Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Gene Taylor Contemplating Rare Comeback in Mississippi

Bookmark and Share

It has been nearly 130 years since the last Mississippi U.S. Representative returned to the chamber after losing a seat at the ballot box

genetaylor10.jpgFormer 11-term Democratic U.S. Representative Gene Taylor turned heads late last week when he stated he was considering a return to Washington, D.C. - as a Republican.

Taylor, first elected to the House in a 1989 special election, was a member of the Blue Dog Democratic Coalition and had consistently coasted to victory to his 5th CD (1989-2003) and 4th CD (2003-2011) seats by healthy double digit margins - winning by an average of 42.8 points through the 2008 cycle.

Despite his conservative Democratic credentials, Taylor could not hold his seat during the Republican tsunami of 2010 when GOPer Steven Palazzo beat him by 5.1 points.

Taylor, currently serving on the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, has accurately taken the pulse of his increasingly conservative old district and recently admitted that to win back his seat he would have to run as a Republican to challenge Palazzo.

Taylor would hardly be the first Southern Democrat to change his party affiliation to the Republican Party over the last few decades.

Ex- or currently serving U.S. Representatives to make such a switch include:

· Alabama's Parker Griffith (2009) and Artur Davis (2012)
· Georgia's Nathan Deal (1995)
· Louisiana's Jimmy Hayes (1995), Billy Tauzin (1995), and Rodney Alexander (2004)
· Mississippi's Mike Parker (1995)
· Texas' Greg Laughlin (1995) and Ralph Hall (2004)
· Virginia's Virgil Goode (2002, after switching to independent in 2000)

What would be much more unusual, in the case of Taylor and his home state of Mississippi, is to come back to the chamber after getting knocked out of office.

A Smart Politics review of Mississippi election data finds it has been 129 years since the last ex-U.S. Representative from the Magnolia State came back to win a U.S. House contest after losing his seat at the ballot box.

Overall, 10 of Mississippi's 127 U.S. Representatives in history have had gaps in service in the nation's lower legislative chamber - with most of these breaks due to members running for higher office or simply not running for reelection.

The most recent Mississippi U.S. Representative to successfully launch a comeback bid after a break in House service for any reason was Democrat Ross Collins 77 years ago in 1936.

Collins had served seven terms from the state's 5th CD from 1921 to 1935 when he opted not to defend his seat in 1934 and made an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate instead.

After losing the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, Collins ran for his old U.S. House seat in 1936 and served four more terms before another failed Senate bid in 1942.

The last Mississippi U.S. House member to return to the chamber after losing a seat, however, took place just after Reconstruction all the way back in the 1880s.

Two-term Democratic U.S. Representative James Chalmers was initially seated after winning the 6th CD Election of 1880 against former Republican U.S. House member John Lynch.

Lynch, one of the first African-Americans ever elected to the chamber, contested the election, however, and, after 13 months, took Chalmers' seat and served the remaining 11 months of the term.

Chalmers came back after redistricting in 1882, however, to run as an independent in Mississippi's 2nd CD and challenged Democratic incumbent Van Manning in another contested election.

Manning presented credentials as the initial winner, but was not seated by Congress. With just over eight months left in the term, Chalmers was eventually declared the victor and returned to the chamber in June 1884.

Chalmers would go on to lose his reelection bid in the 1884 cycle as well as three more attempts to return to the House in 1886, 1888, and 1896.

The only other two Mississippi U.S. Representatives to return to the House after losing their seat at the ballot box were the aforementioned Republican John Lynch and Democrat Otho Singleton.

Lynch won two terms in Congress before suffering his first loss to James Chalmers in 1876.

As stated above, Lynch won an election contest in the 1880 cycle to return to the U.S. House in April 1882 five years after his last day in office in March 1877.

Singleton, meanwhile, was a one-term incumbent when he lost his reelection bid to Mississippi's 3rd CD seat during the 1854 cycle.

Two years later, Singleton won the state's 4th CD race and served two terms before withdrawing in January 1861 a few days after the state seceded leading up to the Civil War.

Singleton later returned to the U.S. House once again, winning the 4th CD race of 1874 and serving six more terms until March 1887.

Six additional Magnolia State U.S. House members had gaps in service in the chamber.

Democrat Albert Brown (1839-1841; 1847-1853) served as Governor of Mississippi from 1844-1848 in between his two congressional stints.

Democrat Lucius Lamar (1857-1860; 1873-1877), meanwhile, retired from the House in December 1860 to become a member of the secession convention of Mississippi.

Democrats Charles Hooker (1875-1883; 1887-1895; 1901-1903) and Hernando Money (1875-1885; 1893-1897) had breaks in service due to each member deciding not to run for reelection.

Two other Mississippi U.S. Representatives also had brief gaps in service, despite winning their reelection bids.

One term incumbent Jacksonian-Democrats John Claiborne and Samuel Gholson each won reelection to the state's two at-large seats in the 1836 cycle, but, due to election irregularities, they were not seated until four months into the 25th Congress in mid-July 1837.

(Due to these irregularities and election contests, in February 1838 the seats were declared vacant and neither Congressman was elected back to the chamber).

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Claude Pepper, Dwight Rogers Only Florida US Reps to Die in Office
Next post: Two and Done: Tim Griffin's Abrupt Exit from the US House

3 Comments


  • There is ONE reason, and ONE reason only why Gene lost to Palazzo. It was necessary to kick Pelosi off her chair! Now IS a good time for Gene to come back. He can help expose Obama as a usurper carrying multiple forms of forged identification.

  • PLEASE COME BACK TO US WE NEED MORE THAT ARE FOR THE PEOPLE. COME BACK WE ARE WITH YOU.

  • Gene, We have missed you so very much. I talk to individuals daily that express their joy that you are running for office again. Maybe we will see some things done for Mississippi in a positive fashion. I know those whose insurance rates have increased will recognize a person who when in office will speak in their behalf. There seems to have been a lapse in the time that Mississippians were represented in Congress.

    Thanks Gene for realizing there a lot of us in Mississippi who have missed you greatly!


  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

    A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

    Political Crumbs

    Final Four Has Presidential Approval

    By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


    Three for the Road

    A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting