Runoff elections bring more change to Hancock and Harrison Counties while Jackson County reverts to the mean

Depending on the November general election here in Hancock County we may end up with a completely new Board of Supervisors but at the minimum four of the five Supervisors will be new now that Sup Tony Wayne Ladner was eliminated in yesterday’s runoff election. Meantime in Harrison County there is a new Sheriff in town to go with three new County Supervisors and Superintendent of Education.

We also had runoff elections in Jackson County with two County Sups in runoffs. Before I link Anita I’d like to revisit what was the prevailing thoughts on the primary elections dating to late July and the confab between elements of the media including Slabbed and the SRHS retirees. While there was no candidate promotion at that meeting a very frank discussion was held about all the candidates for the County Board of Supervisors as well as what people thought was their best guess at board turnover, such speculation also periodically appearing here on Slabbed in comments. Everyone pretty much agreed there would be no more than three seats change with two seats being the more likely number. No one saw what would come on August 4th, with two Sups losing outright and two more being forced into runoffs, especially given the overall low voter turnout raising the possibility of four new Supervisors. For those wanting change the Primary election exceeded expectations. After the runoff elections my mathematically oriented mind immediately thought of mean reversion to make sense of last night’s results:

Jackson County: Cumbest returns; Taylor wins; Ross advances ~ Anita Lee

I thought Sabrina Smith had Barry Cumbest on the ropes and he surprised us with a strong finish.  Political newcomer Sabrina Smith ran a spirited, grass roots campaign against an incumbent Supervisor that comes from a large Jackson County’s family that has been around for hundreds of years and took him to the wire.  She should be proud of the campaign she ran and to borrow and slightly change a football phrase she left it all on the campaign trail. Kudos to Ms. Smith.

Troy Ross advancing to the general election did not surprise me, especially since I was aware that he had the significant support among the SRHS retirees. You see folks people are motivated to vote for a number of reasons many of which are noble but mostly people vote their wallets. I disclosed the reason Sup Ross would win before the election here, specifically:

Ross supporters point to the fact he is a less divisive personality than Brodnax and that Ross will be able to more capably work with the new board to fix the myriad of problems the county faces.

Slabbed has had the privilege to report on this incredible story that involves the intersection of a major scandal with the fields of auditing, finance and the law, in the SRHS meltdown.  Even more significant is the political component in a group of people that cast aside personal differences to create a grassroots movement with a unified voice in the SRHS retirees. They have become a political power in Jackson County.

This group of folks and their determination to see justice done included picketing in the cold of winter and the worst of our summertime heat almost nonstop. This has gone on so long that the group has seen a few of its members die and yet more step up to post. I rather suspect these folks, despite the close bonds they have forged with each other, would much rather be inside in the air conditioning that manning a picket line in the 95 plus degree heat.

So think about the runoff from a retiree’s standpoint. Continue reading “Runoff elections bring more change to Hancock and Harrison Counties while Jackson County reverts to the mean”

Comment Bump: Greg Shoemaker | Jackson County District One Supervisor

My wife and I are registered voters in Mr. Cumbest’s district. I’m also a former administrator at SRHS and sent a letter addressed to Mr. Cumbest (dated November 3, 2014) when the SRHS pension problems first came to light….so I am genuinely interested in Mr. Cumbest’s latest comments…..especially since he never bothered to respond to my concerns. No written response. No phone call. No followup email. Not even a canned “thank you for your feedback” letter. Nothing. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I would think that a locally-elected official would take time to at least acknowledge a thoughtful letter from a concerned constituent. If he/she can’t even manage to do that, then how much does that person really “care”?

I’m proud to have voted for Sabrina Manning Smith in the Republican primary and will be at polls bright and early on August 24th to vote for her again in the runoff. I refuse to vote for Barry Cumbest….not because I disagree with him politically…..but rather because he has shown me that he really doesn’t care about those he perceives as “nobodys”. My hope is that the “nobodys” will show up in droves on August 24th and vote him out of office.

Pro Bono Publico: Jackson County Sup District One GOP Runoff on my mind

First up I must give props to the District One residents that correctly predicted that incumbent Sup Barry Cumbest was in trouble before the primary election.  Conventional wisdom was that Cumbest would be re-elected and that still may happen despite the fact he failed to get 50% plus one on the first try.

That said all the candidates that did not make the runoff have endorsed Sabrina Smith. Smith is a political novice but she has run a spirited campaign to unseat Cumbest.  She was smart enough to court the SRHS retirees early on and this now  makes her the favorite to win the seat next Tuesday.

