Gov. Phil Bryant should appoint state Sen. Chris McDaniel to fill Thad Cochran’s seat until the November election.
However, if anyone believes the second-term governor and one-time close friend of McDaniel’s will do so, we have some nice ocean front property in Nebraska to sell to you.
The decision is not Bryant’s at all. No, this decision will come down from the likes of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Mississippi’s Boss Hogg, Haley Barbour. What they tell the governor to do, the governor will do.
But that is not stopping McDaniel supporters from pleading with Bryant to honor the wishes of REPUBLICAN voters in 2014 and appoint McDaniel. It was in that year, on June 3, when McDaniel defeated longtime Sen. Thad Cochran in the GOP primary. If not for a third candidate who entered the race, reportedly, because God told him to, McDaniel would be in his third year of his first term in the U.S. Senate.
Of course, McDaniel was forced into a runoff with Cochran and, with thousands of Democrat crossover voters, lost in the runoff in 2014. Cochran easily won a seventh term in office in November and we believe that McDaniel would have won the Senate seat with the same ease as Cochran did.
Once a shining star in the eyes of state Republicans, McDaniel has become a pariah characterized as being nothing more than an opportunist.
But we ask why? Mississippi Republican voters in 2014 made it clear that McDaniel was who they wanted in office. He ran on a platform of limited federal intrusion, a balanced budget and an end to crony politics that has created what we now know of as “The Swamp” in Washington, D.C. McDaniel has not wavered one bit on his political stances. Speeches from him in 2014 and today are not much different. His principles of Reagan conservatism have not changed.
So, if Republican voters chose McDaniel — he received about 2,000 more votes than Cochran in the primary — in 2014 and he has not wavered one bit on his principles and promises to the state’s electorate, wouldn’t he be the wisest choice to represent Mississippi?
The voters will say yes. Gov. Bryant, McConnell and Barbour will absolutely, with 100 percent certainty, not just say no, but hell no. Well-informed political sources have said McConnell has told Bryant “anyone but McDaniel.” We absolutely believe that.
The choice for Bryant, which will be announced between April 1 and April 11, will be to do what the power-brokers in Washington, D.C., want or what the people of Mississippi want.
Politics is filthy and, frankly, Bryant’s decision will have nothing to do with what the people of Mississippi want, but he answers to the powerful and elite in Washington. Politics as usual. Politics the likes of which McDaniel has been fighting his entire career in office.
So if Bryant will not appoint McDaniel — he won’t — we urge him to appoint Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves to the post. Then, in November, it will be Reeves — the embodiment for Establishment, yes-man politics that will suit Boss Hogg and McConnell perfectly — and McDaniel (and likely many others) in a winner-take-all-election.
Those two loathe one another and the choice for voters in November would not be clearer — Boss Hogg’s “boy” or an independent thinker tired of the status quo.
Let the voters of MISSISSIPPI decide, not a mumbling senator from Kentucky and not Gov. “Roscoe P. Coltrane” Bryant answering to Boss Hogg.
Laurel Leader Call Editorial Board