DeSoto vote sign of GOP shift

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OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. -- DeSoto County remained strongly in the camp of ultra-conservative candidate Chris McDaniel in Tuesday’s runoff.

It’s something that’s been trending here for years, and made stronger by conservatives who once controlled Shelby County moving South to Mississippi.

Don Tullos is hopping mad about Chris McDaniel’s loss to Thad Cochran in Tuesday’s U.S. Senate runoff.

”The people here want change. They want people to come out and support what our needs are, what the needs of DeSoto County, their families are.”

He says DeSoto’s more than 70 percent turnout for McDaniel shows not only a shift in local politics, but also perfectly mirrors the divide in the National GOP.

”We are becoming a formidable county to deal with. Heretofore we’ve been smaller. We’re growing,” said DeSoto GOP Chairman Kevin Blackwell.

He notes DeSoto is Mississippi’s third largest county in population, and third largest Republican stronghold.

But Tullos and others say DeSoto gets shortchanged in Jackson, where the governor only appoints a handful of DeSoto Countians out of hundreds of state appointments.

He says the status quo would do anything to stay in power, and Tuesday proved it.

”You’ve got a quote conservative Republican senator in he’s recruiting liberal Democrats to support him to beat a conservative Republican.”

Political experts say the runoff signals a change in political wind here.

DeSoto Republican leader Kevin Blackwell says DeSoto Could soon call the tune in Mississippi politics.

”I think we’re not too far away from that happening.”

And he says that will bring with it some national influence too.

”You’re gonna have to show us what your conservative values are and you’ll have to stick with it, that’s exactly right.”

And don’t expect the November election to be very black and white.

Democratic nominee Travis Childers has made no secret of his conservative Democratic beliefs.