Charles Dunagin: A few things to ponder

By CHARLES DUNAGIN GUEST COLUMNIST,

Two or three unrelated questions that cause me to wonder:

When will the Mississippi governor’s race get down and dirty?

When will the limited supply of insurance I keep getting offered through robocalls on my cell phone run out? And why doesn’t that supposedly “no call” register seem to be working? More on this later.

First the governor’s race: Maybe there’s some stuff going on behind the scenes I don’t know about, but the primary races so far have been without mudslinging compared to past elections where there were competitive candidates.

The absence of negative advertising will change after the August primaries, especially if Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Attorney General Jim Hood face off as the Republican and Democratic nominees.

Reeves, who has more campaign cash to spend than all the other candidates in both parties combined, is already going negative on Hood.

He’s billing himself as the governor who will “fight everyday” to maintain “Mississippi values.” Those values, although they obviously include anti-abortion and pro-Second Amendment rights, also could be open to interpretation in the eye of the constituent.

Reeves and his allies remind voters that Hood has the same party label as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the national Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, while Reeves is a Donald Trump man.

But Reeves is mostly ignoring his opponents in the Republican primary, former State Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller Jr. and State Rep. Robert Foster.

He has twice declined invitations to debate them, although he has agreed to one in July.

Speaking to supporters at the opening of a field office in Tupelo last week, Reeves did acknowledge his  Republican opposition:

“We’ve got two other people running as Republicans and they’re good people who have served our state well,” he was quoted in the Tupelo newspaper. “You won’t  hear me say anything negative about them.”

That’s smart on Reeves’ part, and no one ever said he’s dumb. Why alienate the Waller and Foster voters who will be needed in the general election, especially if you expect to win in the first primary?

Of course that could change if Waller and Foster get enough votes to force a run off in a second primary.

Waller, who seems to be more of a threat to Reeves in the primary than Foster, has been positive in his campaign, especially compared to the successful one his father ran for governor in 1971.

Bill Waller Sr., in the Democratic primary that year, ran against what he called “the Capitol Street gang,” defeating then Lt. Gov. Charles Sullivan, who had been favored to win, in a second primary.

So far, Waller Jr. has not used that script, although he has claimed to be “the conservative Republican who can win in November,” suggesting, at least by implication, that Reeves can’t because of negative ratings the lieutenant governor has in popularity polls.

If  Hood, as expected, wins the Democratic nomination, and faces Reeves in the general election, you can expect some far more negative advertising aimed at the lieutenant governor.

Something to write down about Mississippi politics is there are a number of people  who would rather vote against than for  something or someone.

On the robocalls, I was glad to read that a new state law, going into effect July 1, is supposed to give more protection to Mississippians from telemarketing solicitations.

The law, as I understand it, is mainly aimed at so-called charities that scam people.

I don’t need protection from telephone scammers, because I never agree to send anyone money because of a telephone call.

But I would like to stop getting those robocalls from people trying to sell me extended warranties on my automobiles, one of which I don’t now own, and health insurance.

The car warranty calls actually have slacked off. But recently I’ve received calls from numbers from such unlikely places like Mize, Lexington, Liberty, Crosby, as well as larger cities like Meridian, Jackson, McComb and Oxford, peddling insurance.

It doesn’t seem to do much good to “block” the contacts because the same recording shows up from another phone number.

My phone is listed on the national no-call registry which these telemarketers obviously have found a way around.

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