Voters to Decide Democratic Nominee for State Auditor

By: Jon Kalahar Email
By: Jon Kalahar Email

Stacy Pickering won the Republican nomination for Mississippi state auditor. But on the Democratic side, Todd Brand of Bailey, Miss., and Mike Sumrall face each other in a runoff Tuesday.

Now a controversial new commercial has heated things up as voters prepare to go to the polls.

The commercial accuses Sumrall's supporters of lying to black voters in the state, claiming to be a member of the NAACP and black. So far though, Sumrall said he hasn't heard the phone message left with voters.

"I've asked him, have you got a copy of the phone call? I'd like to hear it. No copy of the phone call to me," Sumrall said.

Sumrall says the Aug. 7 Democratic primary was a good clean race, with all three candidates running on their record. He led the primary but didn't get enough votes to win outright. That's when he said his opponent changed strategy. The ads started popping up late last week and over the weekend.

"This is just a tactic to muddy the water, try to confuse people in the last hours before the election," Sumrall said.

In the commercial, Brand says he never accuses Sumrall of actually making those phone calls. He just wants to find out who did. But Brand says he has signed affidavits from voters who says they received phone calls from Sumrall supporters.

Sumrall says Brand has yet to share those affidavits with him. But one good thing has come of all this "negative" publicity in Sumrall's mind. His limited budget could never have bought this kind of name recognition.

"Stacy Pickering has the name recognition," said Sumrall. "Now in the last three weeks, it's been my name in the paper. So people around the state know me now as much as they know Stacy."

Sumrall said, win or lose, he feels he ran a good campaign.

Brand was campaigning in Starkville on Monday.

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