Thank you to everyone who supported me during this campaign. When I started on this path last April I never expected to have so many people from different walks of life get behind my bid to unseat Gene Taylor. The people I met and the stories I heard from numerous voters painted a picture of a district desperately in need of a representative who puts the US Constitution above himself, the federal government and his party. While we achieved our goal of unseating Gene Taylor, unfortunately I was not the victor in this race. There are numerous reasons for this, but I’ll only go through a few of them.
First, I didn’t have the name recognition of Taylor or Palazzo. This is obviously due to the fact that I had never run for any public office before.
Second, we didn’t have widespread media coverage, and zero coverage or mention at a national level. This is a problem many third-party candidates face but I would say that we encountered it more than most. I would like to thank the Hattiesburg American, Vancleave Link, Picayune Item, Wayne County News, WDAM, and WLOX for their coverage of me during the campaign. It wasn’t near the same level as Taylor or Palazzo received but all of these news outlets treated me with fairness and respect. They deserve some kudos for actually treating me like the serious candidate that I was.
The Associated Press mentioned me twice during the entire campaign, despite repeated calls and emails from our campaign stating that they were required to at least mention that I was one of the candidates on the ballot when discussing all of the candidates in the race. In fact in one piece they mentioned the Reform Party candidate Anna Revies by name but still left me out of the article. We received assurances from the New Orleans bureau chief that he would make sure the political writers in Jackson knew they were supposed to mention me in all stories from that point forward, however it seemed like his assurances went unheeded in Jackson.
We were also expressly denied access to the debate between Taylor and Palazzo on WKFK and WBUV in Pascagoula. My campaign manager and I spoke with the GMs of both stations and were essentially told that they didn’t even know I was on the ballot because they didn’t see any mention of me in the news. All of the 195,594 voters deserved to hear a principled conservative libertarian viewpoint during the debate, but were denied that by the management of both stations. The GM of WKFK TV-7 offered to do a video interview with me that would air on their Wednesday program, however all three interview times fell on the Thursday prior to Election Day or later, so the offer was clearly just a token gesture because the interview wouldn’t even have aired until after the election was over.
When concerned voters contacted the stations to find out why I was being left out of the debate they proceeded to drag my name through the mud by stating that they had offered to do an interview with me but that I had refused to do the interview, neglecting to mention the token gesture that it was. I believed then and still believe now that both stations owe me and my supporters an apology for the way they treated me. We didn’t call them names, file lawsuits, boycott them, or spread lies, and yet they apparently felt that essentially calling me a coward and a liar was an appropriate response.
Lastly, we had campaign contributions but not enough to break the $5,000 FEC minimum reporting guidelines. Unfortunately campaigns in this era cost a ridiculous sum of money and the FEC report data shows a candidate has received “$0” until they send their first contribution report. To voters this appears as if the candidate has actually raised no money whatsoever when in reality they could have raised $4,999 and no one would ever know.
I say all that to make this point: third-party candidates can in fact win higher office in Mississippi however it takes a lot more effort than most are able to put into it. I would have loved to have been able to campaign full-time however I have a family and had to work full-time just to provide for them. I was always going to put my family first above this campaign because I knew that winning this election would mean nothing if I basically abandoned my family in the process.
To the people of South Mississippi (particularly the Tea Party and 912 Project voters who supported Palazzo): you have an obligation to hold Palazzo under the microscope for the next 2 years. Scrutinize everything vote, every speech, every endorsement. If Palazzo doesn’t match his actions with his campaign rhetoric of limited government and a return to the US Constitution, then everyone has the responsibility to elect someone else to replace him. The MS GOP will most assuredly make the claim that Palazzo hasn’t had enough time in Washington to really get anything done and that we need to give him a free pass for his first term. Resist the urge to believe such claims, because if you don’t then they will continue to make new excuses every 2 years until Palazzo is old and gray.
To my supporters and the MS Libertarian Party: thank you so much for everything you did to support me. The efforts by Danny Bedwell, Richard Burke, Corey Adkison, Lavelle Collins, Sharon Howard, my mom Joan, and my wife Maggie (among the numerous others that I’m forgetting right now) made this campaign worth the time and money spent to offer South Mississippians a better alternative to Gene Taylor.
As for my plans going forward I have thought long and hard over the decision to run in 2012, and prayed even more. As of right now I do not intend to run for Mississippi’s 4th Congressional seat in 2012. Barring a huge scandal by Palazzo or his staff once he heads to DC, it will be very difficult to unseat him in 2012. My little girl Avah is almost 3 months old, I’ve been married to Maggie for almost a year and a half, and both of them need me right now instead of letting me run all over the 4th district stumping for votes. As during the campaign, I have to put my family above any political aspirations.
This doesn’t mean that I won’t ever run for public office in the future, in fact I’ll probably run for something much closer to home in one of the upcoming election cycles. I know that I’m only getting started in the world of Mississippi politics so the sky is still the limit. I will continue to speak at events around the district and spread the message of liberty, freedom, and constitutional governance, but as a student of the Constitution instead of as a Congressional candidate.
Continuing to fight to let freedom ring,