Hosemann Walks Neshoba with Cindy Hyde-Smith, McDaniel Digs into Outside Track

Neshoba Co., Miss. (Daily Journal) – A slate of weekend campaign stops highlighted the factions surrounding the two Republican lieutenant governor candidates, even as both continue to aim sharp, personal attacks against each other.

Sen. Chris McDaniel appeared in a fellow legislator’s home district and spoke in support of a primary challenger. Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann made the rounds at the Neshoba County Fair with sitting U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, whom McDaniel unsuccessfully challenged in 2018.

McDaniel insisted he was “not backing away” from a series of provocative allegations against Hosemann, including claims Hosemann was involved in an abortion clinic in Jackson and secretly conspired to draw Madison County into a new circuit court district. Hosemann denies both claims and repeated his dismissal of McDaniel as a “pathological liar” with few legislative achievements.

In Guntown Saturday evening, McDaniel addressed a political forum alongside allies Lauren Smith, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Chad McMahan in the District 6 Republican primary, and Rep. Chris Brown, who is running for northern district public service commissioner in the Republican primary against Tanner Newman.

McDaniel called Smith an “up-and-coming star” and praised Brown as “one of the best legislators I ever had the privilege to know.”

The event, organized by local propane company owner Daniel Hines, drew about two dozen people to Five County Sportsman Club. McDaniel pitched himself as a hardline conservative and criticized the current Republican leadership for not delivering enough with its trifecta control of state government. In the senate, he said, “[w]e outnumber those people 36 to 16. We should be passing everything you’ve ever dreamt of.”

McDaniel accused Hosemann of working behind the scenes in the lieutenant governor’s role controlling the state senate to sabotage McDaniel, expand Medicaid and prevent the income tax elimination.

Although speaking in Lee County, McDaniel waded into messy Madison County local politics and repeated an unproven allegation he has made in campaign speeches in recent weeks, claiming Hosemann met secretly with Madison supervisors to plot splitting the county from the judicial district it currently shares with Rankin County.

“He got caught, and he reversed course,” McDaniel said. Hosemann has repeatedly denied the claim and publicly committed to keeping the current judicial district.

McDaniel also reiterated his claims, recycled from attacks by Hosemann’s opponent in a 1998 Congressional race, that Hosemann was an executive officer for a women’s health clinic in Jackson that performed abortions. Although the clinic’s director previously stated Hosemann was not in fact affiliated with the clinic by the time it began performing abortions, McDaniel said he does not believe him.

Speaking to the Daily Journal on Sunday as he visited Neshoba County Fair cabins with Sen. Hyde-Smith, Hosemann echoed a statement from social media last week and called McDaniel a “pathological liar. He makes up stuff.”

Hosemann frames himself as experienced and realistic about state policy. He criticized McDaniel for a lack of legislative accomplishments and pointed out McDaniel has not passed a law in eight years.

“When I first ran as a Republican, he was nine years old,” he said. “You know, you would hope in those years he would have learned something, but apparently not.”

He noted he appointed McDaniel chairman of the senate’s Environmental Protection, Conservation and Water Resources Committee. He claimed despite municipalities facing federal court orders due to issues like pollution in the Pearl River and a shrinking water table in the Delta, McDaniel took no action.

“The only thing I regret about my Republican committee appointments is Chris McDaniel,” he said.

Reached for comment Sunday evening, McDaniel said he is unable to pass legislation because senate leaders refuse to let his bills out of committee for a full vote of the senate. He highlighted past accomplishments such as a 2011 Nathan’s law increasing penalties for traffic infractions near school buses and a 2013 law affirming student prayer rights.

Records show the 2013 legislative session was the last time McDaniel was the principal author for any successful substantive legislation.

McDaniel described Hosemann calling him a pathological liar as “classic psychological projection. He hasn’t told the truth in four years.”

View Original Story (July 24, 2023)