Marsha and I plan to vote for Buck Clarke for State Treasurer in the Republican Primary on August 6, and I think it’s worth sharing why we believe Buck is clearly the best choice for this important position.
First of all, our treasurer plays a very important role in state government. This is not a position for on-the-job training; we need a treasurer with an accomplished career. The State Treasurer is our chief financial officer. The treasurer manages the state debt along with the Governor and Attorney General, and their decisions impact the State’s credit rating and millions of taxpayer dollars.
Furthermore, the treasurer serves on PERS, the state retirement system. PERS has about $28 billion in assets and pays out nearly $3 billion annually to state retirees – over 100,000 of them. While PERS does not get a lot of media attention, it’s one of the most challenging financial obligations the state has to manage. We need someone with Buck’s experience and accomplishments in this critical role.
For Marsha and me, Buck Clarke is the most qualified candidate to serve as State Treasurer. Buck’s education, experience, training and career as a CPA and small business owner have prepared him to manage these critical financial issues. In addition, Buck has served as the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee for the last eight years and gained invaluable knowledge and experience dealing with the State’s finances.
The taxpayers need to think about the Treasurer’s race like a job interview. Who is qualified to do the job? It’s the taxpayers’ MONEY, and we need a treasurer with a conservative record of accomplishment.
Buck runs a small-town CPA firm in Hollandale. He understands what it takes to meet a payroll and take care of client needs. He went to school in Washington County and then graduated from Mississippi State University. He understands the importance of strong public education for the future of our state.
On the issues, Buck Clarke is a fiscal conservative, pro-life, 2nd Amendment supporter who believes the government that governs least governs best. He understands the value of immigration to America but strongly agrees with President Trump that we must have a secure border and only allow immigrants to come here legally.
Buck is a family man. He and Paula have three grown children and four grandchildren. He is an avid duck hunter who hunts and fishes with his family and friends.
Buck is running a grassroots campaign to serve as our state treasurer. Buck’s opponent has a great deal of family money and is advertising heavily in an effort to win political office. Buck will not be able to match his opponent’s paid advertising, but he can win if the citizens’ voices prevail over all the paid political advertising.
Like most Mississippians, Buck has worked hard to earn a living and build a business. He has experience managing that hard-earned money so voters can trust him to manage the taxpayers’ hard-earned money with great care and conservatism.
The State Treasurer has a serious job. We need someone with serious experience and accomplishments. On August 6 in the GOP Primary, please join Marsha and me in supporting Buck Clarke for State Treasurer.
People already are announcing their intention to run for state, district and county offices in 2019.
March 1 is the qualifying deadline.
The following is a list Mississippi Today has compiled and will continue to update of people who have announced for statewide office or are rumored to be running.
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, officially qualified to run for governor and will be considered the prohibitive favorite in the Republican primary.
Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, announced in his hometown of Houston in October that he is running for governor.
Velesha Williams of Madison says she plans to run in the Democratic primary. She is the former director of the Metro Jackson Community Prevention Coalition.
State Rep. Robert Foster, R-Hernando, a freshman, announced in December he is running for governor. Foster, a Christmas tree farmer, was a surprise entry in the gubernatorial contest.
Magnolia Mayor Anthony Witherspoon, a Democrat, has been weighing a possible run for governor on social media.
Petal Mayor Hal Marx, a Republican, announced in May he would run for governor, but recently announced he is not running because of his wife’s illness.
Billionaire businessman Thomas Duff has been rumored as a possible Republican candidate. Duff, a Columbia native, is a member of the Board of Trustees of state Institutions of Higher Learning. Along with his brother, Duff owns a string of businesses, ranging from trucking to real estate.
State Supreme Court Chief Justice William Waller Jr. is a rumored candidate. When he announced earlier this year he was retiring from the judiciary, it fueled speculation that he might try to follow his father, who was a Democratic governor of Mississippi in the 1970s. Waller said recently “I am not leaning toward that, but I have not ruled it out.” There has even been speculation that Waller would run as an independent. If so, he would be the most formidable independent candidate in the state in recent memory.
Supreme Court Justice Michael Randolph of Hattiesburg has been rumored as a candidate. But with him assuming the role of chief justice with Waller’s retirement, his candidacy seems unlikely. If he did run, it would most likely be as a Republican.
Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. Announced his candidacy at a press conference on Jan. 9.
State Rep. Jay Hughes, D-Oxford, announced in early summer his plan to run for lieutenant governor and already has filed qualifying papers.
State Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville is a possibility. What McDaniel will run for could be a Mississippi political board game. McDaniel, who in 2014 and 2018 ran for U.S. senator, barely losing in 2014 to political icon Thad Cochran, could run for any office from governor to his Jones County Senate seat. It is not likely, though, that he will retire from political office and practice law and resume his radio talk show.
State Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon, already has announced his plans to pursue the statewide office. He has been in the House since 2004.
Christene Brice a longtime voting rights activist in Gulfport
Christene Brice has been active in Gulfport and its black community for decades. As Harrison County MS Election Commissioner she has worked to register voters, including 92-year-old Jesse Lee Howard. But her efforts to help others go beyond that.
Treasurer Lynn Fitch, a Republican, is running for attorney general. She is finishing her second term as treasurer.
State Rep. David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis, has made no announcement after his unsuccessful campaign this year against incumbent U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, a Tupelo Republican, but he would have enhanced statewide name identification because of that campaign.
Mike Espy would be a formidable candidate for attorney general and is viewed as a possibility for that office by some. The Madison attorney, who previously served as a U.S. House member and secretary of agriculture, re-entered public life after a 25 year absence to run in the special election this year to replace long-time U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, who retired for health reasons. Espy would be viewed as a strong candidate for any statewide office he might decide to pursue. As an attorney, the office of attorney general seems like a natural fit.
