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Democrats elect new leadership; Moak wins party chair

Bobby Moak

BOBBY MOAK

The Mississippi Democratic Party elected new leaders to head the organization for the next four years, including former House minority leader Bobby Moak as party chair, the organization said in a statement Sunday.

Moak is from Bogue Chitto. Rae Shawn Davis of Gulfport was voted in as vice chair. Earle Banks from Jackson will take over as the executive vice chair and Ryan Brown of Brandon will be treasurer. Rubye Funchess of Jackson was elected secretary and Jamie Franks of Mooreville as parliamentarian.

Moak was the House Minority Leader before he was voted out last fall. He lost to Republican poultry and cattle farmer Vince Mangold after Republicans targeted him with mailers displaying his photo next to President Barack Obama.

Moak has his work cut out for him guiding a party that lost more ground to the Republicans during the last election.

Gov. Phil Bryant easily won a second term against the Democratic nominee — a little-known truck driver. The Republicans, having taken control of the House in 2011 for the first time in more than 130 years, solidified their hold in November and gained a supermajority there. They already controlled the Senate with a supermajority. The supermajorities allow the Republicans to change tax laws without consulting Democrats.

Moak said he looks at the job as a “continuation of public service,” and said Republican actions in recent months and use of their supermajority are giving the Democrats plenty to work with in attracting voters.

He faulted the Republican-led government for dipping into the state’s rainy day fund and cutting government services, saying that wasn’t what voters signed up for when they voted for Republicans’ promises of smaller government last fall.

“They did an excellent job of pulling the wool over the voters’ eyes,” he said during an interview Sunday. “They have created their own special Mississippi recession… We haven’t seen the high-paying jobs. We haven’t seen any of that happening.”

He also said the Democrats need to market themselves better to the public. When talking to voters he said he gets the impression that Democrats are against God and anti-gun.

“We’re going to try to separate ourselves that we’re the party of logic, we’re the party of reason,” he said. “We want to show folks that that’s who we are, that we’re the real Mississippians.”

The 80-member executive committee voted Saturday on the six positions, said the party’s spokeswoman, Ouida Meruvia.

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