Mississippi Today to publish three-part series on the Mississippi Democratic Party

By Adam Ganucheau | May 26, 2020

Democrats in Mississippi will long remember the night of Nov. 5, 2019.

That night, Republicans swept all eight statewide elections for the first time in the state’s modern political history.

Four-term Attorney General Jim Hood, who was considered the Democratic Party’s best shot at the Governor’s Mansion in at least 16 years, lost by five points to Republican Tate Reeves that night, even as Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Louisiana and Kentucky won their elections.

Lynn Fitch, the former state treasurer, became the state’s first Republican attorney general since Reconstruction. Democrats lost majority control of the three-member Public Service Commission, and they lost even more ground in the Legislature.

As recently as three terms ago, Democrats had real influence at the state level. The party had recently held statewide seats and enjoyed majorities in both chambers of the Legislature: 75-47 in the House, and 28-24 in the Senate. Today, 12 years later, Republicans have flipped the script, owning every statewide office and holding a supermajority in both legislative chambers: 74-44 in the House, and 36-16 in the Senate.

Beginning the evening following the 2019 general election, Mississippi Today interviewed more than six dozen prominent Democrats about the past, present and future of the Mississippi Democratic Party.

These sources include current and former party leaders; current and former elected officials at the federal, state and local levels; major donors from both inside and outside the state; political operatives both from Mississippi and who were brought here to work for campaigns; engaged volunteers of the party; and average voters who follow politics closely.

Based on those interviews, Mississippi Today published a three-part series about the Mississippi Democratic Party.

Part one illustrates how dysfunction and disorganization within the Mississippi Democratic Party led to the historic 2019 loss. Part two illustrates how a political identity crisis within the party is harming candidates up and down ticket. Part three illustrates how the party’s leadership has failed to support and devote resources to black Mississippians, who make up at least 70 percent of the party’s voting base.

At the conclusion of the series, Mississippi Today published a Q&A with current Democratic Party Chairman Bobby Moak.

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Adam Ganucheau, as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief, oversees the newsroom and works with the editorial team to fulfill our mission of producing high-quality journalism in the public interest. Adam has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for AL.com, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adam earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi.