A wild campaign finally winds down

A woman in the audience listens at a rally Friday.
A woman in the audience listens at a rally Friday. AP

A black church burned in the Delta. Someone spray-painted “Vote Trump” on its side.

Some Donald Trump supporters speculated it was a plot by the opposition to make their candidate look bad.

White nationalist and former Klansman David Duke debated at historically black Dillard University in New Orleans. The scene quickly turned ugly. Duke had to be escorted from the building surrounded by law enforcement officers.

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann felt obligated to come to the Coast to assure voters the Russians couldn’t steal their votes.

“A guide to not getting arrested when you use your cell phone on Election Day,” read a headline in the Huffington Post.

And Trump suddenly calmed down and didn’t lob any of the incendiary remarks that had become the hallmark of his stump speeches.

The race tightened.

And that was just the last week before Tuesday’s election. Voters were already trying to decrypt a cryptic letter from the head of the FBI alluding to an investigation into emails that may or may not involve Hillary Clinton.

That issues-oriented campaign voters have always longed for? As the Cubs used to say, “Wait till next year.”

And many people are openly afraid the election won’t in fact be over Tuesday even if a winner is declared.

This question was posed on Facebook: Anyone going to be sad to see this election season end Tuesday?

The answers ranged from the usual social media gallows to a few people who seem genuinely worried. Their responses trended toward “I’m terrified.”

Some just sad

“The sadness that I feel comes not from the end of this season of tragi-comedy, but from a realization that the rest of this country has regressed to Mississippi,” wrote Biloxi attorney Billy Miller. “I’ve lived here all my life so I’m nearly inured to ignorance, but now I see the spread of know-nothingness has nearly covered America. That is what makes me sad, my friend. I’m living in a world where Donald Trump is taken seriously and may well win the election.”

Clearly, he is not on the same side as Gov. Phil Bryant, who was campaigning for Trump late into the week.

“Our country simply cannot afford another four years of the failed and reckless policies of Barack Obama, which is exactly what we will get if Hillary Clinton is elected,” the governor wrote in an email asking for donations. “We must ensure that undecided voters get the facts and are not hoodwinked by the liberal mainstream media”.

For the record: Republican Donald Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton, Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Jill Stein are on the ballot. Trump is the heavy favorite in Mississippi.

Congressional race

There’s also a congressional race. Incumbent Republican Steven Palazzo has taken some heat from two challengers —Libertarian Ric McCluskey and Democrat Mark Gladney. McCluskey started it by accusing Palazzo of being AWOL from the Mississippi National Guard, a charge Palazzo denied through a spokeswoman. Reform candidate Shawn O’Hara, who says he’s running his 50th race, has been silent on the matter.

Gladney, who retired as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army, has been criticizing Palazzo for refusing to debate and basically avoiding the people of his district.

“He’s offered no solutions,” he said. “And people are now tired of that.”

The latest move, though, came from state Rep. David Baria, the head of the Democratic caucus in Jackson who isn’t on the ballot, when he asked for an investigation into Palazzo’s service. Baria had yet to receive a response Friday afternoon.

“What do you expect from a liberal Democrat who’s supporting his liberal Democratic buddy?” Palazzo told reporters at an event at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula. “The National Guard is on record as saying Sgt. Palazzo has met his service obligations.”

Other than that encounter with the media, Palazzo for the most part has stuck to conservative talk radio to make his extended case that he had made it to all his required Guard drills. And to bash the media, particularly the “liberal news agency” on the Coast.

Paul Hampton: 228-896-2330, @JPaulHampton

List of candidates

In Jackson, Harrison and Hancock counties

For United States President and Vice President

Presidential electors for Hillary Clinton for president and Tim Kaine for vice president — Democrat

Presidential electors for Donald J. Trump for president and Michael R. Pence for vice president — Republican

Presidential electors for Darrell Castle for president and Scott N. Bradley for vice president — Constitution

Presidential electors for Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente for president and Michael Steinberg for vice president — American Delta

Presidential electors for Jim Hedges for president and Bill Hayes for vice president — Prohibition

Presidential electors for Gary Johnson for president and Bill Weld for vice president — Libertarian

Presidential electors for Jill Stein for president and Ajamu Baraka for vice president — Green

For U.S. House of Representatives, 4th Congressional District

Mark Gladney, Democrat

Steven Palazzo, Republican

Richard Blake McCluskey, Libertarian

Shawn O’Hara, Reform

Nonpartisan Judicial Election

For Supreme Court Justice, Supreme Court District 2 (Southern), Position 2

Dawn H. Beam

Michael T. Shareef

Nonpartisan Judicial Election

For Court of Appeals, District 4, Position 2

David Ishee

Harrison County

Election Commissioner District 1

Toni Jo Kuljis-Diaz, Republican

Election Commissioner District 2

Becky Peterson Payne, Republican

Election Commissioner District 3

Barbara Kimball, Republican

Election Commissioner District 4

Christene F. Brice, Democrat

Election Commissioner District 5

Carolyn Handler, Republican

Kerry Ryan, Democrat

Pass Christian Separate School District Board of Trustees District 1

Walter J. “Skip” King, independent

School Board District 1

Rena Wiggins, nonpartisan

School Board District 2

Tom Daniels, nonpartisan

Jackson County

Election Commissioner District 1

Danny Glaskox, Republican

Artis R. Burney, independent

Election Commissioner District 2

Jerry R. Sims, Democrat

Election Commissioner District 3

Debbie Loris Hodges, Republican

Election Commissioner District 4

Michael M. Dickinson, Republican

Election Commissioner District 5

Tamara L. Vidrine, Republican

School District OSAT School Board Member

Eric G. Camp

School District MPAT School Board Member

Barbara Duma Marshall

Hancock County

Election Commissioner District 1

Stephanie Davis Ladner, nonpartisan

Election Commissioner District 2

Sandra “Sam” Henley, nonpartisan

Election Commissioner District 3

Gary T. Gilmore, nonpartisan

William “Bill” Rappold, nonpartisan

Election Commissioner District 4

Caroline M. Adam, nonpartisan

Election Commissioner District 5

Joseph Pettigrew, nonpartisan

School District 1 School Board

Richard “Shoe” Loper Jr., nonpartisan

School District 2 School Board

Tammy Ladner Garber, nonpartisan