Empower PAC, a group promoting charter schools and for-profit education spent tens of thousands of dollars against incumbent legislators - and they won. Big time. Empower was able to defeat DeSoto County Republicans Forrest Hamilton, Wanda Jennings, Pat Nelson, and Gene Alday. They also went after Republican Rep. Ray Rogers of Rankin County but were unsuccessful.
While Empower was sending checks to its anti-public education candidates, House Speaker Philip Gunn (R-Clinton) sat idly by while members of his own Republican caucus took hit after hit only to fall last night. Since Gunn is doing Empower's bidding, it seems that good riddance is the best Gunn will offer his soon-to-depart colleagues from DeSoto County.
Dan Eubanks, the candidate who defeated Gene Alday, produced the video below with his brother, Dave. Dave Eubanks challenged incumbent Republican Sen. Chris Massey of DeSoto County but was unsuccessful.
Empower, which claims to seek better schooling options for marginalized children, funded the Eubanks campaign to the tune of about $21,000. Those funds must have assisted in Eubanks's widely-circulated song about "Mississippi values" featuring a disgusting racist caricature around the 1:27 mark. Then again, maybe the racist video was part of a calculated political strategy cooked up by Empower's out-of-state benefactors in order to peel GOP primary voters away from incumbent Gene Alday, who infamously said, "... all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call 'welfare crazy checks.'"
Joel Bomgar, the financial muscle behind this plot to defeat public education supporters, won a solid victory in his race for House District 58 in Madison County. Using his personal fortune, Bomgar spent what it took in order to capture this seat.
With Bomgar and his Empower-bought supporters heading to the Capitol in January, Mississippi's public education supporters should be terrified. There are now five more Republicans who will join a caucus already doing their best to undermine public education across Mississippi. With the Bomgar Caucus ready to fight public education, the statement still stands: You can either support public education or be a Republican, but you cannot do both.