The MSGOP put this image on social media.
The MSGOP put this image on social media.

U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel declared himself a child of the Reagan Revolution last week at The Neshoba County Fair, but voted Democrat in 2003 and got it wrong where the former President spoke on the Fairgrounds in 1980.

A day earlier, Democrat U.S. House candidate Michael Ted Evans of Preston said he “ain't ever seen Mexicans carrying a college degree come across the border,” earning a sharp rebuke from Gov. Phil Bryant on Thursday in the third day of political speaking at the Pavilion, especially when Evans said that if the people of Mississippi want their hotel rooms cleaned, they will need immigrants to do it.

Bryant called out the hypocrisy of the media in failing to acknowledge Evans’ prejudiced remarks.

“The media said that was the best speech at the Neshoba County Fair,” Bryant said. “They bragged about it, said it is colorful. That he really shucked the corn. Let me tell you, ladies and gentleman. If I or any other Republican had made such an offensive remark, it would have been on the front pages.”

He went on to further illustrate how deep the double standard went in his eyes.

“CNN would have had a trailer out front trying to interview me the next day,” Bryant said. “They would have been hollering and calling for me to resign from office. It is that double standard that lights the fires in the hearts of conservatives.”

Bryant delivered his speech in front of a packed Pavilion filled with supports of most every candidate speaking that day. The loudest — or most obnoxious — depending on who one asked, was Chris McDaniel, his mob of supporters and his accent. “Was it Scottish?” a man from the Coast asked.

McDaniel brought in outside and vocal supporters who not only cheered when he spoke but yelled and hollered at incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith while she was at the podium. Hyde-Smith remained stoic throughout her speech and called out the disruptions.

“You know, they are easy to recognize,” Hyde-Smith said as she was once again interrupted during her speech by the tea-party crowd.

Hyde-Smith touted her record and said she had been a conservative all her life, despite at one point being a Democrat in the Mississippi Senate.  

Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith, the second-term state Agriculture Commissioner, to succeed longtime Sen. Thad Cochran, who retired in April. Hyde-Smith served 11 years as a Democrat in the state Senate and switched to the GOP in late 2010 before launching her first statewide race for ag commissioner in 2011.

While McDaniel identified as a child of the Reagan Revolution, he voted in the Democrat Primary in Jones County in 2003 when Haley R. Barbour was running for governor.

McDaniel said his father stood with Reagan at the Pavilion, yet Reagan spoke at the Grandstand to an overflowing crowd.

McDaniel told Fairgoers he’s running to challenge the Republican establishment. “You can’t serve Mitch McConnell and serve the people of Mississippi,” McDaniel said.

The two Republicans in that race wholly ignored Democrat Mike Espy in their special election for the U.S. Senate seat.

Espy said during his speech he would work across party lines, if elected.

“Together, we can build a better Mississippi,” Espy said. “But leaders must make up their minds based on the needs of people — not just doing what somebody else tells them to do.”

Social media blew up briefly when Espy’s speech was not broadcast by local radio stations WHOC-AM and WWSL-FM, accusing the station of racism. Espy eventually issued a statement that he did not pay for the time. The radio station charges candidates and does not broadcast candidates who don’t pay.

Bryant gave the Senator a resounding endorsement and applauded her for the job she has done since her appointed her.

“I am darn glad to say I appointed a United States senator that is a rancher and not a lawyer,” Bryant said. “She is going to do a helluva job for the people of the State of Mississippi in Washington D.C., and I will be right there with her.”

Special election candidates run without party labels in Mississippi. If nobody receives a majority in the four-way race Nov. 6, the top two candidates would advance to a Nov. 27 runoff.