First-term Pearl River County District 3 Supervisor Hudson Holliday retired from the Mississippi Army National Guard in 2004 as a one-star general. His campaign for the Republican nomination for governor is less than a week old, but he is already bringing a military style to it. It could be summed up in three words.
“I feel compelled to do it,” Holliday said.
“I really do think that people are fed up with professional politicians,” he continued.
“Phil Bryant was a deputy sheriff (before serving in the Legislature and then being appointed to the State Auditor’s office). What does he know? He’s never created the first job. He has never hired anybody. He’s never paid workman’s comp insurance on anybody. He’s never had to deal with withholdings or regulations. Now he’s been in Jackson (for several years). He’s just moved up that political ladder. What does he know about that contractor that’s out there in the mud trying to build a building? He’s never been there.”
Then Holliday reloaded.
“What in the world does Tate Reeves know about what’s going on out in the (rural areas)? He’s a bean counter. Did he ever serve in the military?”
Spokespersons for Bryant and Reeves did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Holliday’s campaign will attempt to draw a contrast between him and Bryant, the lieutenant governor who has said he will seek the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2011; and Reeves, the Republican state treasurer who has not committed one way or the other as far as 2011 goes but is thought to a strong possibility for the governor’s race.
Holliday touted his experience in the small business world. His background is diverse. He has owned and operated a construction company, developed subdivisions as a homebuilder, established a crop-dusting service, farmed and run a timber-cutting business.
He also served as a deputy sheriff under his brother, the former sheriff of Pearl River County.
“There’s not a whole lot that goes on in Mississippi that I don’t understand,” Holliday, 65, said. “I’ll just be honest with you, I’m tired. I’m tired of us leaving our future up to professional politicians that too often, not all of them, are more concerned about their future than they are ours. They’re just looking for the next ladder to climb instead of making hard decisions.”
Holliday said he’s mulled over the idea of running for governor for about six months. He will run as a Republican, he said, but he’s “not proud of either one of the parties. I think they’re the downfall of this country, to tell you the truth. I’m not sure a Democrat could be elected in a governor’s race.
“I believe good government suffers when good people don’t get involved. I’m going to get involved. I’m not going to sit at the house and complain about the way things are when I know I can do something about it.”
Holliday was elected to his current post last year. It was the first time he had jumped into the political arena. He realizes that name recognition and fundraising ability will be major issues against opponents who have plenty of both.
By CLAY CHANDLER
MBJ STAFF WRITER