Senator Melanie Sojourner: Courage Under Fire

Despite consistent attacks by the GOP Establishment, Senator Melanie Sojourner has remained a steadfast champion of conservative values.

By Ryan S. Walters | @ryanswalters73

sojournerThere’s an ongoing war within the Republican Party in Mississippi between the Establishment and Conservatives. Last year we saw it up close and personal in the battle between Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel. This year the fight is in State Senate District 37, a contest between Senator Melanie Sojourner and two Establishment hack candidates, a deceitful tactic concocted by the powers that be designed to split the vote and throw the race to one of their own.

The party-controlling Establishment Republicans, seeking to destroy a prominent conservative this campaign season, chose to go after Senator Sojourner in retaliation for managing McDaniel’s US Senate campaign. This race is their latest phase in the war to cleanse conservatives from the GOP in Mississippi.

Aside from being Senator McDaniel’s campaign manager, why the hostility towards Senator Sojourner? Is it because she is a strong conservative woman? Quite possibly so.

Like Chris McDaniel, Senator Melanie Sojourner is one of the most principled conservatives in Mississippi, which is something the Establishment hates. She stands right along side McDaniel as the most conservative in the State Senate.

Her election in 2011 was truly historic. She is the first Republican and the first woman elected from that district, which encompasses Pike, Amite, Franklin, and Adams counties, including the city of Natchez. As a freshman, she was appointed as a committee chair, a rare honor.

She has been a champion of all the great conservative causes – repealing Common Core, protecting gun rights, standing up for religious liberty, cutting taxes, and reducing spending, as well as fighting the growing pandemic of corruption. She and she alone persuaded Governor Bryant to veto Tate Reeves deceptive Common Core Bill, ensuring that the legislature can, in the future, dump those federal standards.

As a freshman she passed an important tourism bill that her Democrat predecessor could not get enacted in a decade.  She authored a bill to develop Tuscaloosa Marine Shale that brought hundreds of jobs to the state and saw the passage of her bill to protect student religious liberties.

She is one of only a handful of conservative Senators that voted against dozens of tax increases, even those authored by Republicans.  And for these reasons the Establishment detests her and wants her ousted.

In their zeal to defeat her, they have, thus far, done nothing constructive in the campaign. Their two candidates have offered no plans of reform, for they have none, or any plan to better the lives of the people. They have done nothing but sling mud at Senator Sojourner.

To do this, the Establishment has taken a page out of their old anti-McDaniel playbook and created a big-money PAC, named the Citizen Super PAC, to spread lies and deception. This PAC is unregistered in Mississippi, which is a violation of law.

FullSizeRender-5And what are the attacks? The two main assaults are that she is often absent from the senate and misses a lot of votes, and that she committed an ethics violation by not filing her campaign finance reports on time.

Let’s look at the absentee issue first. In the last four years, the Mississippi Senate has cast about 3,000 votes.  Senator Sojourner missed a grand total of 30. That’s only one percent.  And, most notably, these missed votes were on minor issues, consisting of naming bills, congratulatory resolutions for coaches and sports teams, and other non-important matters. Not one missed vote was on a binding law that affects the people.

In those same four years, she missed all of eight days.  Seven of those days were on either a Monday or Friday when rarely any business is transacted.  Most of the time on Mondays and Fridays, the Senate gavels in, taking up no business, has a prayer, reads announcements, and gavels out, and the state spends tens of thousands of dollars for those days. On several of those days she came in to take care of constitutes needs, but wasn’t there at the time the body was gaveled in, so she was counted absent, as were a number of other members.

And on many of those non-work days she remained at the Capitol to work, yet did not get paid. She doesn’t waste taxpayer dollars doing nothing, unlike many of our distinguished legislators.

She has an incredible work ethic and puts in many extra hours doing research, meeting with constitutes, and working with other Senators to garner votes for the issues that conservatives champion.IMG_1487 One numerous occasions, she remained alone in the chamber late at night conducting work on behalf of her constituents. The idea that she is a perpetually absent Senator is ridiculous and an outright lie.

On the ethics issue, the Establishment has tried to persuade the voters that Senator Sojourner is unethical because she failed to file her 2013 campaign finance report on time, insinuating that she had something to hide. This is how the Establishment has always operated, to smear conservatives with outright lies and falsehoods.

But the truth is far different. In September 2013, an EF2 tornado hit Senator Sojourner’s house in Natchez and destroyed it. She lost many of her personal possessions, including paperwork and records, and was forced to live with her parents for many months. With such a tragedy, she was advised by several senior senate members that she could file her campaign reports late, as she did her taxes and insurance claim for that year.   She did end up filing all three filings by the tax and insurance extension deadline.

Yet Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who is a point man for the Establishment’s cleansing campaign against conservatives, used it as a campaign issue, threatening to jail Senator Sojourner if she did not file her paperwork and pay the requisite fine. She paid the $500 fine on October 24, 2014, yet continued to get threatening letters from the Secretary of State, as well as negative hits from the media. And throughout the ordeal, Hosemann never acknowledged the tornado, even when on talk radio shows in which he continued to shamefully slander a distinguished member of the State Senate.

Keep in mind that this is the same Secretary of State, Delbert Hosemann, who has said not a single word about the unregistered and illegal PAC running ads against Sojourner, nor has he said one single word about the illegal activities involving campaign-spending violations by State Auditor Stacey Pickering, who is now under FBI investigation.

This should tell you all you need to know: Hosemann’s conduct, and that of the entire Establishment, is nothing more than a smear campaign against a good, solid conservative State Senator.

