By Bobby Harrison/Daily Journal
None of the 1st Congressional District is in Neshoba County, but that isn’t stopping its U.S. House candidates from speaking at the famous fairgrounds near Philadelphia.
State Sen. Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo, the Republican nominee in the 1st District, will speak at the Neshoba County Fair on Wednesday afternoon. Nunnelee will be followed under the tin-roofed pavilion by five minor party candidates for the 1st District post, which covers much of north Mississippi.
With Congress still in session in Washington, Democratic incumbent Travis Childers is not scheduled to speak at the fair.
Congressional candidates from other districts also will appear during the annual two days of political speakings at Mississippi’s premier political event. Neshoba County is located in the 3rd District.
“It is hard to confine the fair to just the 3rd District,” said Marty Wiseman, director of the Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University.
Wiseman said the statewide media that will be at the fair – including newspapers, television, bloggers and social media users – make the fair an attractive venue for candidates outside the 3rd District.
It does not hurt, from Nunnelee’s point of view, that the fair is viewed as a Republican-friendly venue.
“It should be a good opportunity for Nunnelee and there will be people there from the 1st District,” Wiseman said. “As far as independent votes, I don’t know if it is worth that much.”
So far, no incumbent congressman, including Republican Gregg Harper of the 3rd District, is scheduled to speak this year at the fair. Harper’s Democratic opponent, Joel Gill, is scheduled to speak.
All of the statewide elected officials are expected to speak.
The most attention may be focused on Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. He is the only statewide elected official who has not let his intentions for the 2011 elections be known.
Some think Hosemann might challenge Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant in the Republican primary for governor.
Gulf Coast businessmen Dave Dennis, a Republican, and Bill Luckett of Clarksdale, a Democrat, cannot speak this year under fair rules.