A group of 15 Republican senators — about half of the GOP ranks and nearly a third of the chamber — held a secret meeting(s) last week to discuss their displeasure with Maximus Tater. As with most things at the Capitol, it didn’t stay secret very long. But I should note, they really, really didn’t want this column coming out today.
They are trying to form a “conservative coalition.” Their stated goal will be something along the lines of “working within the Senate structure of leadership, but at the same time making sure the will of the people is allowed to flourish and reaffirm the legislative process.”
But their real raison d’etre is they’re getting tired of what they describe as Lt. Gov. Reeves’ iron-fisted control over anything they do and the lack of access to his inner circle of Senate leadership (known affectionately around the Capitol as the “Tater Tots”).
Now, dissension in Senate GOP ranks started brewing long before, when Reeves took office. He sidelined a handful of up-and-coming Republican lawmakers because they supported his primary opponent, former Sen. Billy Hewes III, R-Gulfport, or because they were Bryant loyalists. They were put in “time out,” as some have joked, stripped of any true leadership positions. Some thought it would be temporary punishment, but it continues now into a second year.
But the number of discontented appears to have grown. Some GOP lawmakers complain they have less input, clout and access on decisions than some Democrats in the Republican 31-20 majority Senate.