Either Lynn Fitch or Lee Yancey was expecting to be campaigning in the August heat for the post of state treasurer – just not both of them.
The conventional wisdom was that Yancey or Fitch would place second to top fundraiser Lucien Smith, a Jackson attorney and former budget adviser to Gov. Haley Barbour, in the Aug. 2 Republican primary and force a runoff.
As it turned out, Fitch led the ticket on Aug. 2 with about 38 percent of the vote, followed by Yancey with 34 percent. The two are battling to win the nomination in the Aug. 23 runoff and face Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran, the Democratic nominee, in the Nov. 8 general election.
The post of treasurer is open because Republican incumbent Tate Reeves is running for lieutenant governor.
"I am making a lot of progress," said Yancey, a first-term state senator representing portions of Rankin and Madison counties. "… I am trying to get my voters back out, trying to raise money and trying to get back on television."
Both Fitch and Yancey recently aired new television ads trying to generate support for the runoff.
Traditionally, there is a substantial drop-off in voter participation in a runoff. Both have built-in advantages they hope will help them get their voters out. There is a runoff in Yancey’s Senate district – so that could draw more likely Yancey voters to the polls.
But there also are several local runoff elections in Fitch’s home county of Madison where she did well on Aug 2.
"The reception has been great for us," said Fitch, who is the executive director of the state Personnel Board. "… We are going to stay focused on issues, qualification and on experience."
Fitch previously served as the deputy director of the Department of Employment Security and was in private practice as a bond attorney.
"I have a very positive message to bring to voters," said Fitch. "I am uniquely qualified. There is no candidate who matches my skill set."
The treasurer is, in part, a money manager for the state. Both Fitch and Yancey say they are fiscal conservatives who will work to hold down the state’s debt.
NEMS360.com – Candidates battling in treasurer’s runoff: nems360.com/bookmark/15084970/article-Candidates battling in treasurer’s runoff#.TkfKvkvT6YE.facebook
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