BY JANE CLARK SUMMERS
Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
CORINTH – Northeast Mississippi voters will decide who will serve as governor for the next four years, Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Jim Herring predicted Thursday at a Rotary Club address in Corinth.
“Whoever wins in Northeast Mississippi will be the governor,” Herring said. “It is the battleground area of this state. If the Republicans establish dominance in Northeast Mississippi this year, we will win.”
Herring, who has served as head of the state party for three years, said his analysis of state elections four years ago showed Republican Mike Parker could have won the governor's race if the party had worked harder to get the voters out.
“My conclusion was that we had let our candidate down,” Herring said. “We weren't hungry enough. We didn't want it bad enough.”
While the party wants to return the governor's mansion to the Republicans, Herring said they are not overlooking the legislative races.
“Without the support of the Legislature, the governor is not going to succeed,” he said.
The numbers are turning more positive for Republicans but need to grow, he said.
Three years ago, there were 86 Democrats, 33 Republicans and three independents in the House of Representatives. Now there are 81 Democrats, 38 Republicans, and three independents.
The Republican Party hopes for a modest increase to 42 Republicans in the House so the party can sustain a possible Republican governor's veto, Herring said.
On the Senate side, the numbers have also increased since the last elections, from 18 to 23 Republicans, three votes short of parity with the Democrats which currently number 29. The goal in the Senate is to reach parity, Herring said.
Four years ago, the Republicans ran 80 candidates for House seats. This year there are 122 candidates in House races. On the Senate side, the numbers have grown from 35 candidates in the last election to 56 this year.