Slabbed New Media will not be endorsing any candidates in the runoff election though we highly encourage everyone to go vote a week from tomorrow. Meantime I’m more than happy to let the Cumbest and Smith partisans have their say in comments.

Pro Bono Publico: Jackson County Sup District Four GOP Runoff on my mind

Folks the runoff between former Jackson County Sup Tommy Brodnax and current District Four Sup. Troy Ross is coming down to the wire and the race looks like it will be close based on my anecdotal observations visiting with folks in Jackson County.

I’ve heard the reasons why each man should be elected. Despite the fact most folks view this race as a stinker featuring two stinkers, the folks in District Four understand the importance that now attaches to this seat when the new Board is sworn in come January in light of the issues Jackson County faces.

I’m not going to list the downsides extensively on each candidate but Brodnax people correctly point out Ross is getting has received financial support from Harrison County’s Morris Strickland and that he was a patsy in the jail fleecing, a topic that Slabbed is now rolling out. There is merit to those points as well as the one Team Brodnax makes that he fought McKay on the jail and once he lost the fix was effectively in.

Ross supporters point to the fact he is a less divisive personality than Brodnax and that Ross will be able to more capably work with the new board to fix the myriad of problems the county faces. They also point out that Brodnax has his own past in Jackson County politics, some of it as unseemly as the jail.

Slabbed New Media will not be endorsing any candidates in the runoff election though we highly encourage everyone to go vote a week from tomorrow. Meantime I’m more than happy to let the Ross and Brodnax partisans have their say in comments.

Credit the retirees as the runoff elections loom…..

Karen Nelson checks in today with a great article that examines the aftermath of Tuesday’s primary elections in Jackson County, which despite the overall low voter turnout resulted in change in County Government. Karen gives credit to the scrappy group of SRHS retirees that will not go away quietly without answers along with accountability for the disaster that has resulted from a coordinated campaign of lies literally stretching over a period of years:

The tight-knit group handed out thousands of fliers, talked to voters, took out advertisements, picketed the hospitals and lawyers’ offices. They became good at giving interviews to the media and religiously attended Jackson County Board of Supervisors meetings to speak out about what they thought was fair and ask for answers as to why the county-owned system failed them and the community.

“I think people in the county were very upset about this,” Kitty Aguilar said Wednesday after the election. “It was unbelievable in most people’s minds that this would go on — the pension plan and how it was dealt with, and that county supervisors didn’t man up, take it straight on and deal with it.”

This brings me to another point because there has been a debate in comments as to whether or not the campaign teams hired by certain candidates in Jackson County actually met the definition of a professional political coms consultant, the majority of the commenters thinking not. For my part I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few folks over the years that actually qualify having spent a lifetime practicing the dark arts in the Louisiana political arena. A few of these folks could probably have taught Machiavelli a thing or two and that reminds me of a comment I left back in May which is based on the wisdom of one such professional political operative from the other side of the Pearl River:

Local politics is all about pleasing the proverbial chronic voter. The chronic voter is typically grey that has extra time on their hands to engage in political activity like going to Board meetings or manning a picket line.

Since Chronic voters are Grey, they also have a lifetime of social contact with the community which means they are a big influences on what I’d term the marginal voter, which is that part of the electorate that turns out to vote only part of the time.

In 2010 about 28,000 voters turned out of the total voting age population of about 100,000. My guess is somewhere about 18-20 thousand of the total would fit the demographic of a chronic voter. Also in that demographic are close to 3,000 SHRS plan participants.

This is all a long winded way of saying that the County Board of Sups has written off somewhere around 10% of the total vote straight out of the gate. It is not an election winning strategy IMHO.

The advice the Sups heeded which in turn lead to my making that comment did not come from a political coms professional or a seasoned political operative IMHO. I think the Sups actions were based on the advice of a lawyer.  If an elected official did what was best for their constituents over their own electoral self interest such would be a rarity in my opinion though it does happen on occasion. Continue reading “Credit the retirees as the runoff elections loom…..”

Last night’s primary election results exceeded expectations

This morning I start with Jackson County where a grass roots movement of Singing River Health System retirees coupled with disenfranchised Vancleave residents flexing their new found political muscle has resulted in some big changes:

Two longtime Jackson County supervisors defeated ~ Warren Kulo

Two Jackson County supervisors out, two precarious amid hospital debacle ~ Karen Nelson

Last night Trudy Nelson of SRHS Hopes and I traded text messages. The impression I got was the retirees would be spending the evening enjoying the results of their hard work before hitting the grind again today. I took this no nonsense approach to be very bad news for Sups Cumbest and Ross, who find themselves in runoffs that promise to be bruising battles. That same message permeates SRHS Watch’s election post this morning:

You have read, researched, educated yourself and made your voice heard. Congratulations. You have proven that defeat is what faces those who seek to betray the public trust.

