An article in the Daily Journal this morning about Mississippi's Republican Senate primary left me with more questions than answers. The article discussed the rallying Mississippi Republicans will have to do once their runoff election occurs on June 24. The first question that lingers is "Do we honestly expect that unity to occur?"
Being in the middle of the action in Rankin County, I have heard from folks in each campaign say things like "If Thad wins, I'm staying home in November" or "If McDaniel wins, I'm staying home in November." I suppose this is one level of unity. Nerves are frayed for sure, and I just don't see how these hardened positions soften between now and November.
The second question I had was "Where are the governor and the speaker?" I couldn't help but notice that the Republican elected official quoted in the article was House Speaker Pro Tem Greg Snowden (R-Meridian). I know Snowden thinks I'm "full of it," but on Father's Day, I will give him some credit. I believe Snowden does a good job advocating for his party and staying on message. Still, it's pretty noticeable that Speaker Gunn (R-Clinton) has been completely missing in action from the Senate campaign for as far back as I can recall. I wasn't invited to the Cochran rally at the Ag Museum in Jackson a few weeks ago, yet I don't remember seeing any pictures or video of Gunn on the stage with the other Republican leaders.
Even Governor Phil Bryant has been mostly absent from the campaign trail with Cochran. At a recent visit to Rankin County, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves helped Cochran shake hands and talk with voters from Reeves's home county. Phil Bryant is also from Rankin County, but I have not talked with anyone (and I have asked) who has seen Bryant on the stump for the state's senior United States Senator. It's an odd spectacle having a governor of the same political party not helping the campaign of a sitting senator. I know Bryant's former chief of staff is Cochran's campaign manager (in name only these days), but that's about where Bryant's involvement ends.
The examples of Gunn and Bryant lead me to two primary conclusions. First, Gunn and Bryant do not care about this election and are only concerned about their own survival. Second, Gunn and Bryant are still scared of the tea party. The second concern is understandable but only if you have a room you don't want someone sneaking into. If this is the level of effort Gunn and Bryant are putting into a campaign for a United States Senate seat, candidates running for office next year should not expect a lot of help from Gunn or Bryant - as if it would help in the first place. With friends like these...