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State first, party and president second

The six Republicans hoping to replace Gregg Harper in the U.S. House expressed loyalty to President Donald Trump at a recent forum. That should not surprise anyone.

President Trump is incredibly popular in Mississippi, and any Republican who hopes to win a primary will support him. But that does not mean they agree with every policy he pushes.

At a Republican forum in Starkville, Whit Hughes of Madison and Perry Parker of Seminary criticized Trump’s position on tariffs.

“China is our second biggest import partner on soybeans,” Hughes said. “If tariffs and a trade war end up impacting that dynamic, I promise you there are growers in South America who will step in and fill that void.”

Parker said China’s practice of “stealing our technology” demands a U.S. response, but he does not favor Mississippi farmers bearing the weight of that conflict, The Associated Press reported.

“These tariffs can absolutely negatively affect the people of the 3rd District and the whole state,” Parker said.

Of the candidates at the forum, including Brookhaven’s Sally Doty, Michael Guest of Brandon, Katherine Tate of Jackson and Morgan Dunn of Magee, only Tate fully supported Trump’s tariffs.

“These trade wars are necessary,” Tate said. “They’re going to be good for Mississippi in the long run.”

At least some of the candidates, Doty included, are willing to buck Trump on some things.

All six candidates were supportive of Trump’s border wall, but there was a difference of opinion on immigration. In the end, their policies will not differ much from Trump’s.

But the 3rd District needs someone who will put Mississippi above the party and the president. It’s nice to know there are some candidates with the potential to do that.