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Stump stunts

By By Buddy Bynum / editor
Nov. 3, 2002
Stunts have a place in politics. Always have, always will. Last-minute, desperation campaign tactics are expected in every campaign, but they can also backfire.
Or not fire at all, as happened to Ronnie Shows last week.
Stumping in Meridian during the final days of the campaign for Congress, Shows tried desperately to set fire to a piece of campaign literature produced by the Mississippi Republican Party in support of Pickering.
Shows claimed he'd had a bellyful of the Republicans' "distortions" of his record and wasn't going to take it any more.
At first the paper seemed to catch fire, but it wouldn't burn.
On the grounds of the Lauderdale County Courthouse, he finally tore up the Pickering campaign literature with his hands and threw it in a trash barrel.
Think the Republicans sprinkled their campaign literature with some fire retardant material?
The ole college connection
Hooking up sports and politics also makes for a good stunt and Appeals Court judge Jim Brantley, the incumbent in a very competitive race with Meridian native Kenny Griffis, is involved in one of these.
In a letter that carries his signature to graduates of Mississippi State University, Brantley appeals to their collegiate loyalty.
Is this for real?
He goes on:
Now, really.
That doesn't sound too impartial for a judge who's supposed to be, what, impartial?
Is this for real?
No thanks
In South Mississippi, Supreme Court Justice Chuck McRae's penchant for pushing the envelope of respectability is well known. In Louisiana, it might even be appreciated.
Just kidding. Any judge named by Reader's Digest as one of the 10 worst jurists in America probably deserves the title.
But, reportedly, to show his balanced approach to judicial decision-making, McRae turned down campaign contributions from a prominent Gulf Coast trial lawyer, Paul Minor.
Reportedly, McRae wanted to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Too late.
Bonfire, anyone?
As the 2002 campaign trail heads to its final destination the ballot box comes the rumbling that Ronnie Shows won't be finished with politics if he loses to Chip Pickering. Word is that he's interested in running for statewide office next year, possibly for lieutenant governor against Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck.
Yes, next year is a statewide election year and you can bet that politics will start early.
Anyone for a bonfire?
Gentlemanly end
After an appearance on Mississippi ETV Thursday night, Shows and Pickering shook hands and did the gentlemanly thing. They exchanged cell phone numbers so that on election night, when the results are in, one of them can get through with a call to concede. After that, the other will come out with a victory speech.
The Pickering camp will gather at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson to watch the returns and the Shows camp will be at the Cabot Lodge.

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