Six Republican leaders on the Coast have endorsed the Republican in the race for Southern District seat on the Public Service Commission.
The endorsements come in response to a former GOP state chairman's endorsement of Democrat Tom Blanton in his race against Republican Sam Britton.
"Republicans on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are united in our support of the GOP nominee for Southern District Public Service Commissioner, Sam Britton," the six said in an emailed statement. "While we appreciate the lifetime of service Clarke Reed has given to our party, his recent endorsement of liberal Democrat Thomas Blanton is troubling.
"When Clarke was chairman of the MSGOP more than 40 years ago, he took positions at odds with the Gulf Coast community, including opposing Trent Lott. Now he wants to tell us who to vote for in the Public Service Commission race -- but he doesn't even live in the district."
The email was signed by Denise Doyle, Jackson County Republican Club president; Sherri Bevis, Mississippi Federation of Republican Women third vice president, Harrison County; Frank Genzer, chairman of the Harrison County Republican Executive Committee; Joe Cloyd, Jackson County Republican Executive Committee; Jeanne Luckey, Republican national committeewoman for Mississippi; and Nell Frisbie of the Hancock County Republican Executive Committee.
They made no mention of Mike Retzer, a member of the state Central Committee and former ambassador to Tanzania under President George W. Bush, who also endorsed Blanton last week.
The Southern District seat opened up when Steven Renfroe chose not to run. He'd been appointed to the PSC to replace Leonard Bentz, who resigned to become the head of the Southern Mississippi Planning & Development District.
Mississippi Power Co.'s Kemper power plant has figured prominently in the race.
"The state Republican leadership seems dug in to the proposition that the ratepayers should pay the $6 billion cost of the Kemper Plant," said Reed, of Greenville, when he endorsed Blanton. Britton also opposes having taxpayers cover the cost of cost overruns due to mistakes made by the utility in the construction of the plant, which is behind schedule and far over budget.