MS Republicans: Rift will not be long term

GULFPORT, MS (AP/WLOX) - Republicans across the state will await a judge's decision on Chris McDaniel's court challenge that he in fact won the GOP nomination for US Senate. Some GOP members said with just a little more than two months left until the election, there is usually a lot more excitement and campaigning going on right about now.

The deciding judge in McDaniel's case said he intends to reach a verdict before the November general election. For some Republicans, that ruling can't come soon enough.

"It hurts Mississippi as a state. It hurts for other people to see what's going on in the state of Mississippi," said Republican Ann Stewart. "It hurts voters. It cost the state money that we don't need and I'm all ready for it to be over with."

At the Harrison County Republican Club meeting in Gulfport on Wednesday, the looming November general election was on many minds. Some GOP members said because of distractions their party's campaign for US Senate has yet to take off full steam.

Club President Pete Wilson said, "I think there's some inertia that's built up. There's some enthusiasm that's definitely lacking with a lot of people."

"I think we'll get over that. I think as the election day gets closer people will realize that we have a candidate that we need to support and we have a philosophy we need to stand behind," said Wilson.

Howie Morgan, a Republican political consultant said, "Every campaign wants to get their message out and has a duty and responsibility to tell the voters why they should elect that person. So when the campaign has things that get in its way, they don't have an opportunity to make that message, so timing is very important."

Still Republicans said after the court rules, the shared beliefs of the party will bring Republicans together.

"The important things that we really stand for," said Al Hopkins of the Harrison County Republican Executive Committee. "I think people on both sides of this issue in the Republican party understand those important things. I think they believe them. I think when the races are over, the fight is over, they will still be strong in those areas. That means we'll be together."

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