Democratic nominee for AG questions party unity, prompting Jim Hood to respond

Updated: Sep. 23, 2019 at 7:56 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Democratic nominee for Attorney General Jennifer Riley Collins raises questions about support within her own party ahead of the November general election.

She first commented on this in a social media post last week:

“ASK YOURSELF WHY,” the post began.

"Given my credentials and experience, I wonder why the Democratic nominee for Governor and current Attorney General appears to be working to get my Republican opponent elected?

The Attorney General, the attorney for all the people of Mississippi, is the only statewide office currently held by a Democrat. The office of Attorney General touches all facets of our life and community including protecting our seniors and our children from bad actors and protecting the voting and civil rights of all Mississippians. Historically, the position has been held by a seasoned and experienced litigator not a bureaucrat. The position is too important to sit on the sidelines because of pre-existing relationships and a friendship.

On more than one occasion, I’ve been asked why are you running? I am running to make a difference. I am running to make sure the women, children, elderly, other abled, those who live and love authentically are protected. I am running on purpose "for the people".

I’ve spent my entire career protecting and serving. I am a decorated military veteran, an experienced litigator, a civil rights attorney, a legislative advocate and an African American woman. I have the skills and experience necessary to do the job. I am not a career politician. I think it is a question all citizens should ask and something they deserve to know. I urge General Hood to reconsider his lack of support for my campaign. I am running to serve the people not special interest.

Share your thoughts."

***ASK YOURSELF WHY*** Given my credentials and experience, I wonder why the Democratic nominee for Governor and...

Posted by Jennifer for AG on Thursday, September 19, 2019

Jennifer Riley Collins is drumming up questions about support from the top down on the Democratic ticket.

“We are stronger together," said Riley-Collins. "Again, this is the strongest Democratic ticket but it’s based on the experience that’s on the ticket. So, again, as I’m supportive of General Hood, it would be my hope that General Hood would be supportive of all the candidates on the ticket in line with the rule.”

The rule Riley-Collins is referencing is this:

AG candidate questions if all candidates on the Democratic ticket are following the party's rule.
AG candidate questions if all candidates on the Democratic ticket are following the party's rule.(MS Democratic Party)

It’s a section of the Democratic party constitution specific to the certification of candidates. That section references pledging to support candidacy of all party nominees at all levels running in the same general election.

“The voters have expressed concern and I think the voters deserve an answer,” noted Riley-Collins.

And Monday, Jim Hood answered.

I met with the directors of every division in the Attorney General’s Office last week to prepare for the transition to the next attorney general, whoever that may be. I asked them to draft memos addressing the duties of each of their divisions so that the next attorney general will be well prepared. I hold my staff in the highest regard, and have great respect for the institution. I don’t want any actions of mine to reflect negatively on them or affect their futures. That’s why I’m focused solely on my own race for governor. My dad gave me an important piece of advice the first time I ran for office in 1995: 'Work hard in your own race and stay out of everybody else’s." I plan to stick by that advice during this election.

Jim Hood

“Regardless of who claims they’re endorsing whom or supporting whom whether they’re asked that point blank or not, they are tied into those candidates that share the same party label,” explained Millsaps Department of Government and Politics Chair Dr. Nathan Shrader.

Riley-Collins noted a concern for Hood running a bi-partisan race. But Shrader makes this note:

“The math alone, there’s just not enough votes for a Democratic candidate to win outright here without turning out all the Democrats. Essentially that they can, but supplementing those Democratic votes with some votes either from down the line independents or some of your more moderate Republicans.”

The general election will be held on November 5th.

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