Lt. Governor Candidates Debate - - Jackson, MS

Decision 2007 07/20/07

Lt. Governor Candidates Debate

By Jon Kalahar

The race for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor is coming right down to the wire.  Both candidates have criss-crossed the state hoping to pick up those last few votes before the August seventh primary.

Today, the candidates spoke at a luncheon in Madison County.

The "pizza and politics" luncheon gave voters a chance to see and hear state auditor Phil Bryant and state senator Charlie Ross up close.  But after hearing responses on a wide range of topics, voters we spoke with say they wish they could vote for both.

The race is expected to be extremely close.

"We've got to secure the border," said Bryant. "We don't need new immigration laws; we need to enforce the laws we have now."

"The best anti-poverty program is a job," said Ross.

Talking to a mostly conservative audience of about 100 voters at Ridgeland High School, Ross and Bryant tried to emphasize their conservative backgrounds as well as their allegiance to current governor Haley Barbour.

"I think we've got a great governor," Ross said. "Part of the success of being lieutenant governor is not being governor. He's a great quarterback, and I've been his wing man for four years."

"We're going to have a Republican governor," said Bryant. "Haley Barbour's going to get re-elected. I know that's not a shock to you."

In fact, voters we spoke with couldn't make a decision on which one to vote for.

"I wish I could vote for both of them," said voter David Overby. "Both of them were outstanding. We're very fortunate here in Mississippi to have two outstanding candidates."

"Their community is important to them, their family is important to them, and Mississippi is important to them," said voter Kay Steed. "I saw very little difference. It's going to be hard to make a determination."

And despite some of the political advertisements we've seen from both Ross and Bryant over the last few weeks, both candidates were very civil today.

But with just two and a half weeks until the August seventh primary, Ross and Bryant don't expect to get much rest as each tries to get your vote.

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