CQpolitics - Mississippi Primary to Fix GOP Favorites for Open House Seats - The one thing that appears nearly certain is that the strong grip that the Republican Party has long held on this district will continue through both of this year’s contests. CQ Politics rates the 1st District as Safe Republican.
Glenn L. McCullough Jr. is perhaps the best-connected Republican candidate in the race. He is a former mayor of Tupelo, which with about 34,000 residents is the largest city in this heavily rural district, and also a former Tennessee Valley Authority chairman. But McCullough faces strong primary competition from both Greg Davis — the mayor of Southaven, home to about 29,000 residents who make it the 1st District’s second-largest city — and Randy Russell, an ophthalmologist.
The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson gave its Republican primary endorsement to McCullough over the past weekend, stating that he “possesses the best overall qualifications among the Republican contenders to represent the diverse interests of the district on Capitol Hill.”
But the campaign has been rugged, with McCullough and Davis launching attacks at each other in their television ads. McCullough ran an ad stating that Davis “doesn’t know where he stands,” charging that Davis “refused to run as a Republican” in the past, increased spending, and altogether, is not a true conservative. “Now Davis says he’ll be conservative? Come on,” the voice-over charged in the commercial.
Davis responded with his own ad labeling McCullough’s “attacks” as “shameful.” But Davis hit out at McCullough in the same ad, aligning him with Democrats by noting that President Bill Clinton first appointed McCullough to serve on the TVA board. Davis accused McCullough of living lavishly while in his TVA post while laying off workers and increasing electric costs. “Glen McCullough should be ashamed,” the ad concluded.
Davis, McCullough and Russell, who entered the race with less name ID than the others, are all competing for conservative support, championing their commitment to local job growth, low taxes, strengthening national security and opposing abortion, among other positions.
The district includes many agricultural areas. Tupelo is a major producer of upholstered furniture. Manufacturing supports many workers and families in the Columbus area. DeSoto County, which contains Davis’ city of Southaven, is the district’s most populous and the state’s fastest growing county, owing in part to residents who commute over the Tennessee border to metropolitan Memphis.
Pursuing the Democratic nomination are state Rep. Steve Holland, who has the primary endorsement of the Clarion-Ledger; Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis W. Childers; lawyer Brian Neely; and Calhoun Alderman Marshall W. Coleman are seeking the party’s nomination in Tuesday’s primary. Political consultant James K. “Ken” Hurt, who took 34 percent against Wicker as the party’s unsuccessful 2006 nominee, filed to run and his name appears on the ballot, but he quit the race last month and endorsed Coleman.