Senate Race Goes National

By: Jon Kalahar Email
By: Jon Kalahar Email

Over the last two weeks, the race to fill former Sen. Trent Lott's seat in the U.S. Senate has gone national.

National political groups have released commercials in Mississippi that dispute the record of former governor Ronnie Musgrove. But who can voters believe?

The Wicker for Senate campaign filed an official complaint this week with the Federal Elections Commission concerning an ad. Paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Wicker says the ad exceeded the spending limit by over $100,000.

The National Republican Senatorial Campaign soon released an ad saying Musgrove put Mississippi in a financial hole, raised taxes, and spent too much.

This war over the airwaves has both candidates accusing the other of negative campaigning.

"Yes, it seems at every turn, whether it be in print, on the radio, or on TV, they have been negative in the campaign and to me that tells me it's a floundering campaign," said Musgrove.

"Frankly, I had expected Governor Musgrove to get negative at some point and it seems that campaigns sort of spiral into negativity sooner rather than later. I don't think people like that," said Wicker.

Who can voters believe? By law, the state budget has to be balanced each year. In 2001 when Musgrove was governor, the state legislature created the budget contingency fund. And according to senior state economist Marianne Hill, that fund was used to transfer millions of dollars from several state agencies to help fill shortfalls in the budget.

Still, the candidates know issues, not commercials will win the campaign.

"I'm happy to discuss my record as a member of the House for 13 years," said Wicker. "My record of accomplishment in the House and now the Senate."

"I think we need someone who is fiscally responsible in Washington, that's gong to cut down some of the outlandish spending that has really hurt our economy," Musgrove said.

Musgrove and Wicker are expected to be at the Neshoba County Fair next week, but will not debate each other there.

Both campaigns are working to set a time and place for a debate in the near future.

If the Mississippi Senate special election were held today, who would get your vote?


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  • by John Location: Harding on Jul 24, 2008 at 05:27 AM
    A tax and spend democrat? Are you kidding? Musgrove is the most fiscally conservative democrat this state has ever seen. When almost every state in the country had budget problems in 2002 and 2003 (because of the national recession) Musgrove managed to keep the state’s budget balanced by cutting spending- NOT raising taxes. Questioning his fiscal conservatism while at the same time voting for Wicker- who backs more pork than any other Congressman in America- means either you are just woefully uninformed or willfully ignorant.
  • by Mickey on Jul 23, 2008 at 08:10 PM
    I have met Ronnie Musgrove, a tax and spend Democrat, before. On a personal level, he was engaging and likeable. But from the job he did as governor, no way do I want him anywhere near my wallet. The state was in a well-documented financial mess when he was finally booted out. No way does this state want or need him in Washington, or any other public office! Let him teach, do standup comedy, be a tour guide, whatever. But nothing where financial management is required.
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