What do the Neshoba County Fair political speeches signal about what’s ahead for the hottest races?

Published: Jul. 28, 2023 at 8:52 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - We’ve been showing you highlights of the political speeches at the Neshoba County Fair this week.

Now, let’s get past the talking points and look at what they may reveal about the direction of two of the hottest races.

With time running out before the August 8 primary, you won’t see Chris McDaniel and Delbert Hosemann square off in a debate. So, we asked Mississippi College political science professor Dr. Glenn Antizzo what he thinks the Neshoba County Fair speeches say about the direction of the race.

“McDaniel is always been a sort of a flame thrower fighter,” said Antizzo. “I sort of expected the fiery rhetoric for him. That’s sort of his MO. Hosemann’s been surprising me, especially given some of the jabs that he took that were very personal at McDaniel.”

But he thinks much of that was designed to be red meat for the fair crowd.

“McDaniel was exactly what you would have expected,” noted Antizzo. “Somebody who is positioning himself as fighting for the soul of the Republican Party. Hosemann, by contrast, you know, hit on his accomplishments... sort of framed himself as the conservative alternative to a more radical, in his opinion, Chris McDaniel, and believes that he is the practical person that is going to be able to get things done.”

And then there was the preview of the expected match-up of Tate Reeves versus Brandon Presley in November.

“I think you definitely now see the battle plan for both sides,” added Antizzo.

Antizzo has some take-aways about those plans.

“Presley is positioning himself as not just a moderate Democrat, but almost a moderate Republican. He hit on a lot of populous themes... he’s sort of emphasizing his small town values,” Antizzo said.

And Antizzo noticed that much of his platform mirrors traditional Republican themes. While Reeves is working to align Presley with national Democrats, he makes this note about Reeves’ campaign:

“He’s got, you know, a good record to stand on,” he said. “But he seems like he’s really leading with the culture war stuff. And I think that he thinks that will rally people to the cause, because those are hot button issues right now that are getting a lot of press.”

Again, the party primaries will be held August 8. And general election day is November 7.

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