Lieutenant governor candidate McDaniel draws standing-room-only crowd at rally in Kingston

Published 3:48 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Chris McDaniel, a state senator from Jones County and a candidate for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, said the Democratic Party is at war with conservatives in America.

Further, McDaniel said his opponent in the Aug. 8 primary election, Republican Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, is one of them.

McDaniel held a standing-room-only rally in Natchez Monday evening at the Kingston Community Center, sponsored by District 1 Adams County Supervisor Kevin Wilson, a Republican, Republican Jack Blaney, who is a candidate for Adams County Justice Court Judge for the southern district, and Republican State Sen. Melanie Sojourner.

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Sojourner’s senate district 37 was eliminated in redistricting in March 2022, made necessary by changes in population in Mississippi in the 2020 Census. Most of Sojourner’s current district was combined with the district currently represented by state Sen. Albert Butler of Port Gibson to create a single, majority Black district.

She and other conservative Republicans blame Hosemann for engineering that change in an effort to drive her out of her Senate seat.

McDaniel went further, calling Hosemann’s move the “political assassination” of Sojourner.

“This is America. This is Mississippi. There are only a few places left where people can still come together like this, and this matters,” McDaniel said.

“Let’s put everything Delbert Hosemann has done aside for a minute and focus on this one issue. You had the best senator you could ever have in Melanie Sojourner. Principled. Convicted. Conservative. What did Delbert Hosemann do? He committed the political assassination of Sen. Melanie Sojourner. What is her sin? She fought for you. What is her sin? She didn’t cut backroom deals for Democrats. And because she stood her ground, because she was ranked one of the most conservative senators in the chamber, he drew her out of her district. Unforgivable. He could have thrown any Democrat out, but no. He targeted your conservative senator,” he said. “It was bad enough he behaved like a Democrat for the last four years, but he came after her.”

Sojourner said the people who came out to the Kingston Community Center on Monday night raised her, and that she is concerned for the next generation.

“This is where I was raised. I didn’t go to Jackson to get along or make friends or get free dinners. I went to Jackson to represent you and how I was raised. I look around this room and I see the people who taught me in Vacation Bible School out on that playground when I was a kid. These are the people who helped raise me,” she said. “People ask me why do you fight so hard? I fight for our next generation of our family and some of yours who are in this room. And if we are not willing to stand up and fight for them, I am terrified of what we will leave them. I am terrified about how they are going to start a business. How they are going to raise their children. It’s not even about public schools anymore. The private schools have gotten just as bad.”

Sojourner said when she went to Jackson, she watched who was doing what and said McDaniel was fighting for the same things she was concerned about, and because he is a lawyer, he was doing it within the context of the law.

“I am a better senator because of Chris McDaniel,” she said.

“(State Rep.) Bennie Thompson (D-Bolton) is a problem and Delbert ran his district all the way down here in southwest Mississippi,” McDaniel said. “Why do you think Delbert likes Democrats so much? That’s right, because he is one.”

Casey Phillips, a senior advisor to Delbert Hosemann’s campaign, refuted claims made by Sojourner and McDaniel.

“With the largest tax cut in the state’s history, paying down $500 million in state debt, downsizing state government, protecting our family values, and on and on, we have had the most conservative four years ever,” Phillips said. “We have the same record as Governor Reeves, who continues to tout our achievements over the past four years. Any attack Chris McDaniel has on our administration he also must levy on our governor, our conservative Senate and House, and all of the progress we have made in Mississippi.”

He said the Republican Senate, not Lt. Gov. Hosemann, were responsible for redistricting.

“On redistricting, Melanie Sojourner and Chris McDaniel proposed an alternate redistricting map in the Senate, which failed after debate. Senate Republicans, who hold the supermajority, overwhelmingly rejected their map. The Lt. Governor does not vote except in the case of a tie, so Delbert Hosemann did not vote on the proposal. The map ultimately adopted will result in the most conservative Senate this state has ever had,” Phillips said.

He also said the notion that Hosemann is anything but a lifelong Republican is laughable.

“It is an absolute fact that Delbert is a Republican, has always run as a Republican and is running in the Republican primary,” Phillips said.

The modern Democratic Party is a danger to the country, McDaniel said.

“They are no longer the party of Kennedy or the party of Roosevelt. It’s a party of rebels that can’t be stopped,” McDaniel said.

Mississippi still has an income tax because of Hosemann, he said. He also said the push in the last legislative session for a ballot initiative failed because of Hosemann

McDaniel said the “political class” is killing this country.

“This country desperately needs term limits,” he said. “I don’t trust any of them. But I do trust you. Bring those people home and let’s send new ideas and new blood to Washington. I would trust the first 100 people in the Kingston phone directory more than I would trust the U.S. Senate, and you should, too.”

He said conservatives can no long look aside while Democrats change the America they know.

“I lost my father in 1999. Destroyed me. Broke my heart. You never get over a loss like that. I often wonder what he would think if he would come back and see the state of this country right now. In just 20 years, we don’t even recognize this land anymore,” McDaniel said. “You have an option. You can keep letting this slide occur for the next 20 years, and if you do, our children will not inherit this America. I want you to understand that now. The modern Democrat party is at war with you.

“They are at war with your families. They are at war with your schools. They are at war with your traditions, your monuments, your history and your way of life,” he said. “We can’t save this country by compromising with evil. This country is at a place in its history where we all must decide. This is our time for choosing,” McDaniel said. “We can choose to preserve our liberty and all the fruits that it gives you, or you can choose to let them push you around. We are going to choose to fight.”

Also Monday night, two other candidates spoke briefly.

Natchez attorney Tim Cotton, who is running as an independent for Sixth District Attorney, discussed why he is seeking that office.

“I hear about justice reform and the balance between mercy and justice. But the question for me is, whom are we seeking mercy for. When offenders don’t recognize the errors of their way, the law abiding citizens are the individuals who suffer,” Cotton said. “My mercy is for the individuals of this community.”

He said the sixth district is losing ground when it comes to violent crimes and drug crimes.

“Your vote matters because this community matters,” he said.

Jack Blaney, a Republican, is running for Adams County Justice Court Judge in an effort to put the victims of crime first.

“We are so wrapped up in moving quickly, the victim gets lost in the shuffle,” Blaney said. “I went to a cattle sale recently and what we are doing in justice court reminds me of that. Everybody keep your head down and keep this moving along and go home. That’s not justice for the victims.

“What I plan to do, if elected is throw some consequences back into breaking the law,” he said. “I call it a crime tax. You can break any law you want and pay a fine and you can go…Instead of having consequences for breaking the law, they are paying a few dollars that the county gets to spend. I intend to stand up for the people in Adams County.”