McComb, Miss. (Enterprise Journal) – Six years ago, when President Donald Trump’s administration started asking state election officials to provide detailed information about registered voters, such as birth dates and Social Security numbers, Delbert Hosemann delivered a memorable response.
At the time Hosemann spoke, he was Mississippi’s secretary of state, whose office makes sure that elections are conducted properly.
Hosemann said he had not received such a letter from the Trump administration. But if he got one, he added, “They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great state to launch from.” Under his watch, he said, Mississippi was going to protect the privacy of its voters and run its own elections.
Two years later, voters promoted Hosemann to lieutenant governor, and he is running now for a second term in that job. Hosemann did not endorse Trump in 2017, which makes it all the more interesting to see who has recently jumped into the Gulf of Mexico.
It was Hosemann, and he swam all the way around Florida to Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, where the lieutenant governor hosted a fundraiser two weeks ago.
Hosemann never made an endorsement when Trump won the presidency the year before, so it’s curious that the guy who never seems to forget a slight has appeared to let that one slide.
Also, Hosemann’s opponent in the Republican primary, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, is an unabashed Trump fan. Yet it was Hosemann, painted by McDaniel as a liberal who is out of touch with Mississippi, who got to raise money at Trump’s residence. Maybe Hosemann paid a lot of money for the privilege, but holding the event at Mar-a-Lago had to let some air out of McDaniel’s efforts to tag Hosemann as a left-winger.
To rub it in a little more, an invitation to the fundraiser that made the rounds of social media included a photo of Hosemann and one of the new Mississippi flag. McDaniel opposed the flag change, saying it should have been approved by popular vote, so it is clear that Hosemann is betting that Republican voters have moved on from this particular issue.
In 2014, when McDaniel stunned Republicans by nearly defeating veteran Sen. Thad Cochran, Trump spoke favorably of the challenger. But in 2018, when McDaniel ran for the U.S. Senate a second time, the president instead endorsed Cindy Hyde-Smith, who went on to win the special election.