As the sun faded over Mississippi Nov. 3, election eve, Former Gov. Musgrove and members of his staff were completing an Eight-City Blitz around the state, echoing a need for change in Washington.
The Musgrove for United States Senate campaign literally took to the air Monday, flying around the state. During his 12:30 p.m. touch down in Jackson, he held a press conference at Hawkins Field in which The Mississippi Link was invited.
Asked about his initial reaction to his opponent Sen. Roger Wicker’s ad which stated he refused to call presidential candidate’s Barack Obama’s name during the Mississippi U.S. Senate debate, this is what Musgrove told the editor of The Mississippi Link:
“Once again there have been so many things that have been said to try to throw people off. Anyone who knows me know that I am more conservative than Sen. Barack Obama, but on the other hand, everyone knows that we need change in Washington so badly. And, I believe that he has the best opportunity to bring that change about, and that’s why I am supporting him.” [The crowd bursts into applause.]
Musgrove pointed out that misleading people is part of what some do in a campaign. “But what I have done is I have talked about the things that matters to people, and that is we need to change Washington and make it work for all of us again,” he added.
The eight-city “fly around” included Olive Branch, Greenville, Jackson, Hattiesburg, Gulfport, Meridian, Columbus and Tupelo with a “Get Out the Vote” emphasis.
Among the Jackson crowd of supporters were Ronnie Shows, Rep. Alyce Clarke, former Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson, Jr., Mississippi Association of Education’s (MAE) Frank Yates and others.
“The former Gov. Musgrove has been called the ‘friend of education’ as well as the ‘Governor for Education’ of Mississippi, and he made a lot of things possible for the children of this state,” said Yates. “He made sure there were computers in every classroom. He provided, while he was in the Mississippi Legislature, funding for schools to build construction, classroom supplies and money for teachers.” Yates said he supports Musgrove totally because of his history with education in Mississippi.
Rep. Clarke said she is asking voters to go out and vote for Musgrove, because she has had the opportunity to work with Musgrove for a number of years, and she has found him to be a “very fair person – a person who wants to work for the people of Mississippi, and a person you can depend on to do the right thing.”
Both Clarke and Yates said they are not familiar with the things Musgrove’s opponent Wicker says he had done for the African American community in one of his recent ads.
“I would ask him to show me the things that he has actually done,” Clarke said. “You know when he says he has done things for Jackson State, Alcorn and Mississippi Valley, I’ve not been able to find those things. Until someone can show me those things, I can’t believe it.”
Ryan Annison of the Wicker camp provided “highlights of some of the money Senators [Thad] Cochran and Wicker got just this year alone”:
• $600,000 for Jackson State’s Lynch Street Corridor Redevelopment.
• $500,000 for Health Research at Jackson State
• $150,000 for Automated Identification Program at Mississippi Valley State
• $300,000 for Tougaloo’s Center of Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility
• $250,000 for Curriculum Improvement for Alcorn
• $606,000 for Agricultural Research at Alcorn
• $600,000 for Research Systems Institute at Alcorn.
“We feel that what Gov. Musgrove calls pork barrel spending is bringing federal dollars to Mississippi,” stated Annison. “We think it is something to be proud of.” A major achievement Annison noted is $4.9 dollars for minority health disparity that Wicker helped to secure.
Just before this posting, the Musgrove’s camp reacted to the above with this statement:
“Roger Wicker has put the Republican Party first and Mississippi last. He
has voted with George Bush 97 percent of the time and has voted against the SCHIP
program that provides health care for children, voted against tax cuts and
tax credits for middle and low income families and supported privatizing
Social Security by putting it in the Wall Street stock market.
Ronnie Musgrove expanded the SCHIP program, wants trade deals that keep and
create jobs in Mississippi, and helped push through the Ayers settlement
that gave $503 million to the state’s historically black colleges.”
Reports have indicated that is a significant increase in new voters this year. Candidates urged voters to be prepared and knows their rights. The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Long lines and possible confusion can be expected. However, voters who encounter trouble should call (888) 601-VOTE. It’s a toll-free hotline coordinated by Protect the Vote.
Voters are reminded and cautioned that stickers, buttons, t-shirts or any materials with a candidate’s name are not allowed to in polling places. They are also urged not to leave without voting. If voters show up and wait in line, they have the right to cast a ballot.