Moak downplays speculation over Speaker chances

Published 9:26 pm Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mississippi political circles are popping with rumors a locallegislator has his sights set on becoming the next Speaker of theHouse, but District 53 Rep. Bobby Moak brushed all the talk asidewhen questioned about the possibility.

“I hear all of that, but it’s political speculation,” he said.”That kind of talk floats around this Capitol on a daily basis.That’s politics.”

The Bogue Chitto Democrat has drawn attention from politicalcolumnists and radio hosts as a possible candidate for the job in2012, and was recently voted a clear favorite in an online pollhosted by The Magnolia Report, a Mississippi political site.Speculation on his political aims flared in November whenbest-selling author John Grisham raised money for Moak’s politicalaction committee, Believe PAC, signing copies of his new book,”Ford County Stories,” for $1,000 and posing for photos with guestsfor $5,000.

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“Ford County Stories” is dedicated to Moak, who was Grisham’sfriend and roommate at the University of Mississippi.

According to a campaign finance report filed with the MississippiSecretary of State’s office, Moak’s three campaign funds – BelievePAC, Bobby PAC and Bobby Moak Campaign – contain a combined totalof almost $214,000.

Moak said the funds are for his own re-election campaign in theHouse, and for other lawmakers he supports. He’s served as alawmaker for 26 years, and has been chairman of the House GamingCommittee since its inception.

“It takes money to run for office. I’ve been very fortunate to beable to raise money and I usually give most of that away,” Moaksaid. “I try to help folks who have some political courage, whoaren’t afraid of taking stands.”

Moak said he is also uninterested in running for any statewideoffices in 2011.

“If I was going to run for a statewide office, I probably shouldhave run in 2007, which was after Hurricane Katrina when I actuallydid a lot of things dealing with it – public appearances,legislation, a lot of work,” he said. “I passed it up because Ireally felt tied to the House. I just couldn’t desert theHouse.”