So it’s come down to this. Who do you hate least in MS-01

This is maybe the first honest, fairly unbiased, article that the Daily Journal has written in quite a while.  Kudos to Patsy, Errol and Emily.  Both Candidates are pretty much Toxic at this point, I hear Davis has a new positive ad up to close which will probably help quite a bit.

Talking about the 1st District race with voters

5/7/2008 4:38:54 AM
Daily Journal

By Patsy Brumfield, Errol Castens & Emily Le Coz
Daily Journal

North Mississippi voters generally like at least one of the two candidates vying for U.S. House of Representatives’ 1st District seat.

But no one in the region will say the same for the increasingly hostile tone of what has become a very tight race.

Whether they’ve closely followed the contest and voted in each election, or whether they’ve just seen an occasional ad and don’t vote, 1st District residents agree the campaigns have been dicey.

“That mudslinging, it’s about time for it to stop,” said Union County resident Roosevelt Wilson. “Discuss the real issues. Discuss the unemployment rate and discuss health care. What are they going to do about that?”

In the May 13 runoff for the U.S. House seat, Wilson will vote for Democrat Travis Childers. And though his political views likely differ from those of Blue Mountain resident Amy Moore – who supports Republican Greg Davis – the two agree that the negative ads are degrading.

“They’re a real turnoff,” Moore said, specifically citing one television spot calling Davis a hypocrite who drives a taxpayer-funded SUV.

Another one aired recently links Childers to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, calling both men liberals who want to raise Social Security taxes.

That one irked Belafonte Gulledge of Holly Springs, who said the spot was actually counterproductive for Davis.

“He didn’t have to go there,” Gulledge said. “Obama has nothing to do with Marshall County or Mississippi at all. That’s going to hurt (Davis), because I’m going to vote for Childers now.”

Again and again, voters from Tippah County to Grenada, from DeSoto County to Lowndes, view the TV commercials, recorded phone calls and mailers that deal with personal issues as “off the subject, beside the point,” “lies” and like “two little boys.”

Most would rather hear about the real issues facing north Mississippi. For Lynn Johnson of West Point and James Wilkerson of Amory, that means the economy, especially gasoline prices. For D.R. Roughrider of Union County, that means discussion of an exit strategy for Iraq. For Goldie Siper of Blue Mountain, it means talking about education and raising the state’s national ranking.

Darrell Bradley, a shop owner in Ecru, said if he could ask the candidates any question it’d be “What in the world could you do to stimulate this economy? And what would you do about health care, because so many people can’t afford it.”

Bradley said he voted for Childers in the most recent election but isn’t sure he’ll support the Booneville native again. The campaign has been so negative on both sides that no one looks good anymore, he said.

That’s not much of a problem for Tippah County resident Brian Gates, who said he’ll vote according to party affiliation in this election, even though he admits both sides have disappointed him with attack ads.

“I typically don’t care about party affiliation and just vote for the person,” Gates said. “But this election is different because it’s a higher level of government. Party affiliation is more important.”

Ditto for Mark Lamb, who said he’ll vote for Davis because he wants more conservatives elected to the U.S. House. The Columbus Diesel Store owner also said he’s for balancing the budget and fewer free programs.

But not everyone is going to vote.

Anne Griffin, Lynn Johnson and James Wilkerson say they have been so busy with their jobs that they haven’t even registered to vote.

Griffin, who owns and operates the new Mississippi Coffeehouse in downtown Columbus, said she’s going to find time to get registered so she can vote in November, but right now she doesn’t have time to follow politics.

Neither does Shirley Jackson of Batesville: “I can’t remember who’s running,” said Jackson, before admitting that high fuel prices and lack of jobs are major issues for her.

Karen Martin and Tammie Warren know who they’re voting for – Childers. Martin, who works for the city of Columbus, says she’s worried about the economy. And Warren, who works at Dollar Mart, and is concerned about health care costs.

Laura Redditt of Grenada will vote for Childers in hopes of ending the war in Iraq. But Thomas McElhaney of Hernando will support Davis, citing domestic issues and personally knowing the man.

“The main issue for me is that we need more Republicans in Congress,” he said. “I hope that’ll keep from having a tax increase and get a hold on this immigration problem.”

James Leister of Oxford also likes Davis because of his stance on Second Amendment rights.

But again, most denounce the heated political TV and radio ads.

“I think their ads are a bunch of lies anyway,” Martin said.

Warren said she feels “overwhelmed” by the sheer volume and tone of the ads. “I feel like they’re hounding me,” she said.

Johnson says he doesn’t think much of the strong advertising either.

“It doesn’t amount to a hill of beans,” he remarked. “I’m old enough to have heard it over and over.”

While he’s likely to vote Republican for president, Johnson said he could easily vote for Childers in November, but he’ll need to get registered first.

Wilkerson, who works two jobs in Amory, said it depends upon the issue as to which party he votes with.

But he plans to get registered to make a choice in November.

“Gas prices and taxes – both need to go down a lot,” Wilkerson observed.

Others had more specific objections to the race.

“I’m a Libertarian, and since there’s not a Libertarian candidate in this race, I have no interest in this race whatsoever,” said Trey Spencer of Southaven.

Many people, however, are holding their noses and picking a candidate.

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