By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Outgoing Farm Bureau President David Waide of West Point will announce Monday whether he will be a candidate for statewide political office next year.
Waide will make the announcement during the annual meeting of the organization he has headed since 1996.
The Clay County farmer had said earlier that he would make the announcement at the meeting, and Farm Bureau spokesman Greg Gibson said earlier this week that remains Waide’s plan.
Political observers have been speculating for months that Waide would run for statewide office in 2011. He raised his profile earlier this year by sponsoring an initiative that would prohibit the taking of private property for the use of another private entity. The initiative will be on the ballot next year.
Speculation about his candidacy has centered on the open posts of governor, lieutenant governor or agriculture commissioner.
Haley Barbour is constitutionally prohibited from seeking a third term as governor. Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to pursue the gubernatorial post while Treasurer Tate Reeves and Senate President Pro Tem Billy Hewes of Gulfport, both Republicans, are likely candidates to replace Bryant.
Potential treasurer candidates are Lynn Fitch, executive director of the state Personnel Board; state Sen. Lee Yancey of Brandon; and Colby Lane, Barbour’s chief counsel. All are Republicans.
Incumbent Agriculture Commissioner Lester Spell, a Republican, is retiring. State Rep. Dannie Reed, R-Ackerman, already has indicated his intention to run for the ag post. Reportedly, state Sens. Cindy Hyde-Smith, D-Brookhaven, and Perry Lee, R-Mendenhall, are considering a run to replace Spell.
Many believe Waide would be a formidable candidate for any statewide office.
The Farm Bureau boasts more than 200,000 family memberships throughout the state and provides support to agriculture interests.
Vying to replace Waide as president of the group are Brad Bean, an Amite County dairy farmer, Randy Knight, a Rankin County dairy farmer, and Ken Middleton, a Washington County row crop farmer.
The election will be held Monday during the annual meeting in Jackson. The winner will assume the office that day.