Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann speaks with members of the media during a press conference inside of his office at the State Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Monday, March 14, 2022. One of the issues discussed during the press conference was the Post Partum Bill, Senate Bill 2033, which died last Wednesday. Credit: Eric Shelton/Mississippi Today

Donald Trump has not offered an endorsement in Mississippi’s Republican primary for lieutenant governor, but one of the candidates did have a recent fundraiser in what is essentially the former president’s home.

Incumbent Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, who is being accused of being a closet Democrat by opponent Chris McDaniel, held a fundraiser earlier this month at the Mar-a-Lago resort, which is one of Trump’s more well-known properties and is also the property he now calls home.

In addition, Mar-a-Lago is the property raided by the FBI reportedly because of the former president’s alleged unwillingness to return classified documents.

In a statement to Mississippi Today, Casey Phillips, senior adviser to the Hosemann campaign, said, “Lt. Gov. Hosemann supports President Trump because his policies created higher wages, a growing economy, new jobs, low inflation, and a more secure border.  We were happy to be invited to host a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago back in December and it turned out to be a great event.”

An invitation circulated on social media for the April 5 Mar-a-Lago Club fundraiser at Palm Beach, Florida, lists all members of Mississippi’s Republican congressional delegation on a host committee, though, sources say none actually attended the event. The invitation highlighted a photo of Hosemann and of the new state flag that in 2020 replaced the flag that contained the Confederate battle emblem in its design.

Hosemann supported the flag change. McDaniel opposed the change, saying it should be decided by popular vote.

Hosemann was photographed at the event being endorsed by George Colella of the Born to Ride for 45, which is a pro Trump motorcycle group. A Confederate battle flag is displayed on Colella’s biker vest.

On social media, Colella posted, “Born to Ride for 45 proudly endorses Lt. Gov. Hosemann. He has an amazing track record and (is) an asset to state of Mississippi.”

McDaniel, a conservative state senator from Jones County, unsuccessfully sought Trump’s endorsement in 2018 when he challenged U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who the then-president did endorse.

A pre-president Trump did voice support for McDaniel in his 2014 U.S. Senate race against Thad Cochran.

“Chris McDaniel looks like he will win in Mississippi – great news and victory for Tea Party,” Trump proclaimed on social media.

McDaniel, of course, did lead Cochran in the Republican primary in 2014, but did not garner the majority needed to avoid a runoff. In the runoff, Cochran defeated McDaniel.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Take our 2023 reader survey

Bobby Harrison, Mississippi Today’s senior capitol reporter, covers politics, government and the Mississippi State Legislature. He also writes a weekly news analysis which is co-published in newspapers statewide. A native of Laurel, Bobby joined our team June 2018 after working for the North Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo since 1984. He is president of the Mississippi Capitol Press Corps Association and works with the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute to organize press luncheons. Bobby has a bachelor's in American Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi and has received multiple awards from the Mississippi Press Association, including the Bill Minor Best Investigative/In-depth Reporting and Best Commentary Column.