Outgoing Republican Gov. Haley Barbour says today’s gubernatorial election in Mississippi might be indicative of the road to the 2012 presidential race. Barbour told Fox News Monday that President Barack Obama did not take the state in 2008 — and he doesn’t expect the president to win Mississippi next year.
“Phil Bryant, who is my lieutenant governor, has been an outstanding lieutenant governor, served three terms as state auditor, and he knows state government — he’s a proven conservative — he will do a good job,” Barbour said. “Well, of course, Obama didn’t carry Mississippi last time and I don’t think he will carry Mississippi next time.
“But if that is the stakes that the Democrats want this election to turn on, we in Mississippi are very glad to take that message and say: ‘No, we think the road to replace President Obama begins in Mississippi on November 8,’” said Barbour, who must vacate his seat due to term limits.
Barbour noted the Democratic candidate for governor, Johnny DuPree, is the first African American nominated by a major party for governor of Mississippi, is a three-term mayor of Hattiesburg, and has run a positive campaign. But “unless something happens unusual, Phil Bryant will get elected if there is a large turnout.”
“In Mississippi, in the last five governor’s elections, Republicans have won four —the one governor’s election won by a liberal government [was] because we had an unusually small turnout,” he said. “And that is why Republicans are hoping that we will have a big turnout that would be to Phil Bryant and the Republican ticket’s advantage.”
Fox’s Eric Bolling asked Barbour whether he regretted not throwing his hat into the presidential ring, as the race for 2012 GOP nomination seems to remain wide open. Barbour said he does not.
“I have lived my life and my career by not looking back — you make decisions and then you move on,” Barbour said. “And I made what I thought was the right decision — and I’m still comfortable with it — 2012 is an interesting election.
“Most elections to re-elect the incumbent, whether the president or incumbent governor, are referenda on the incumbent`s record,” he said. “And if the election next year is a referendum on Barack Obama`s record, particularly his record in jobs and economic growth, then we will have a new Republican president.”
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