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VOL. 126 | NO. 148 | Monday, August 1, 2011

Lesser-Known Miss. Gov Candidates Offer Platforms

EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS | Associated Press

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Democratic and Republican primaries this coming Tuesday will narrow the field of candidates for Mississippi governor.

Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant of Brandon and commercial building contractor Dave Dennis of Pass Christian are spending the most in the five-person race for the Republican nomination, while Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree and Clarksdale businessman and attorney Bill Luckett are grabbing the most attention on the Democratic side.

The other candidates in each gubernatorial primary have — to varying degrees — spent the last several months traveling the state and conveying their ideas to voters.

Primary runoffs, if necessary, will be Aug. 23.

An independent candidate, William Oatis, will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot for governor, and competing factions of the Reform Party want to put a candidate in the race. The state Board of Election Commissioners could consider the Reform dispute after the major-party primaries are decided.

Here's a look at three of the Republicans and two of the Democrats running for governor:

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Republican Hudson Holliday, 66, of Poplarville, is a Pearl River County supervisor and retired major general of the Mississippi Army National Guard. He said he has started 10 businesses in construction, timber, farming, and home building. He said he owns a wetlands mitigation bank and has served as a law enforcement volunteer.

Holliday said he's running for governor for many of the same reasons he ran for supervisor — because he believes he can offer leadership and reduce bureaucracy. He has put more than $500,000 of his own money into his campaign, finance reports show.

"I understand how government helps you. I understand how government gets in your way," Holliday said.

He said the state should concentrate on making sure children develop strong reading and math skills in kindergarten through third grade so they'll have a strong academic base as they get older.

"We're graduating kids out of high school who literally cannot read or write. We're not doing them a favor," Holliday said. "We've got teachers who have to provide their own paper and pencils and glue. The theory is out there by most people that the administrations are top heavy. They're not efficient. Money alone is not the solution, but cutting the budget with a meat ax is not the solution either."

He said Mississippi needs to fix its own self-image to move off the bottom of national rankings for education, health and other quality-of-life issues.

"It keeps people from wanting to come here," Holliday said. "It keeps people from wanting to bring their businesses here."

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Republican Ron Williams, 52, of Moss Point, owns and operates a Hazmat Services Inc., a company that cleans up hazardous messes. He was a ship captain in the U.S. Merchant Marine. Like Holliday, he is running a mostly self-funded campaign. A report filed in early July showed Williams had spent $597,338.

"I'm running for governor because for the last eight years in our state we've had a situation to where we've had an elite group of special interests who have basically controlled the state and the working men and women of our state have been ignored and denied, small businesses in our state have been ignored and denied," Williams said. "We're wasting money all over the state."

Williams said he believes lobbyists have too much power at the state Capitol.

"They're making money off of you being poor," Williams told the audience during a debate last week. "They're making money off of you not having a job."

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Republican James Broadwater, 47, of Byram is an ordained Baptist minister and former employee of the state Department of Revenue. He and his wife own a Christian tae kwon do studio. His latest finance report shows he has spent $1,644 on his campaign this year.

Broadwater ran unsuccessfully for Mississippi's 2nd District U.S. House seat in 2004, a state House seat in 2007 and the 3rd District U.S. House seat in 2008, each time as a Republican. Broadwater is founder of the Byram Tea Party.

Broadwater said if he's elected governor, he wants to sign an executive order to ban all abortion — a move that might have little legal impact unless the U.S. Supreme Court overturns a 1973 ruling that established a nationwide, constitutional right to abortion. Broadwater said he wants to eliminate most taxes in Mississippi except the sales tax.

During a debate last week, Broadwater said he wants to privatize education, issue school vouchers and "put the Holy Bible back into every school in the state."

Broadwater has also said he would use the National Guard, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, SWAT teams and other law enforcement units to make sure people from other countries are not living and working illegally in Mississippi.

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Democrat William Bond Compton Jr., 59, of Meridian, is a Meridian High School history teacher. He ran a low-budget campaign for governor in 2007, getting 11.7 percent of the vote in a four-person Democratic primary. His July 11 finance report showed he has spent $300 on this year's campaign.

Compton said he's running this year because he wants to fight corruption.

"We're losing about half a billion dollars a year through corruption, and it's through the old-boy system," Compton said. "Our Legislature passes laws, but they do not give the enforcement agencies the money to enforce them. So consequently, it's just a giveaway."

Compton also said he would pardon all nonviolent drug offenders and release others who are in the prison system on multiple felony convictions. He said Mississippi incarcerates too many people."

"Most people down South are raised Christian and taught to forgive," he said. "That is not a system that has any forgiveness."

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Democrat Guy Dale Shaw, 74, of Coffeeville served 36 years as Yalobusha County tax assessor, retiring in 2000.

During a candidates' forum at Mississippi State University in April, Shaw described himself as a "clod-hopping country boy" and called the state budget a "wooly booger." He said that if he's governor, he'll hire bright young people to help him run the state.

Shaw pledged to reduce car tag prices and get half-price gasoline for Mississippi residents. His idea is to revamp the tax rolls and make it easier for companies to drill for oil. He claimed this would increase state revenues, and that he'd make sure residents get a price break on the Mississippi oil that's refined into gasoline.

The latest finance report shows Shaw has spent $9,380 on his campaign this year.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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