By JACK WEATHERLY
Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney has decided that being elected to a third term is worth nearly $500,000.
Chaney is being challenged by auto body shop owner John Mosley, who has put $158,000 into his campaign coffers from his own pocket as the two Republicans face each other on Aug. 4 in a primary that will decide who will be the next commissioner, as there are no Democratic opponents.
Chaney has spent heavily on television – $220,000. Other media buys include a digital ad that appears on various newspapers, including The New York Times website, when a Mississippian visits the site.
His total expenditures of $448,121.11 compare with $279,180 in campaign contributions, but he is left with $98,959.88 cash on hand, thanks to a carryover from his last previous campaign in 2011.
Among his efforts was a sponsorship of the Miss Mississippi Pageant, which allowed him to make an on-stage appearance on the televised event.
“I’ve been a gold patron since 1972,” he said. As past president of the Vicksburg Jaycees, he works to keep the pageant in his hometown.
While Chaney faced nominal opposition in 2011, he has not taken his opponent lightly this time.
“I’m going to win it if the turnout is right,” he said.
Mosley did not return a phone call in time for publication of this article.
Mosley, who owns Clinton Body Shop, is one of the litigants in a multijurisdictional case in the U.S. District Court for Middle Florida, in which hundreds of body shops in a number of states are are suing insurers over alleged “steering” of customers to certain body shops that are pressured to replace damaged vehicles with aftermarket parts of inferior quality.