By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – U.S. Rep. Travis Childers told supporters Monday that North Mississippi voters will have a clear choice for Congress when they vote Nov. 2.
“You’ll have someone who has been an independent voice in Washington,” he said about himself.
“Or you will have someone who has turned his back on school teachers and school children – someone who has not supported the mentally ill every time he had an opportunity to help them,” Childers said in taking a jab at his Republican opponent, state Sen. Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo, chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
The comments were directed to about 75 supporters at a fundraiser for Childers, who faces his first re-election challenge and earlier in the day was endorsed by the National Rifle Association.
“No one, especially Alan Nunnelee, is going to outwork Travis Childers in this campaign,” he told the gathering hosted by the state’s top elected Democrats.
Nunnelee spokesperson Morgan Baldwin later responded that Childers is “undoubtedly a little nervous” about running against his GOP challenger.
“It seems a little unusual for a sitting congressman to be attacking his opponent,” Baldwin said.
Childers, a former Prentiss County chancery clerk, was introduced to The Summit Conference Center crowd by Brandon Presley of Nettleton, North Mississippi’s public service commissioner.
“He’s done a great job,” Presley said. “He’s supported his district and he’s stood up for us and our values.”
Mike Smith of DeSoto County said he likes what he sees in Childers. He said he’s ready to help him gather voters.
Car tags in the parking lot showed event attendees from Lee, Panola, Tishomingo, Monroe, Prentiss, Itawamba and other counties throughout the 24-county district.
Childers was elected twice in 2008 – first in a special election and then for a two-year term in the general election. He replaced Roger Wicker of Tupelo, who was appointed to fill a U.S. Senate vacancy created by the retirement of Trent Lott.
In addition to Nunnelee, Childers will face seven independents and non-mainstream party candidates on Nov. 2.
The NRA endorsement was delivered by Howie Morgan of Oxford, who said the organization’s choice was clear. “Travis Childers has a proven record of achievement and for the right to keep and bear arms,” Morgan said.
Childers, who also has introduced legislation to loosen gun laws in the District of Columbia, said he was “honored” by the NRA’s A-plus rating and endorsement.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.