Mississippi Republican Party
|Mississippi Republican Party|
|Senate leader||Tate Reeves|
|House leader||Philip Gunn|
|Headquarters||P.O. Box 60,
Jackson, Mississippi 39205
|National affiliation||Republican Party|
|Seats in the Upper House|
|Seats in the Lower House|
|Politics of the United States
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2009)|
The Mississippi Republican Party is the state affiliate of the United States Republican Party. The party chairman is Joe Nosef and is based in Jackson, Mississippi. The original Republican Party of Mississippi was founded following the American Civil War, the current incarnation of the Mississippi Republican Party was founded in 1956. The party would grow in popularity during the 1960s with wedge issues such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and today the party is the majority in the state.
In 1956, Wirt A. Yerger, Jr. founded the modern Mississippi Republican Party and served as the first State Chairman from 1956 until 1966. He was Chairman of the Mississippi Delegation to the Republican National Convention in 1956, 1960 and 1964. He was elected to a four-year term as Chairman of the Southern Association of Republican State Chairman in 1960. In 2009, the Central Committee of the Mississippi Republican Party named Yerger Chairman Emeritus. The Mississippi Republican Party would grow in supporters with the popularity of then President Dwight D. Eisenhower and on September 24, 1960, Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon campaigned in the state, the first time a presidential candidate had appeared in the state in more than a century.2 During the 1964 Republican National Convention Mississippi delegates would help nominate Barry Goldwater for President. Goldwater would go on to win 87 percent of the vote in Mississippi in the 1964 Presidential Election, the first time a Republican would win the state since the Reconstruction Era.3 Only once since 1956 has a non-Republican presidential candidate won the state of Mississippi, Jimmy Carter in the 1976 Presidential Election.4 In 1988, Republican Congressman Trent Lott would defeat Democratic Congressman Wayne Dowdy to replace retiring Senator John Stennis(D-MS).
In 1963, Rubel Phillips became the first Republican nominee for governor in 80 years, challenging then-Lt. Gov. Paul Johnson, Jr. and garnering 38 percent of the vote. Phillips ran again in 1967 against John Bell Williams but lost again, this time earning 29 percent of the vote. In 1991, for the first time in over a century a Republican would become the Governor of Mississippi, when Kirk Fordice would earn 50.8 percent of the popular vote, defeating Democrat Ray Mabus.5 In the 2003 Mississippi Gubernatorial Election, Haley Barbour defeated then incumbent Democrat Ronnie Musgrove with 52.59% of the vote.6 On November 8, 2011, Phil Bryant was elected Governor of Mississippi and will assume office in January 2012.
While Mississippi Republicans take positions on a wide variety of issues, some of the noteworthy ones include:
- Abortion - "Protecting and securing the 'life, liberty, and property' of Mississippians begins first with guarding the life of the unborn child. Our policies should honor the sanctity of innocent human life."7 In November 2011, Governor Haley Barbour voted for Mississippi Initiative 26.8 Initiative #26 would amend the Mississippi Constitution to define the word “person” or “persons”, as those terms are used in Article III of the state constitution, to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.9
- Education - "Our instructors must have the freedom to teach, our students must have the opportunity to learn, and our policies should focus on the classroom – not the boardroom." 10
- Energy policy - The Republican Party believes there needs to be a balance in the use of both renewable and non-renewable energy resources.
- Voting rights - In January 2009, Republican Senator Joseph Filligane put forward Mississippi Initiative 27 which would amend the Mississippi Constitution to require voters to submit a government issued photo identification before being allowed to vote. This initiative passed on November 8, 2011 11
- Private property - Republican Party members supported Mississippi Initiative 31 on the topic of eminent domain. Initiative #31 would amend the Mississippi Constitution to prohibit state and local government from taking private property by eminent domain and then conveying it to other persons or private businesses for a period of 10 years after acquisition.12
- Taxes - The Republican Party believes in cutting taxes.
The Mississippi Republican Party holds seven of the eight statewide offices and holds a majority in the Mississippi Senate. Republicans also hold both of the state's U.S. Senate seats and 3 of the state's 4 U.S. House seats.
- Governor: Phil Bryant
- Lieutenant Governor: Tate Reeves
- Secretary of State: Delbert Hosemann
- State Auditor: Stacey Pickering
- State Treasurer: Tate Reeves
- Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce: Lester Spell
- Commissioner of Insurance: Mike Chaney
- Nash, Jere and Taggert, Andy. Mississippi Politics: The Struggle for Power, 1976-2006. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2006. pp. 41-42
- Nash and Taggert pp. 45-46
- Nash and Taggert pp. 55
- Nash and Taggert pp. 230