Tuesday, June 06, 2006

MS-Blood Feud

While we tapped the Mississippi Democratic Senate primary as our "Key Race of the Moment" (http://blackpolicy.org/black-races.php) with State Senator Erik Fleming facing off today against two opponents for the right to meet incumbent Senator Trent Lott, we could have easily selected the intense primary in Mississippi's second house district.

The red-hot primary between Congressman Bennie Thompson and State Representative Chuck Espy is certainly a race to keep an eye on ( http://blackpolicy.org/black-races.php?s=MS).

The incumbent, age 58, was selected in a special election to replace Mike Espy (Chuck's uncle) when he was named by Bill Clinton as Agriculture Secretary in 1993. Thompson defeated Henry Espy (Chuck's father) in the 1993 election and has held the seat ever since. That incestuous background has given this primary a little extra kick.

Mississippi's second district is one of nation's poorest areas and is the only congressional district that is majority African American in the Magnolia state.

The 31 year old Espy (Chuck) was expected to give Thompson, the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security committee, all he could handle but has lagged behind in fundraising making it that much more difficult to knock off the incumbent.

Thompson sights the importance of seniority in Congress (he will be Chairman of the Homeland Security if the Dems take control in November) and his experience in the process as reasons to be reelected. But he has been hammered by Espy as divisive and for giving up his spot on the House Agriculture committee. The Congressman fires back that during Espy legislative career he missed countless committee meetings and that his anti-abortion stance could impact Congressional direction in the on-going debate.

Another African American, Dorothy Benford a perennial candidate, is also in the primary and another one awaits in the general election. The winner will face GOP nominee Tchula Mayor Yvonne Brown in November.

BP predicts Thompson win


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