The Republican Party has surged in Mississippi over the last 20 years, but has been in the clutches of the Establishment, which has succeeded in transforming the state into the most corrupt in the nation. And they are intent on keeping it that way. That’s why Hosemann and others are attacking Senator Sojourner with such ferocity. Anyone who seeks reform and wants to hold elected officials accountable is a target.

So, to the conservative citizens in District 37, you have a stark choice: You may either keep one of the most principled conservatives in the Mississippi Senate or succumb to the dictates of the Establishment and elect their chosen candidate to keep their culture of corruption intact.

For the good of your district, and our state, I hope you choose wisely, reject the lies and smears of the Establishment, and re-elect Senator Melanie Sojourner.

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Comments

  1. Miss Melanie is known by all to be a perfect example of Tea Party extremism. She has managed to alienate almost all of her Senate colleagues. She’s unable to garner support to raise money for her re-election. That’s why she is getting creamed in her bid for re-election to her Senate seat.

    • Nope she’s not getting creamed, not by a long shot. And you obviously don’t know her, not like I do anyway. Why is it that advocating pure conservatism, that is balancing budgets, reducing waste, ending Common Core, protecting gun rights and religious liberty, and cleaning up corruption is somehow extremism? Extremism is doing the opposite of this things – deficit spending, wasteful programs, federal control of education standards, gun control, erosion of protected liberties, corruption. Hmmmm, come to think of it, that’s the Cochran-Barbour-Establishment program!!

      • So Ryan, are are agreeing with my point that Miss Melanie has managed to alienate almost all of her Senate colleagues, and that she’s been unable to garner support to raise money for her re-election? I never did describe her as being “extreme”, rather, that based upon the information I am reading and hearing, that she is getting “creamed” in her bid for re-election. I’m sure that she is a wonderful example of Southern Womanhood.

      • Ryan, please tell Melanie congratulations for me. It looks like the only one who got “creamed” was me! 🙂

      • I told you! LOL

      • Bill Smith says:

        I think she could have her work cut out for her, if the voter turnout in the general election is similar to the primary. Her Democrat oppenent got 3x as many votes as she.

  2. Bill Smith says:

    I have no idea what any polls done in the 37th Cistrict show or how the Primary will turn out next week. Perhaps, as the MCD staff says, she is in much better shape than David Frazier thinks. Perhaps she will win going away.

    But, if she wins, she has a problem. She has, as David Frazier points out above, alienated many of her colleagues and all of the leadership in the Senate. So what happens if she returns? She, along with Sen. McDaniel, will be isolated and without the influence or power. She has declared war on the MS Republcan Party and on the Senate leadership. She has repeatedly criticized the Lt. Governor by name. It is her right to do what she has done, and it is the right of her constituents to re-elect her, but she must know and they must know there are consequences for attacking your own Party and its leadership.

    The McDaniel campaign, especially with its conduct after the second Primary last year and its constant attacks on the state Party and its leadership, has injected a poison into the politics of the MS Republican Party. It appears it will not do nearly the damage some thought it might. But it has put Senators McDaniel and Sojourner and those who remain their supporters in a very difficult, or rather an impossible, position. They have to win, take control of the Party, and purge the Party of those it keeps calling non-conservative establishment types. If they cannot win and win overwhelmingly, then they are left alienated and isolated. That means there is very little, if anything, they can get done. And you can’t blame those whom they attack for pushing back. What’s the end game? Having taken on the Party leadership and the Party itself, how do they win? The Lt. Gov, is going to be re-elected; they have not got rid of him or even weakened him. So how will they operate within the Senate? What will be their committee assignments? How will any bills they introduce get handled? Who will their allies be?

    When you declare war, somebody is going to win and somebody is going to lose. Senators McDaniel and Sojourner have declared a bitter war on their own Party. Their Party is fighting back. Who wins?

    • MichaelW says:

      Well, if we didn’t have a few rebels to buck the establishment then I guess we would still be part of England and the people would bow to the rules and regulations that are set forth by the ruling family or party even if it is a detriment to the people and their liberties.
      I believe she is aware of any repercussions she may face for calling out our Lt. Governor when he needs to be called out. And so do her constituents that she represents. As for working within the party, you don’t have to worry about that. Even the slime ball career politicians will come calling to the likes of Sen. Sojourner and Senator McDaniel and others when they need their help or their support in state wide elections or to pass legislation that is too close to call. Meantime with as much corruption and good ole boy politics that we have in this state, we need watchdogs. Lead on Senators! Some folks just don’t like it when you buck their good ole boy system types of “do nothing politics but remember to keep me in office career politicians”.

      As for the McDaniel campaign during the Senate Election, seems to me you must have had blinders on when it came to Senator Cochran’s campaign or you just want say anything bad about their deplorable actions regardless of what dirty politics they played. If you like them fine, join their ranks, but that doesn’t resonate with all Mississippians and our voices will continue to grow until we get rid of these no good pieces of non producing representatives who only want to keep their cronies and family in power and money. Come to think of it they are kind of like the old English Aristocracy.

  3. bernadice says:

    Bill Smith, I do love reading your comments! You seem like a smart and reasonable man. I will say I have never heard any of those “establishment” Republicans, the Barbours, the Cochrans or anybody else call Miss Melli or Chris the names that they and their supporters seem to enjoy calling them. I think somebody needs to take an honest look at who is doing the attacking.

    • Bernie, Old Bill is smart enough for a semi-retired preacher. But if he were really smart, he would capitulate on his preexisting Christian mythology beliefs and just go ahead and agree with me 100% of the time–especially on matters of law, constitutional principles, politics, government, etc.

  4. Bernadice says:

    David, I enjoy your comments, too! You hit the nail on the head with your first comment on this story.

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