Blackmon carries county & State

State Senator makes history with Democratic lieutenant governor nomination
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – State Sen. Barbara Blackmon, who won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, says she’ll make no adjustments to her campaign as she begins the race against Republican incumbent Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck.

With Tuesday’s win, Blackmon became the first black major party nominee for either of Mississippi’s top two offices.

She garnered 52 percent of the vote while former Supreme Court Justice Jim Roberts had 38 percent, in unofficial primary returns. A third candidate, Troy Brown of Greenwood, got 10 percent with 91 percent of the vote counted.

Blackmon and Tuck, who was unopposed in the Republican primary, will meet in the Nov. 4 general election, marking the first time Mississippi has had a statewide race with two women as major party candidates.

“We do not anticipate changing our strategy because it has been one that resonates with the voters,” Blackmon said Tuesday. “It’s dealing with economic development, health care for our senior citizens and children, affordable prescription drugs and providing sound education for our students within the state.”

Roberts, who was at the Cabot Lodge in Jackson Tuesday night, said he didn’t have any second thoughts about how he ran his campaign, which focused on issues similar to Blackmon’s.

Roberts said his vision for the state included improving education, economic development, health care, public safety and highways.

“I believe what I believe,” Roberts said. This was Roberts’ 10th campaign, and he said he “wouldn’t rule out” running for public office again.

Blackmon, whose latest campaign finance records show she has $7,349 in cash on hand, was confident she would raise enough cash to fund her race against Tuck. Tuck previously reported that through July 10 she had $559,320 cash on hand. “We believe that people of good will around the state and around the nation will support our candidacy because our message is one for the future of the state of Mississippi,” Blackmon said.

Rickey Cole, chairman of the state Democratic Party, said all three of his party’s candidates were qualified to hold the position.

“Our preference is to beat Amy Tuck at all costs,” Cole said of the incumbent, who was elected as a Democrat in 1999 and switched to the Republican Party last year.

“Whichever one of the three gets the most votes will be our nominee, and we’ll be battling right there beside them,” Cole said.

The lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate, assigning members to committees and chairmanships. The lieutenant governor also serves on the influential Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

Blackmon, 47, a lawyer and 12-year veteran of the state Senate, has proposed providing tax breaks to help small businesses. She introduced a plan requiring Mississippi to join other states and buy prescriptions at a bulk rate to save money.

“You have to know and understand the rules to be an effective presiding officer and I have gained quite a bit of experience over the last 12 years on Senate rules and Senate precedence,” Blackmon said.

Roberts, 58, was Mississippi public safety commissioner from 1984-1988. He served on the Supreme Court from 1992 until 1999, when he stepped down and ran unsuccessfully for governor.

Roberts, who has said his experience made him the most qualified candidate, described himself as a mediator who was willing to work with both sides on the tort reform debate.

Brown, 40, is a former university administrator who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1999 and the U.S. Senate in 2000. He now runs a landscaping business.

©The Daily Sentinel Star 2007

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