Barbour Stops in Meridian

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Haley Barbour, who announced Monday he would be a candidate for governor on the Republican ticket, addressed local, legislative and regional issues at a campaign stop in Meridian Tuesday.

"Bob Riley, the governor of Alabama, and I have talked about, along with Sen. Jeff Sessions and Sen. Richard Shelby, to get the money appropriated to build the interstate from Montgomery to I-20/59 up around the Mississippi line," said Barbour. "That's all in Alabama but it would be of great benefit to east Mississippi, to Meridian and the area."

Barbour was asked if he anticipated the state senate might go under Republican control.

"The state senate may very well go Republican, may very well have a Republican majority. If not, it's going to be very close," Barbour said. "But we're seeing huge gains of Republicans at the county level. Look at your courthouse. The sheriff, chancery clerk, circuit clerk, tax collector, tax assessor, are all Republicans."

But he held out little hope of Republican control in the House of Representatives.

"It's split up. I mean what you've got is essentially three blocks that are about the same size," said Barbour. "You've got thirty-plus Republicans. You have 30-plus members of the legislative black caucus and then you've got 40-plus, largely rural but not all rural, white Democrats."

Barbour said if the Republican Party could elect 41 representatives, or about a third of the house, he would consider that to be outstanding.