Plenty to talk about with Tuck switch

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Just more than a week after Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck announced her switch to the Republican Party, it seems plenty still exists to talk about.

A few readers expressed their disdain with my saying Tuck had done more for Republicans in the state than anybody else in Mississippi.

&uot;The only thing Tuck has done for Republicans is use us as a meal ticket,&uot; one reader wrote.

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It seems that more than one person had similar feelings on the matter. But say what you want, Tuck has done a great deal for Republicans in this state.

She has bucked her party line on redistricting, on tort reform and on presidential endorsements. Tuck said she served the people of this state, not special interest groups. So far, she has walked the walk.

As for using the GOP as a &uot;meal ticket,&uot; angered readers might want to look at the amount of special interest money that was pumped into Supreme Court Justice-elect Jesse Dickinson’s campaign, into tort reform efforts, into Rep. Chip Pickering’s campaign.

Do you think Tuck was seeing any of that money? Not yet. And she still backed the issues backed by that money.

So if she shares the wealth as a Republican, then more power to her. Eat up! That’s what I say.

Primary battles not always good

Another reader took me to task saying I was out-of-line for saying Ridgeland ophthalmologist Randy Russell should think twice about running against Tuck.

&uot;Why should Republicans just hand her the nomination? She is new to the party. Randy has been in the party for many years. He has raised money. He has worked hard for the Republicans when Tuck was working hard for the Democrats,&uot; a second reader wrote.

While I’m not sure how hard Tuck worked for Democrats, I do know this: a bloody primary will hurt the Republican Party.

Think back to how Rep. Ronnie Shows first got elected in his mostly conservative district. Voters were tired of the dirty politics of an ugly Republican primary, so they turned to Shows in large numbers.

Here’s where fate could slap the GOP with a hard backhand of irony: If Republicans don’t pull their members in tow, Shows could once again slip into office because GOPers are not all on the same page.

I think competition is good, don’t get me wrong. I also think that when Sen. Thad Cochran says he will do everything within his power to make sure Tuck doesn’t regret her decision to switch to the Republican Party, that includes helping her get re-elected.

Russell may have deep GOP ties in Madison and Rankin counties, but those ties will come undone when push comes to shove. Bet on &045; and I mean the whole farm &045; that Republican heavyweights put their force behind Tuck.

Cole’s sharp, but not as a tack

Besides pointing out that I called him the Democrat with the least amount of &uot;tack&uot; in the state (and yes, I meant &uot;tact&uot;), Rickey Cole still disputes the fact that the Democratic Party gave Tuck little support in her election bid.

The chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party still maintains that Tuck had to beg for support and that she was the recipient of labor union support.

OK, I’ll go with the second, but I still dispute the first. All you have to do is look at where the major Democratic funds were funneled during the primaries &045; that went to her challenger.

And Tuck won in spite of Democrats, not because of them.

Sam R. Hall is publisher of The Times-Post in Houston. He can be reached at (662) 456-3771 or by e-mail to