/David Baria understands the long odds he faces in US Senate race

David Baria understands the long odds he faces in US Senate race

Bay St. Louis Democrat admits that he will face stiff competition from incumbent U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (a Tupelo Republican) in the November general elections. Before the general election, there’s the uncertainty and potential landmines that Tuesday’s party primaries will present. Baria faces Howard Sherman, a venture capitalist and entrepreneur, who is also the husband of Sela Ward, an accomplished actress, as well as fellow state House member Omeria S. Scott of Laurel, and three other lesser-known candidates. After a long day of campaigning, Baria stated that “I know this will not be an easy undertaking.” Baria says that overcoming long odds is something he has to do every day in his job as a trial lawyer – a job that he takes pride in. He cites his experience as a politician, where he defeated an incumbent to win a seat at the state Senate. Then he decided to run for House District 122, which many consider a district that is rapidly trending Republican. Baria won the seat twice, despite direct efforts from Gov. Phil Bryant and the other members of state Republican establishment tried to defeat him. These odds are not much compared to the personal struggles Bryant and his family have had. Even more costly than losing an election was the cost of overcoming those odds. Darden Baria, their oldest son, died from rabies in 2005. This was the first death by rabies in Mississippi since 1947, and it was the only rabies-related death in the country that year. It is unknown how the child contracted Rabies. However, it is believed that he was bit in his sleep by bats. The child never claimed to have been bitten. Baria, when asked about the incident, says he will give details but that he can’t do so without “getting lumps in my throat.” Baria, like many Gulf Coast residents, lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. Although the Barias moved to Bay St. Louis 15 months prior to the storm from Jackson’s arrival, David Baria knew the Mississippi Gulf Coast well. His father was a computer programmer, and his mother was a secretary. He grew up in Jackson County on the east side of the Gulf. Baria, along with his partners, closed down his law firm and started a company to help with the cleanup of the Coast. Later, it was used as a demolition business. Baria stated that the company was created to serve two purposes. One, it provided a necessary service following Katrina’s devastation and two, it gave him a job and outlet during a time when he felt unprepared to practice law. He said, “I just wanted the freedom to be outside.” Baria decided to run for the state Senate and won a seat. He began his political career focusing specifically on reforming insurance to benefit Coast residents. Baria sold his stake in the demolition business, but still has interests in several businesses. One of these is a company that helps large employers keep track of their employees in case there is a plant disaster. He stated that none of these investments have yielded any money. Baria is currently the House minority leader. Baria believes that there is a way to defeat incumbent Wicker in November’s general election. However, most political observers see the position as safe for Republicans. Baria stated that it was time for change in Mississippi during an internet townhall. “We have sent the exact same people to Washington for 30 years and received the same results. We still rank 50th. We are still 50th. Baria is not shy about his loyalty to the Democratic Party. “He is a gentleman,” said Greg Snowden (R-Meridian), Speaker Pro Tem. He says what he believes and I don’t usually agree with that. He is cordial and always polite.” A townhall questioner asked him if he would promise that he wouldn’t switch parties if he was elected. He said, “I am who I am and I will not switch parties.” Baria describes himself as a hunter and gun owner. He also says that he supports the Second Amendment. Wicker’s enthusiastic support of Trump is another reason Baria entered the race. Baria uses unusually colorful language to say that the senator has attempted to get too close to Trump and wants to change into his underwear. This president is both a salesman, and a huckster. It is obvious that the president lies. He lies about small things and big things…I’m going to be a hedge for the president.” In order to do this, Baria must pass the Democratic primary. Recent elections have seen unusual results. For example, Robert Gray, a little-known trucker won the 2015 Democratic gubernatorial election nomination. Baria must then defeat Wicker in November’s general election to pull off the largest political upset in Mississippi history. Baria stated that his campaign funding will be far less than what Wicker will bring to this race. Wicker has $3.4 million cash on hand, according to the latest campaign reports. Baria stated that the next campaign finance report would show Wicker having raised approximately $300,000. He stated that he had raised enough money to run a legitimate election. Baria is running that campaign while his wife, Marcie Fyke, a former Jackson attorney, is considering applying for the seminary in order to study to be a priest in Episcopal Church. Merritt, their oldest daughter, graduated from Loyola. Merritt is now considering graduate school. Bess is still a Loyola student. Max, their son, is attending Bay St. Louis elementary school. The family could be facing some major changes if Baria pulls off such an upset and his wife goes to the seminary. However, their past experiences suggest that they are capable of coping with these changes.