Cruz adds breakfast stop in Tupelo to MS visit on August 11


Sen. Ted Cruz announced several days ago he would be visiting Mississippi on August 11 for a stop in Desoto County. His campaign has now added a second stop while in the Magnolia State. 

Cruz will be at Connie’s Fried Chicken in Tupelo at 9 a.m. and at Sweet Pea’s Table in Olive Branch at noon.

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Big Money Grip: McRae using his fortune to seed campaign, Chaney also one of biggest spenders. #mselex

  5 things to know about Mississippi’s Aug. 4 primary

  • Gov. Phil Bryant, who faces challengers in both Tuesday’s Republican primary and November’s general election, had $2.8 million on hand at the end of July. Bryant’s primary opponent, Mitch Young, had $40.
  • In one of Mississippi’s most expensive races this year, department store heir David McRae has spent more than $360,000 airing television ads to unseat incumbent State Treasurer Lynn Fitch in the Republican primary, according to data from media tracking firm Kantar Media/CMAG. Fitch has spent an estimated $81,000 on TV ads.
  • McRae and his wife are using their fortune to seed the campaign, contributing at least $975,000 of the $1.1 million his campaign had raised by late July.
  • Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney is one of the biggest spenders in the state when it comes to TV ads. Chaney has spent at least $110,000 airing ads for his re-election bid, while his Republican primary challenger — body shop owner John Mosley — has spent an estimated $25,000 on TV time.
  • Another incumbent, State Auditor Stacey Pickering, has spent at least $51,000 airing TV ads to fend off GOP primary challenger and Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler.

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Another endorsement for Mary Hawkins Butler for State Auditor

From the Madison County Journal:


Stacey Pickering had two terms to uncover a billion dollar scandal involving the Mississippi Department of Corrections and a prominent Rankin County businessman.

He also had time to uncover a scandal involving the Department of Marine Resources on the Coast, or the Singing River pension fiasco.

Like Democrat Attorney General Jim Hood, Pickering has just proven to be incapable of stopping the big cases as he focuses on the park commission workers and people who misspent a few hundred dollars.

It’s for these reasons alone we believe it’s time for a change and recommend Mary Hawkins-Butler, who has served Madison so well as mayor for more than three decades.

We believe people are innocent until proven guilty, – or even indicted – but as rumors swirl about how Pickering may or may not have spent campaign funds, his future potential legal woes could be bad for the GOP if he’s forced out.

Hawkins-Butler has the fire in the belly to shake things up and probably isn’t running for higher office like previous Auditors who were weak when it came to fighting corruption, especially in her home county of Madison. Therefore, we recommend Hawkins-Butler for State Auditor.

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PENDER: Campaign money and how it’s spent? ‘Nunya’

BY: Geoff Pender


“Bribery is legal in Mississippi.”

To me, this was the most memorable statement from the political stumping at last week’s Neshoba County Fair. It came from a down-ticket, local-area candidate who spoke early in the morning when few were listening.

He was referencing Mississippi’s campaign finance laws — much in the news lately — that don’t have a clear prohibition against spending campaign funds on personal expenses. That’s not to say it’s legal — an attorney general’s opinion has warned for years that there could be state and federal tax and other legal problems from laundering money through a campaign — but no one in recent memory has faced ramifications.

Given the near total lack of enforcement of state campaign finance laws and reporting requirements, they don’t provide a clear prohibition against much of anything.

Here’s a basic, quick hypothetical explanation of the system and problems it poses:

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The Teaching of Adversity

BY: Oswald Chambers

In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. —John 16:33


The typical view of the Christian life is that it means being delivered from all adversity. But it actually means being delivered in adversity, which is something very different. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling…” (Psalm 91:1,10)— the place where you are at one with God.

If you are a child of God, you will certainly encounter adversities, but Jesus says you should not be surprised when they come. “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” He is saying, “There is nothing for you to fear.” The same people who refused to talk about their adversities before they were saved often complain and worry after being born again because they have the wrong idea of what it means to live the life of a saint.

