The Mississippi Economic Council’s annual Hobnob is next Thursday. Hundreds of business leaders and politicians will be there.
Gov. Haley Barbour will not.
According to Dan Turner, Barbour’s press secretary, the governor will spend that day in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania campaigning for GOP candidates before Nov. 2′s midterm elections. Barbour will be one part of a large contingent of Republican leadership who will embark on a last-minute blitz that starts Tuesday and ends Saturday.
“He’s not real excited about missing it,” Turner said of Barbour’s absence. “That’s his element.”
Scott Waller, senior VP for public affairs at the MEC, said this is the second Hobnob Barbour will miss, the first coming in 2005 in the aftermath of Katrina, when Barbour was in Washington and addressed the crowd via satellite uplink.
There’s a good reason Barbour has been at all the others. It’s the largest gathering of the business and political community of the year. Lots of people with lots of money who give that money to political campaigns of every stripe are always there. If you run for office at any level in Mississippi, it’s a can’t-miss.
Granted, Barbour isn’t running for office, at least not officially and at least not one in which only Mississippi voters can participate. And his position as chairman of the Republican Governors Association requires him to campaign nationally (though he would probably do that anyway) and we doubt anybody is all that offended that he won’t be there next Thursday. He will address the crowd via video.
But Barbour is still the governor of Mississippi. Helping our state recover from Katrina is a perfectly good reason for missing Hobnob. Pitching voters in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania is not. Barbour should have made time.