Mario Barnes: The Winds of Change

South Mississippi may very well be at the beginning of a political whirlwind.  Following the municipal races, we’ve seen some unusual and refreshing changes.  Along the coast, voters have spoken up and elected some new and innovative characters starting with Shea Dobson.

Shea, once one of our own contributors, has unseated Democrat Connie Moran in Ocean Springs.  Shea is not the typical Republican.  Some of his supporters thought he might even be leaning a little too far Libertarian.  That was reinforced almost immediately following his election when WLOX picked up on a Facebook post he made regarding medical marijuana.  However, I feel Shea will fall somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum, which is a perfect fit for Ocean Springs.

Looking forward to the upcoming races, there appears to be an opening for 2 other Libertarian leaning candidates.  Two special elections for the state legislature featuring Tavish Kelly, and rumors of Ric McCluskey, another of our past contributors.  Tavish is seeking the State House of Representative district 108 in the Picayune, MS area.  If Ric McCluskey decides to run, it will be for State House of Representatives district 102.  We are anxiously awaiting to hear whether McCluskey will be putting his hat in the ring or not.  We hope he does! 😉

Some additional races that are on everyone’s minds are the US Senate and House seats coming up next year.  We’ve heard several names thrown around, with one already declaring for Palazzo’s house seat, E. Brian Rose.  There are some other names that could challenge Palazzo in the Republican primary, and those are Michael Watson, Robert Demming, Tom Carter and Chris McDaniel.  Of this group, McDaniel is the most notable.  He is rumored to also be considering a run against Wicker for the US Senate seat or possibly a run at Lt. Governor.

I will say this.  After Shea Dobson’s win in Ocean Springs, many of the libertarian/conservative voters were reinvigorated.  It has taken until just now for most of them to get over Chris McDaniel’s heartbreaking loss to Cochran.  It almost appeared that the liberty movement in Mississippi was dying after that race.  But, now, we are hearing a lot of these old voices again and chatter is running amok.  It would be wonderful to get a solid win again to build on this momentum leading into statewide elections in 2019.  I feel that McDaniel has the best chance at unseating Palazzo.  After that, he can support state wide candidates and state legislator races throughout the state as a US Congressman.  I’m not sure challenging Roger Wicker is worth the momentum the conservative/libertarian voters in Mississippi are building.  I’m not sure it’s worth the risk of heartbreak for the liberty movement either.

If McDaniel takes Palazzo’s seat in 2018, it’s only 2 years until Cochran’s US Senate seat is elected again.  With 2 years of networking in DC and an increasingly supportive state legislature, it makes Cochran a significant underdog in the 2020 race.  Who knows?  Perhaps we’ll get to see Michael Watson, supported by a US Congressman McDaniel, as our Lt. Governor; Melanie Sojourner challenging Tate Reeves for Governor; Joel Bomgar as Secretary of State; Mitch Tyner as State Auditor; Angela Hill as State Treasurer; and one Russ Latino as Attorney General.  While this may appear to be farfetched, just try to imagine what an enthusiastic electorate can accomplish.  The winds of change may finally be upon us and it may alter Mississippi more than a hurricane ever could.


Mario Barnes can be reached for further comment at his email Linked In or FaceBook

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