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Shenanigans abound in state office races

There are only nine days left until we can end thefinger-pointing, the relentless mudslinging and the “did and didnots” of the 2003 election season. Mercifully, the politicking willall be over Nov. 4.

There was a time when election campaigns were fun to watch.

Oh, there has always been mudslinging and name-calling. But inelections of the past, it was the creative ways of pointing out thebad without being too negative that made for interesting electionwatching.

Now, the slash and burn strategy of how much damage one caninflict — regardless of the facts — is not conducive of theproper respect our political system needs.

Let’s look at some of the shenanigans of this season:

In the Attorney General’s race, we have both the Republican andDemocrat candidate pointing fingers as to who is more truthful. Isthat dirty politics? There are those who would say, seeing thatboth are attorneys, it’s a fair question.

The race to pick our state’s top law enforcement official hasdegenerated to ‘sign-gate’ where the Jim Hood campaign manager wascaught on videotape removing the yard signs of Scott Newton. TheHood campaign, of course, claims they were set up by the Newtoncampaign.

I am sure every campaign has staff members who sit with videocameras waiting for sign thieves. Then again, the tape shows thesigns being removed by Hood campaign manager Morgan Shands. Hmmm… and one of these guys is going to be our next AttorneyGeneral?

The Lt. Governor’s race has taken Mississippi politics to thelowest of lows. Democratic candidate Barbara Blackmon’s ill-fatedattack on incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck brought out theworst in slash and burn strategy.

Blackmon’s request that Tuck sign an affidavit saying she hadnever had an abortion crossed the line. Tuck has taken off hergloves and opened some eyes as to where Blackmon really stands onissues such a school prayer, crime and pay raises.

Neither are being very ladylike these days.

And then we have the Governor’s race where the gutter politicsis almost as bad with the schoolyard-style finger-pointing and”did, did not” rhetoric.

Considered by some to be leading in the polls, Gov. RonnieMusgrove launched another salvo of attack ads on Haley Barbourrecently, saying the Republican candidate tried to “poison ourkids” through his lobbying efforts for the tobacco industry. Theploy may backfire as retaliatory ads of support from Sen. ThadCochran for Barbour may draw votes of those tired of questionablead script and dirty politics.

Of course, the Barbour campaign has some hand-washing to do toremove the dirt they have been throwing. Republicans who once wereconsidered above the fray can play just has tough and dirty.

Who’s going win the elections?

In the Attorney General’s race, it will come down to who stealsthe most campaign signs. Unless Blackmon drops a political abortionbomb in the next few days, Amy Tuck will come out on top of the Lt.Governor’s race, but not before Blackmon voters make the Governor’srace between Musgrove and Barbour come down the last vote.

Visits by President Bush in DeSoto County this weekend and VicePresident Dick Cheney in Columbus on Monday will again boostBarbour’s support.

Who’s going to be our next governor? Your guess is as good asmine.

Write to Bill Jacobs at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, Miss.,39602, or send e-mail to bjacobs@dailyleader.com.