A Mississippi state senator and protégé of former Senate Majority Leader C. Trent Lott Sr. talked to Big League Politics about his possible GOP primary challenge to Rep. Steven M. Palazzo for the state’s 4th congressional district.
“One of the core components of who I am is my faith,” said state Sen. Michael D. Watson, a preacher’s son, whose 51st District is in the southern part of the state. “It is a strong part about how I make decisions—I get a peace about it, a good solid peace, then I feel I can move forward—when you don’t have that peace is when you make bad decisions.”
Watson confirmed to BLP that the big decision in front of him right now is whether to take on Palazzo.
The incumbent congressman was elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave, but he has not voted like a member of the Tea Party, but rather like a reliable vote for the House Republican leadership.
During his tenure, Palazzo voted numerous times to increase the debt ceiling, reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, the $305 billion highway pork bill and to prevent the House from holding a vote on the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
A key example of Palazzo’s fealty to the leadership is his vote in favor of the Ryan-Murray budget bill during the lame duck session following the 2014 midterms.
In those midterms, the Republicans won control of the Senate and they were poised to take over in January 2015, but before the GOP took over the Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul D. Ryan Jr. (R.-Wis.) made an unusual two-year budget deal with the outgoing Chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee Sen. Patricia L. Murray (D.-Wash.).
Called the 2013 Bipartisan Budget Act, the act busted the spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act. This deal, which Palazzo supported, not only locked in full funding for Obamacare, Planned Parenthood and Sanctuary Cities, because it was a two-year budget plan, it took the budget and budget votes off the table going into the 2016 election cycle—protecting Democrats and kneecapping GOP challengers.
Watson told BLP that in addition to his prayerful reflection on his decision, the three-term state senator said his visit to Washington was all part of his due diligence.
“It is getting to that point,” he said.
“I am making sure I have all the right information to make the right call,” he said. “Talking to folks in the district, talking to folks up here.”
The state senator said just being in Washington for a few days, it struck him as how prosperous the city has become compared to when he was an intern for Lott in 1999—and compared to what is going on in the rest of the country.
“Just the difference in the amount of construction here,” he said. “There used to be blighted properties here, now it’s all new condos, it’s all new Whole Foods or a Walmart or whatever. It’s exploded.”
Watson said that if he does decide to run for the Senate, he will do it because he wants to give the people of Mississippi a senator looking out for them, not for Washington interests.
Sitting less than a half-mile from the Capitol, the preacher’s son said he sees where other politicians go wrong.
“I think people get up here and they forget,” he said.
“Wait-a-minute, I actually represent people back in south Mississippi,” he said. “I need to answer for my votes. I need the accountability process to work.”
It was Lott, who told Watson after he finished his undergraduate and law degrees from Mississippi State University in 2003 that instead of coming back to Washington to start a career in politics, where he had interned for Lott, he should stay home and get involved in the community.
In 2007, against the advice of Lott, who thought there might be an easier seat to go for, Watson challenged a 16-year incumbent state senator in the GOP primary. That year, he won the general with 78 percent of the vote. In 2011, he was unopposed and in 2015, he won with 83 percent of the vote.
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WATCH: Tim Kaine Smears Corey Stewart For Actually Being Conservative In New Attack Ad
This ad may make conservatives turn out in droves.
It seems that Virginia Democrats are listening to President Trump and not underestimating Corey Stewart in the campaign for U.S. Senate. After Stewart’s win on June 12th, Trump tweeted, “Don’t underestimate Corey, a major chance of winning!”
And Tim Kaine’s campaign seems to agree, launching a brand new attack ad that casts all of Stewart’s conservative credentials. One after another, the ad lists every reason why Republicans in Virginia wanted to see him take on Hillary’s former running mate.
From his staunch support President Trump or for his defense of Confederate monuments, the Kaine campaign hopes to cast Stewart in an untenable light. But they may just drive more conservatives to the polls in November if they aren’t careful.
Watch the ad for yourself and let us know if it makes you like Stewart more than before:
South Dakota Candidate for Attorney General Claims to be Big Shot Prosecutor; Court Says Otherwise
According to audio recordings obtained by Big League Politics, a candidate for South Dakota State Attorney General is significantly embellishing his record as a prosecutor in a State’s Attorney office.
“[I]’ve done civil cases, jury trials, criminal trials, a number of different areas,” said AG candidate Jason Ravnsborg at the Meade County Lincoln Day Dinner in May. “I’m also a prosecutor over in Union County. I’ve done rape cases, attempted murder, and the hardest cases that they have.”
But a quick call to the Union County State’s Attorney Office by an interested citizen tells a different story. Though Ravnsborg has handled plea deals, he has never had a trial in Union County.
The caller spoke Union County Clerk of Courts, Melissa Larsen, and asked about Ravnsborg’s trial history.
