In what can only be viewed as a humiliating defeat for Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, his own Senate just flattened him like an 18 wheeler running over a frog. In the past month, Bryant took the unprecedented step of inserting himself into the redistricting process, and he was clearly in over his head.
As today's floor debate carried on, it became clear that the Bryant plan was rushed, full of errors, and would not come close to passing muster under the Voting Rights Act. Sen. Hob Bryan (D-Amory) took the Bryant plan apart in one of the more effective speeches of the day. As Bryan compared the plans, the Lt. Gov's plan drew gasps and laughter from the Senate floor, and Bryant looked as if he might become ill. (More on the comparison to come.)
The Bryant plans supporters alternated between threats and insults as it was clear they would not carry the day. Sen. Joey Fillingane (R-Sumrall), Bryant's chief floor lieutenant, made ominous threats about consequences coming to those voting against the Bryant plan. Sen Billy Hudson (R-Hattiesburg), another Bryant partisan, compared Sen. Burton unfavorably to a jackass. Needless to say, the lack of decorum from the Bryant foot soldiers did not help their cause, but it was an early signal that they were destined to be the sore losers of this battle.
So what does this mean for Lt. Gov. Bryant? Well, if his opponent for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, Dave Dennis, has a pulse, he's taking notes of Bryant's utter failure today. Could this be the beginning of a real fight in the GOP primary? We'll see....