SECRETARY OF STATE
Sam Britton of Jones County, originally thought to be a likely candidate for treasurer after serving one term as Southern District Public Service Commissioner, announced his candidacy for secretary of state.
State Sen. Michael Watson, R-Pascagoula, after serving three terms in the state Legislature, said he is planning to run for the statewide office.
Jackson attorney Vickie Slater is rumored to be candidate for the office. She has spoken to Democratic officials about a possible run. In 2015, Slater was viewed as the leading Democratic candidate for governor, but was upset in the primary by truck driver Robert Gray.
Former Hattiesburg mayor Johnny DuPree has been cited by Democratic officials as a possible candidate for the post. In 2011 he was the first African American to win a primary election to be a major party’s nominee for governor in the modern era.
Republican Shad White, who was appointed to the post by Gov. Phil Bryant this summer when incumbent Stacey Pickering stepped down to head the state Veterans Affairs Board. White has said he will run for a four year term.
Republican David McRae ran and lost to incumbent Lynn Fitch in 2015. The Madison County resident has said he plans to run again in 2019.
State. Sen. Buck Clarke, R-Hollandale, has announced for the post. Clarke also has been mentioned as possible candidate for secretary of state.
Republican incumbent Mike Chaney is expected to vie for his fourth term in the post. He is a former legislator.
COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE AND COMMERCE
Republican incumbent Andy Gipson of Braxton was appointed to the post by Gov. Phil Bryant after the governor appointed incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith to the vacant Senate post. Gipson, a former state House member, has qualified to run for a full four year term.
Perry Parker, a farmer and retired Wall Street executive from Covington County, is rumored to be a candidate. He ran an unsuccessful campaign in 2018 for 3rd District U.S. House seat.
State Rep. Michael Ted Evans, D-Preston, is rumored for the post. Democratic officials tout Evans as a possible candidate for the post. The state House member ran an unsuccessful campaign for the 3rd District U.S. House seat this past year.
The race for Mississippi treasurer next year is starting to take shape with longtime Republican state Sen. Eugene “Buck” Clarke announcing his candidacy Wednesday.
Clarke, 62, is chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee and has long been considered a likely candidate for higher office. He joins Republican David McRae, an attorney and investment businessman who announced his candidacy earlier this year. Southern District Public Service Commissioner Sam Britton also is reportedly mulling a run.
The winner would take over for current Treasurer Lynn Fitch, who took office in 2012 but has said she plans to run for attorney general next year.
In his Wednesday announcement at the state Capitol, Clarke said he was “uniquely qualified” for the position considering his experience as both a certified public accountant and as the longtime appropriations leader. He represents District 22, which includes Bolivar, Humphreys, Madison, Sharkey, Washington and Yazoo counties.
The treasurer is charged with overseeing the state’s fiscal health — including investments, paying down state bond and note obligations and managing several other financial programs.
“It’s given me the opportunity to look deeply into every facet of state government,” Clarke said of his time leading the budget-setting appropriations committee. “Every budget, for ever agency.”
He also touted the state’s growing reserves in his time as appropriations chairman, growing from $90 million to roughly $400 million.
“Mississippi’s financial position has greatly improved, I’m proud, in the last eight years,” he said. He has served in the leadership position for about half his time in the Senate, and will wrap up his time there in the upcoming legislative session, which begins next month.
“You just have a feeling at some point that it’s time to move on,” Clarke said of his decision to run for treasurer, adding he planned to travel to all of the state’s counties as he campaigns for the Nov. 5 race.
Candidates already are jostling for a number of statewide offices up for grabs next year, from governor to agriculture commissioner to insurance commissioner. The Clarion Ledger recently tallied about 20 people who are committed or considering a run for office, with more likely to announce in the coming weeks.
Today, Senator Buck Clarke announced his candidacy for state Treasurer, citing his years of experience as a certified public accountant and fighting for conservative reforms in the legislature.
“My political philosophy is out of the pages of National Review and the Reagan Revolution,” said Clarke, a state senator who has championed smaller government, lower taxes and less spending. “Government in Mississippi holds us back when it taxes and spends too much. Mississippians succeed when we are allowed to keep more of what we earn to invest in new jobs and opportunity.”
Clarke says he has fought for years in the Senate against special interests who demand more taxes and spending.
“Every special interest in Jackson thinks it can spend your money better than you,” said Clarke. “I’ve fought that as a Senator. I’m a die-hard conservative who has seen every trick in the book when it comes to more spending, borrowing and taxing. Having a Treasurer who will be an advocate for the taxpayers instead of special interests matters. Having a Treasurer with the experience not to have the wool pulled over their eyes matters.”
In the coming months, Clarke plans to visit each of the state’s 82 counties to engage Mississippians about the importance of electing a qualified Treasurer.
Clarke is uniquely positioned to serve Mississippi and fight for Mississippians. He has served four terms in the Mississippi Legislature, sixteen years in the Senate, with the last eight years as Chairman of Appropriations. His chairmanship, which involves setting the budget of each agency in state government has enabled him to be deeply involved in understanding the different needs of each state agency. As Appropriations Chairman of Mississippi, Clarke fought to balance the budget every year.
He is a certified public accountant and has been a partner of Clarke, Bradley, Baker and Company LLP since 1979. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Mississippi State University. He is the proud husband to Paula Clarke, father of three children, and grandfather to three grandchildren. He is a member of Hollandale First United Methodist Church.