Caller: “Can you tell me if Jason Ravnsborg has done any trials in Union County recently as a Volunteer Deputy State’s Attorney?”
Larsen: “Like, a jury trial?”
Larsen: “No, he has not.”
Caller: “Does he appear in court very often there?”
Larsen: “He appears in court on occasion. He’s not here every month.”
Caller: “What type of hearings does he do?”
Larsen: “Whatever the State’s Attorney has appointed him to. I don’t keep track of what he does.”
Caller: “He hasn’t done, like, any attempted murder trials, or rape trials there in the last year?”
Larsen: “We haven’t had any trials with him.”
Big League Politics confirmed with Larsen that Ravnsborg has not conducted any jury trials, but has presided over cases that have pled out.
Ravensborg is a partner at Harmelink, Fox & Ravnsborg, a small private law firm in Yankton, South Dakota. Political observers in the state claim that he ran for U.S. Senate in 2014 at the behest of college friends, former State Legislator Dan Lederman and attorney Joel Arends in order to split the Republican vote and ensure a victory for Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD). Rounds is a Mitch McConnell beholden establishment GOPer who has been described to Big League Politics as “the most corrupt politician in South Dakota.”
Despite his sordid history, Ravnsborg still enjoys support within the South Dakota GOP. He has a close and well-documented relationship with failed congressional candidate Neal Tapio, who came in third in the GOP primary for the U.S. House of Representatives on June 5 for the state’s at large district. According to Ravnsborg’s Facebook profile, Tapio has pledged his support for his AG run:
Politicians embellish their records often. This is not a new practice. But this case is particularly significant considering that Ravnsborg is stretching his experience in the courtroom while running for Attorney General.
Both of Ravnsborg’s opponents have 20 and 30 years of experience as practicing attorneys, repsectively. Ravnsborg’s light workload has allowed him to spend the past three years traveling South Dakota, glad-handing with potential political supporters and cozying up to the State GOP.
Week After U.S. Senate Nomination, Virginia Delegation Silent on Corey Stewart
A full week after Corey Stewart won the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in Virginia, earning the right to take on incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), elected officials at the highest level of the Virginia GOP have failed to announce their support for the candidate.
In fact, they have actively avoided the question, and predictably, Democrats have seized on the opportunity to make them look foolish.
GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock (VA-10) dodged American Bridge’s questions a few days ago:
— American Bridge (@American_Bridge) June 13, 2018
Big League Politics reached out to Comstock personally, and to her office. Neither returned a request for comment.
Alleged Republican Rep. Scott Taylor (VA-02) would not talk either:
— American Bridge (@American_Bridge) June 13, 2018
“Reach out to my office,” Taylor said.
Big League Politics did just that. Timothys Foster, Talyor’s spokesman, did not return our email request for comment.
Republican Rep. Dave Brat failed to express support for Stewart too, though he came close.
— American Bridge (@American_Bridge) June 13, 2018
“Judeo-Christian values, that’s what I’m running on,” said Brat. “I’ll support anyone who shares those values.”
Brat did not respond to Big League Politics’ request for comment either.
Stewart was embroiled in controversy during his primary run after the neo-liberal website Daily Wire ran a dishonest hit piece on him, claiming that he was an anti-Semite. There is no proof to support the allegation, other than Stewart’s support for Paul Nehlan, who made anti-semitic remarks. At the time of the questionable comments, Nehlan had the support of most of the GOP. He has since wholly denounced by the Stewart and the rest of the party.
For their part, the Republican Party of Virginia expressed support for Stewart via Twitter. When Stewart appeared on CNN for an interview with host Chris Cuomo, the liberal anchor tried to peg Stewart as a racist. Stewart replied by pointing out that Cuomo’s family has long been tied to anti-Semitism.
.@ChrisCuomo Oh and your brother, again NY GOV, publicly made fun of Jews like two months ago but, according to you, there is totally no racism or Antisemitism on the left side of the isle correct? https://t.co/kznowavkKK
— Virginia GOP (RPV) (@VA_GOP) June 14, 2018
Former RPV executive Shaun Kenney denounced the party’s support.
“It’s not just eccentric, it’s offensive,” he said. “In a previous era, had a member of RPV staff issued comments like that, I would have fired them on the spot.”
The morally superior virtue-signaling will get the Virginia GOP nowhere. Making false allegations of racism is a decades-old strategy used by Democrats against Republicans. They make the same claims against nearly every GOP candidate running for an important office.
But the establishment GOP, no matter how many times the Democrats have played the race card, still have not figured out the left’s tricks.
It is time to stand with Corey Stewart. Anything less is de facto support for Hillary Clinton sycophant Kaine, a hard-leftist who has failed Virginians in his tenure as a Senator.
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