Baria: MS needs new Insurance Commissioner, but I'm not running - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Baria: MS needs new Insurance Commissioner, but I'm not running

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) -

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - State Senator David Baria of Bay St. Louis said Monday that he wants to set the record straight concerning a rumor that he's running for higher office.

"While I believe Mississippi needs a new Insurance Commissioner, I will not be opposing him [Mike Chaney] in 2011. I'll be running for re-election to the Mississippi Senate," Baria said in a statement to the media. "But, how this story materialized says a whole lot about Mike Chaney."

Insurance Commissioner Chaney was quoted in a Clarion-Ledger article saying he thought Baria was planning to run against him in 2011. 

Baria explained, "Recently I was at a social function with Commissioner Chaney and Senator Billy Hewes. The two of them were joking with each other and both of them were kidding me about rumors that I would be running for Lt. Governor and for Insurance Commissioner. When I assured both of them that I would be seeking re-election to the Senate, they both expressed concern (again, in a joking fashion) because, as they said, they had used my possible candidacy as an aid in their fundraising. So, I jokingly said, "Okay Mike, if it'll help your campaign, I will tell people that I'm running against you." We all laughed and I didn't think another thing about it. Turns out, I should have been more concerned."

Baria said he never could have imagined that something he said in a joking fashion would end up in a serious newspaper article.

"I am deeply disappointed in the Commissioner for his statements just as I am disappointed he would not return my phone call yesterday to discuss this matter," Baria wrote Monday. "While Mr. Chaney may find it helpful and amusing to use my name to help raise money from insurance companies for his campaign, he should not have misrepresented my comments about what my future plans may be."

Baria is a past President of the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association, and was a high profile figure during tort reform discussions at the State Capitol several years ago.

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