God does not give us overcoming life— He gives us life as we overcome. The strain of life is what builds our strength. If there is no strain, there will be no strength. Are you asking God to give you life, liberty, and joy? He cannot, unless you are willing to accept the strain. And once you face the strain, you will immediately get the strength. Overcome your own timidity and take the first step. Then God will give you nourishment— “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life…” (Revelation 2:7). If you completely give of yourself physically, you become exhausted. But when you give of yourself spiritually, you get more strength. God never gives us strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the moment. Our temptation is to face adversities from the standpoint of our own common sense. But a saint can “be of good cheer” even when seemingly defeated by adversities, because victory is absurdly impossible to everyone, except God.

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Clarion Ledger endorses Mary Hawkins Butler for State Auditor. 


The Clarion Ledger Editorial Board writes:

This is one of the most difficult endorsements we have made. In the Republican nomination for state auditor, neither candidate is someone we would select for this office.

Incumbent Stacey Pickering is currently dogged with too many questions about no-bid contracts using state funds and the possibility of illegal campaign expenditures, both of which are the target of an FBI investigation.

Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler, however, is clearly only in this race because she disagrees with Pickering’s findings when he audited the Madison County Board of Supervisors and their contracts with county engineer Rudy Warnock. Butler has even said she would immediately launch an investigation into Madison County if elected, which is tantamount to her admitting she will use her state office for what everyone knows has become a personal vendetta.

Pickering’s record is less than stellar. Our own investigation into no-bid contracts showed his office was the worst in the state when it came to questionable contracts. Former office workers were transferred to contractual employment while they worked congressional campaigns. Former campaign workers were given nearly $100,000 contracts to serve as ambassadors of the state auditor, the contract actually listing speaking at civic clubs as part of the contract.

Furthermore, we have seen some of the worst corruption by state leaders while Pickering has served as state auditor. He likes to boast of recovering more than $21 million for state taxpayers, but he has failed when it came to rooting out major corruption in the Mississippi Department of Corrections and the Department of Marine Resources. It’s been the FBI, not Pickering’s office, that has initiated and led these investigations. Furthermore, it took a judge to force him to release public documents in the DMR case.

Pickering is now dogged with a lack of trust — in public finances, public records and campaign expenditures. He does not deserve his party’s nomination.

While we have many concerns with Butler, she has enjoyed tremendous success in shaping Madison into one of the state’s fastest-growing and most affluent cities. Too, we believe her when she says she has no higher political ambitions than the auditor’s office. For that reason, she can be relentless at rooting out corruption. If she will take her role seriously and not use her office for political persecutions, she could be a tremendous breath of fresh air in state politics.


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PLUNKETT: Officials in town of Louise demonstrate act of true public service that many in politics need to learn. 

BY: B. Keith Plunkett | UCF Staff   @Keithplunkett

The Town of Louise in Humphreys County has only 199 total residents, and not much of a tax base to speak of. But regardless of the size of the town, Louise elected officials have shown what true leadership in the face of adversity is all about.

On July 7 at the request of Mayor Ruffin Smith, Louise alderman voted unanimously to cut their own pay in half as well as that of the mayor. 

It’s not much. Mayor Smith’s monthly wage will go from $300 to $150, the vice-mayor’s pay will be cut from $70 to $35 and aldermen will go from $50 to $25. 

Some may say this is hardly worth mentioning. But with a budget as small as that of the Town of Louise, saving $3,420 is a real help. Add a few zeros to the end of those numbers and you can see how similar actions in other local and state governments could result in positive changes for taxpayers in those places, as well. 

Far too often politicians forget they’re not managing Monopoly money and the policies they push affect real people.

Whatever their past or future politics, the elected leaders of Louise are to be commended for putting their town first in this instance. 

It’s a stark contrast to the recent news of corruption by some of the politicians at the state Capitol and in statewide office. 

All elected officials should take note: this type of self-sacrifice is an example of real public service. 

Keith Plunkett is the Policy and Communications Director for the United Conservatives Fund. He has worked on communications and policy issues with a range of public officials from aldermen to Congressmen, and a variety of businesses, government agencies and non-profits. He serves or has served as a board member of several non-profit, civic and political organizations. Contact him by email at or follow him on Twitter @Keithplunkett

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