Second day of political speeches at the Neshoba County Fair


And they’re off to the races…. that is, the political candidates at this year’s Neshoba County Fair. Organizers are expecting upwards of 15,000 people to watch Wednesday and Thursday’s speeches.

Each candidate has ten minutes to tell a packed crowd at the Pavilion why they are the right person for the job. In some cases, they might use the opportunity to say why their opponent isn’t the person for the job.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney poses with a supporter
Campaigns compete to see who can come up with the most memorable gear

Speeches at Neshoba have been known to make or break a candidate’s chances of winning. Anything can happen, from the crowd literally throwing flip flops (over stances on taxes) to a sitting Governor threatening to whip his opponents…well, backside. While some may go for the diplomatic approach, stump speeches lend themselves to colorful anecdotes, disparaging comparisons and a firebrand’s approach to the memorable.

Lt. Governor candidates

Lt. Governor candidate Shane Quick hit ahem, quickly on the topics of flood control and health care. According to Quick, he spent ten years in the healthcare industry on the cardiovascular side before a health issue forced him to leave. He now works in agriculture.

“I’m more of a sharecropper, I work for my rent,” said Quick. He hit his points quickly finishing well ahead of the ten minutes allotted each candidate.

State Representative Jay Hughes from Oxford approached the podium next. The democrat from Oxford touched on healthcare, retaining talent in the state and teacher pay. Hughes mentioned campaign 101 touchstones, faith, family and patriotism, highlighting his experience in the military. At one point the candidate for Lt. Governor made a dig at political cronyism referencing hundreds of thousands spent to hire an outside contractor to place posters in schools for a number of health and safety-related campaigns. But education, is the issue Hughes champions most.

For twelve years, Delbert Hosemann served as Secretary of State, now he’s asking voters for the chance to serve as Lt. Governor. He rifled through a list of accomplishments in office including; $4 billion in monies earned from 16th section lands, making it simpler to incorporate new businesses, a common-sense approach to voter i.d. and making it easier for children with autism to obtain insurance. Hosemann touched on increasing the number of teachers graduating from college and better pay for those in the classroom. He referenced the need to start earlier with funding for pre-K. The former tax attorney placed particular emphasis on the economy, not just Wall Street, but Main Street.

Secretary of State candidates

In the Democratic primary, Maryra Hodges Hurt is running against Johnny Dupree for the slot in November’s general election.

State Representative Michael Watson and State Representative Sam Britton are in a heated contest for the Republican nomination.

By the numbers, at the fair

As the people watching the speeches tapered off, ‘fair people’ went about the important business of sitting on porches, catching up and watching the afternoon talent show. Walt Grayson was in the front row with them.

The talent wasn’t the only performance judged here on Wednesday. Long-time political correspondent Bobby Harrison with Mississippi Today provided WJTV 12’s Byron Brown and Melanie Christopher with a brief breakdown of how the candidates did from the podium.

Well, the political bull may come and go but the pretty cows at Neshoba go on forever….

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