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Hewes’ committee picks — strange? Yes. Smart? We’ll see

It was less then a week ago when Tate Reeves’ campaign released poll figures that showed him with a 40-point lead over Billy Hewes in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor.

Tuesday morning, Hewes countered. At a press conference at the Capitol, Hewes revealed who he would name as chairmen of the most powerful committees in the Senate.

Here are his picks:

Appropriations: Doug Davis, R-Hernando, who has chaired that committee since Alan Nunnelee left for D.C.

Judiciary A: Chris McDaniel, R-Laurel. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, is the current chair of that committee.

Finance: Dean Kirby, R-Pearl, who is the committee’s current chair.

Education: Michael Watson, R-Pascagoula. Videt Carmichael, R-Meridian, is the current chair of that committee.

Speaking of Carmichael, he would ascend to president pro tem of the Senate, Hewes said.

So let’s review: Hewes’ picks for critical chairmenships and president pro tem come from Rankin, Jackson, DeSoto and Lauderdale counties. You don’t have to be any kind of political expert to know that those are among the most populated GOP hotspots in Mississippi. Still, it’s odd, and Hewes has certainly backed himself into a corner and most likely alienated a few members (like Fillingane) of his party.

Even if you don’t put much stock in Reeves’ poll numbers, the fact remains that Hewes is considerably behind in the campaign cash race and the all-important name-recognition game.

Three weeks are left until the primary, a period Hewes called “an eternity.”

So we’ll be waiting a while to see if this was a shrewd political maneuver or an act of desperation.

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  1. Steve Seale
    July 13th, 2011 at 09:38 | #1

    As in most if not all statewide elections, polls are done and poll results are published (or withheld) for a reason. Everything done in a campaign is done for a reason. While you can question or compare polls done by competing candidates, it’s generally the people who work in and around government who have, or purport to have, knowledge of potential committee chairmen identities/leadership team identities in the important Lt. Governor’s race.

    What Sen. Hewes has done (I’m a supporter of Hewes but I also think highly of Tate Reeves) is to remove some of the mystery for the general public in this regard. Yes, the Senators he named are from heavily GOP-populated areas of Mississippi. Two of those, Senators Davis and Kirby, currently chair the committees which Hewes has indicated he will reappoint them to. McDaniel and Watson are talented rising-stars and Hewes indicates that they will play a major role in determining the policies a Hewes-led Senate will pursue. Carmichael is a well-regarded, thoughtful and steady Senator and will be an effective deputy in enforcing Hewes’ leadership on the Senate floor and in applying the Senate rules.

    Having served in the Senate, I understand the importance of the leadership team that supports the efforts of the Lt. Governor with the full Senate membership. Sen. Hewes also understands this based on his extensive experience in the Legislature. The reason this is important is that, although the Lt. Governor has chairmanship and committee appointment power and the power to refer bills and control procedure on the Senate floor, the majority and 2/3 vote requirements to pass or defeat legislation is equally important. The Lt. Governor’s leadership team, and their ability to work the Senate floor in this process, is an extremely critical component of the success of any Lt. Governor.

    Campaign aside, Billy Hewes has done a service to the voters of Mississippi by identifying his leadership team. He should be commended for doing so and by doing much to help clarify the choice that voters will have in this election.

  2. Your Brother
    July 14th, 2011 at 00:29 | #2

    I have not made up my mind, but I like the face that Hewes is willing to step out and name a team. This puts a good face on Hewes for me.

  3. Your Brother
    July 14th, 2011 at 00:36 | #3

    We have talked about this in the past… that it seem that people in the northern part of the sate don’t vote for people from the south part of the state. I live in the northern part of the state and I think that Hewes and Dennis are both very well qualified and that every one should study them before making a decision. I am and I like what I am learning.

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