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Mississippi: Pickering Will Appear at Ex-Aide’s Fundraiser

Rep. Chip Pickering (R) hasn’t officially endorsed any GOP candidate in the crowded race for the House seat he is vacating at the end of his term, but he is scheduled to appear as a special guest next week at a fundraiser for John Rounsaville, his one-time aide.

The $250-a-head event will take place in Washington, D.C., next Monday and, according to an invitation that went out last week, will feature several prominent Washington lobbyists with Mississippi connections.

After leaving Pickering’s office, where he served as deputy chief of staff, Rounsaville worked as a policy adviser to Gov. Haley Barbour (R). In 2006, he was appointed as a Mississippi state director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Rounsaville resigned that post last fall in order to run for Congress.

Of the eight Republicans in the open-seat race, Rounsaville is one of four frontrunners. The others include state Sen. Charlie Ross, who is being backed by the powerful Club for Growth; wealthy businessman David Landrum; and Rankin County Republican Party Chairman Gregg Harper, who held a fundraiser last month that was attended by one of the state’s biggest political names, former Sen. Trent Lott (R).

Candidates Begin TV Ad Blitz in 1st District Race

Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers on Friday became the first Democratic candidate to hit the airwaves with ads in the race to replace now-Sen. Roger Wicker (R) in the Tupelo-based 1st district.

With the regular primary election set to take place in March and a special election expected to take place in April, Childers joins Republican Glenn McCullough, the former mayor of Tupelo, as the first candidates in their respective parties to purchase airtime in what will be a busy two months for northern Mississippi. Southaven Mayor Greg Davis (R) also began advertising on Friday.

Childers’ ad introduces him to 1st district voters and touts his economic development credentials. Davis’ ad features footage of him reading to his young daughter, while Davis in a voice-over says, “Her future’s being jeopardized by politicians who have abused our tax dollars and failed to secure our borders.”

Childers, McCullough and Davis also are competing in the all-party special election to fill the remainder of Wicker’s term, which hasn’t been scheduled yet. State Rep. Steve Holland is another leading contender in the special election and the regular Democratic primary.

Childers bought airtime on Friday in the Tupelo-area media market in the eastern portion of the district but not for the Memphis-based media market in the western portion of the 1st. However, Childers spokesman Brad Morris said Friday that the ad was only “the tip of the iceberg” and that Childers is on air “and we expect to stay up” through the rest of the campaign.
— John McArdle

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