Tonight’s victory should be savored, but only ever so shortly.

There lies ahead much work. Three weeks until run off elections. Weeks of depositions and legal wrangling. Five more months with the current Board of Supervisors.

Last month I, along with Slabbed New Media’s Assistant Manager for Community Engagement attended a Saturday evening meeting Trudy and the Gang at the SRHS Hopes Facebook Group organized for the media covering the Jackson County election.  From that meeting with what are essentially a group of very dedicated volunteers looking to improve their local communities, a coherent, independent main stream and social media message would emerge. There were no candidates in attendance that night and no one in attendance was pushing any particular candidate beyond change. By that time Slabbed New Media already had both the McKay/Ocean Springs High School post largely composed along with the one about the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office pension disaster. I thought about that meet up yesterday as I read Biloxi Blue’s comment on the election.  The paid election coms consultants in Jackson County never saw us coming. Continue reading “Last night’s primary election results exceeded expectations”

Election Open: What others are saying

Here is some of the best Mississippi election coverage I could find:

How I will vote on Tuesday ~ Wayne Weidie

Campaign Finance and Other Political Comments ~ Wayne Weidie

The kind remarks in the second link about Slabbed is a nice Monday treat.

Campaign money and how it’s spent? ‘Nunya’ ~ Geoff Pender

And a three pack from Dark Horse Mississippi:

If State Frauditor Stacey Pickering Is Corrupt, So Is A Sizable Chunk of Mississippi’s Legislature: Exhibit A: Is State Senator Joey Fillingane Clothed in Corruption?

State Senator Dean Kirby: Driven By Corruption on the American Expressway? (EXHIBIT B of the Case Against Corruption, Racketeering, and Tax Evading in Mississippi’s State Legislature)

State Representative John Moore: He’s the Education Chairman, but the Dog Ate His Campaign Finance Report (EXHIBIT C of the Case Against Corruption, Racketeering, and Tax Evading in Mississippi’s State Legislature)

Slabbed makes the following endorsements in the 2015 Mississippi Primary Election

The main one being to go vote on Tuesday. Even better would be to harass your registered but nonvoting friends to make sure they vote as well. With the various and sundry displays of disregard for their own constituents well chronicled on these pages and across the local media going back almost two years now, how anyone would stay home on Tuesday is mind boggling to me. As it stands currently convention wisdom is only two incumbent Supervisor stand a real chance at losing their jobs in Jackson County. A 60% turnout in Jackson County would be an incumbent supervisor’s worst nightmare in my opinion.

I’d also like to second the reader comment on the Supervisor McKay’s North Vancleave lake to vote in the GOP primary.  Mississippi, just like the old days, is a virtual one political party state the only difference being the political party has changed.

Hancock County Supervisor District 4 Candidate Lonnie Falgout withdraws from race

On Tuesday, Hancock County District 4 Supervisor candidate Lonnie Falgout announced his withdrawal from the election citing unfinished business related to his position on the Bay St Louis City Council representing City Ward 6. Per Mr. Falgout’s Press Release:

After many days of soul searching, praying and evaluating my candidacy for Hancock County District 4 supervisor, I shall remove my name for the position of Hancock County Supervisor District Four. My decision was based on one thing and one thing only. Bay St. Louis’ Ward 6!

Over two years ago I received a wonderful honor from the good folks of Ward 6 when they elected me as their Bay St. Louis city councilman. They asked me to work for them in obtaining, receiving and bettering the quality of life and services they were not receiving from the city of Bay St. Louis since annexation in 2006. After many miles traveled, meetings attended and just plain old talking, their claims are still most accurate today. Yes some improvements have been made and others started, but the betterment of Ward 6 as the ‘Gateway to Bay St. Louis’ is miles apart from where I want it to be and what these folks deserve.

To the wonderful people and businesses who have called me, welcomed me into their homes and businesses, plus trusted me in attempting to make Ward 6 and Bay St. Louis a better place to live, you deserve more. There’s much more to be done and I will continue to fulfill this trust you have placed in me for the next two years. We have a lot of work to do – together.

Falgout’s withdrawal from the race does not impact any of the primary elections scheduled for Tuesday as he had previously qualified as an independent in the race. On Tuesday, Scotty Adam will face Jeff “Poolman” Harding in the GOP primary. The winner of that race will face independent Anthony Pace and Democrat Maurice Singleton in the general election.