Wicker to skip Neshoba County Fair political speeches

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Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, speaks about the importance of this year’s mid-term federal election for the GOP, during a media sit-down in Ridgeland, Miss., Tuesday, May 1, 2018. 

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, facing re-election this November, will be visiting the Neshoba County Fair later this month in Philadelphia, but he is not scheduled to speak.

Wicker, a Tupelo Republican, is slated to be at the fair the weekend before the political speeches, when he will be shaking hands and likely going door-to-door to meet with the fairgoers who reside in the cabins that dot the fairgrounds.

Rick VanMeter, Wicker’s communications director, said “between votes (in Washington, D.C.,) and his committee obligations, it did not work for his schedule to speak this year.”

The annual political speakings, scheduled for July 31 to August 2, attract most statewide officeholders and people campaigning for those offices attracts statewide media coverage and attention from political observers throughout the state.

This year the annual event is particularly interesting because of the unusual circumstance of having two U.S. Senate elections on the ballot this November. In addition to the regularly scheduled election, there will be a special election to replace long-time Sen. Thad Cochran who retired in March because of health issues.

Wicker’s Democratic opponent, state Rep. David Baria of Bay St. Louis, is scheduled to speak at 9:40 a.m. on Aug. 2.

The candidates in the special election, Republicans Cindy Hyde-Smith and state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, and Democrat Mike Espy are all slated to speak on Aug. 2.

Hyde-Smith was tabbed by Gov. Phi Bryant to be the interim replacement. Espy is a former U.S. House member and also served as agriculture secretary in the Clinton administration.

In the special election, all candidates will be on the same ballot on the same day as the regularly scheduled Nov. 6 general election.

In addion to the federal elections that will be on the ballot this November, people probably will be paying close attention to the potential leading candidates for governor – Attorney General Jim Hood on the Democratic side and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves on the Republican side. Hood and Reeves will speak Aug. 1 under the tin-roofed Founders Square Pavilion. The gubernatorial contest, as well as elections for other state offices, will be in 2019.

Hood is slated to speak at 10:20 a.m. followed by outgoing U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, a Rankin County Republican, then followed by Reeves.

A complete schedule of the political speakings can be found at http://www.neshobacountyfair.org/politics/.