State GOP chair visits Starkville to talk municipal elections

Mississippi GOP chairman Joe Nosef (submitted photo)

Donald Trump may have won the White House for the Republican Party, but that victory isn’t stopping state party leaders from taking a proactive approach as municipal election season approaches.

Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef visited Starkville on Thursday and spoke with the SDN about the party’s efforts to retain and expand its foothold across the state.

Nosef led a party event Thursday night at the Golden Triangle Planning and Development Center.

“It’s a meeting to … remind people about municipal elections, thank them for their help, telling them and assuring them that we are coming back and when the time comes, we want to help not just recruit but help people get elected,” he said.

He then said it’s important for the party to be proactive because once the March 3 qualifying deadline passes, there will be nothing more the party can do.

“Part of the reason we are traveling around is to raise awareness and tell people that we want to come back and help and plead with them to say ‘It’s not going to help us to tell us on March 4 that we should have had a Republican in Ward 1 or Ward 3,” he said.

Nosef - who is going into his sixth year as party chair - said a big challenge across the state can be found in districts where Republicans like Trump, Mitt Romney or John McCain may have won by 70 percent, but that continue to elect Democrats at the local level because nobody else runs.

Starkville is currently one such district, with three Democratic candidates qualified to run for mayor. No Republicans have qualified for the mayoral race as of Thursday.

“Obviously, last time we did what we could to help Mr. (Dan) Moreland and he has a great family that does a lot for the party and we weren’t victorious and that’s a part of it,” he said.

Nosef then expanded on the GOP’s involvement at the local level, saying that the party cares because municipal governments provide a strong bench of potential candidates who may want to work at higher levels of government.

“Municipal offices are a very manageable way … to get into politics in a direct way and make a difference,” he said.

Nosef said a major topic of discussion at the meeting would be to emphasize how the party can be successful at the local level while not spending millions of dollars.

“That’s the other thing we are trying to tell people, because we can do a lot with a little bit,” he said.

Nosef said he is proud that the party has stayed unified through several years of uncertain times.

“You can’t grow as a party and remain unified without really hard work,” he said. “Because the more you grow, the more you get people that don’t agree on everything. Part of that is unity - and it doesn’t mean everybody agrees on everything.”