Candidates for Attorney General Square Off

By: Mike McDaniel
By: Mike McDaniel

In about a month, either incumbent Democrat Jim Hood or Republican challenger Steve Simpson will become the state's elected leader in all things legal.

The two candidates faced off against each other Monday.

"I have fought my entire adult life to make my community and my state a safer place," said Simpson.

"I act on the facts of the law and not partnership," Hood said.

Both men bring years of legal experience to the table. Hood was first elected to the position in 2003 and is currently the only Democrat elected to a statewide office.

Before getting in the race for attorney general, Simpson resigned as commissioner for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

One area of division is whether Mississippi should join in with other states in fighting the federal health care reform law known as Obamacare.

Hood says the Supreme Court will have to change the law and doesn't want Mississippi to bear any of the legal cost, while Simpson attacked Hood saying fighting against it would send a message to the nation.

"It's not about let's save some money," said Simpson. "It's about doing your job and representing the will of Mississippians who don't want it, can't afford it and oppose it."

"I'm going to use and concentrate my time on something we can have an impact on, not some political partisan issue out here that the federal government is going to have to deal with," said Hood.

Those impacts, Hood says, are clear from his time in office.

"My career has been based upon fighting for those who can't fight for themselves," Hood said.

Monday's forum was the first meeting of the two candidates, and most likely, will be the only one. Simpson is challenging Hood to public debates, but Hood says his record stands on its own.

From the state's Cyber Crime and Domestic Violence units to fighting scams and BP, Hood says voters already know what he's about. Meanwhile, Simpson says he has a record, too, but a debate would better serve voters.

"Would you hire a lawyer without ever having a chance to interview him?" asked Simpson. "Neither should Mississippians."

"The media is the best way, I think, to get the message out about what the issues are," said Hood.

If you haven't already done so, the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 8 general election is 12 noon, Saturday, Oct. 8.

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