor speaks to the media at his campaign kickoff event in Biloxi on March 31.



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