Taylor speaks to Greta Dees during a meeting with voters at the Walthall Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Just more than halfway into his 12-minute stump speech, former Rep. Gene Taylor answered the question hanging over his primary challenge to the Republican that defeated him in 2010.
After representing the area for 21 years as a Democrat, why switch parties?
“I’ll make it very simple,” Taylor told a friendly crowd of a couple dozen after conducting a live interview with the local NBC affiliate. “When I first went to Congress, almost all of the southern Democrats were pro-life, almost all of them were for Second Amendment rights, almost all of them believed in a strong national defense, and almost all of them believed in a balanced budget. Over the years that changed.”
In the wake of the 2010 GOP wave, it didn’t look like either of the state’s losing Democratic congressmen would be coming back any time soon. But with last-minute candidate filings three months ago, both Taylor, who is taking on GOP Rep. Steven M. Palazzo in the 4th District as a Republican, and Travis Childers, who represented the 1st District for three years and is now running for Senate, are giving it a shot.
On Tuesday, both could learn the fates of their unlikely bids, as Taylor battles in a Republican primary and Childers watches the consequential GOP Senate primary. Full story