The Central Mississippi Tea Party has jumped into the racially charged argument over which Senate candidate has the most neo-Confederate friends.
The party takes issue with state GOP Chairman Joe Nosef calling for state Sen. Chris McDaniel to explain why he was listed alongside the Pace Confederate Depot in a flier for a Firearm Freedom Day/Tea Party Music Fest. McDaniel has said he never agreed to appear.
The Tea Party says Sen. Thad Cochran, the man McDaniel is challenging in the GOP primary, has explaining to do about a "laundry list of Confederate associations."
The one that caught my eye was Cochran's support for "Jimmy Carter's racist judicial nominee state circuit judge L.T. Senter. "
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Senter passed away in 2011 at age 77 so he's not here to defend himself. But here's what I know.
He was the Mississippi Bar Foundation’s 2009 Professionalism Award winner for a life, practice and service that display outstanding character and integrity.
But in these parts, he'll be known as the judge who came out of semi-retirement to handle more than 1,400 Katrina insurance cases giving people who lost everything in the storm a day in court. He died a few weeks after he retired after hearing cases for five years.
I searched for hours for some sign that Senter was a racist.
The closest I could come was a short AP story that reads in part:
"Senators opposed to the nomination said they were concerned about testimony and affadavits that Senter had used a racial slur. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., said Senter denied the charges. Cochran said he had practiced before Senter as a lawyer and did not believe he would use such language."
Anita Lee, who covered the Katrina cases, wrote of Senter in 2011: “Senter’s most extraordinary attribute, perhaps, was his humility. The judicial robe he wore for so long never bestowed on him a sense of superiority. He was an affable man with a genuine interest in others, regardless of their station in life.”
She said she interviewed many who knew him and the subject of racism never came up. The allegation, she says, is hard to believe.