/Former GOP congressman Mike Parker endorses Biden, finds his legacy on November ballot

Former GOP congressman Mike Parker endorses Biden, finds his legacy on November ballot

In recent weeks, Parker’s name was back in the news as he joined over two dozen ex-Republican congressmen to endorse Joe Biden for President. In Mississippi, the ghosts of Parker’s past political activities will again be on the November general elections ballot. Parker, who was the first candidate to make it mandatory for Mississippi House members to vote on the governor’s nominee, stated that he would vote this fall to remove that responsibility from the House. Mississippi voters will decide whether to repeal a state Constitutional provision that required a candidate for state office to receive both a majority and most votes in the majority of the state’s 122 House districts. If neither of these thresholds is met, the same constitutional provision, which was written in 1890 to prevent African Americans from being elected to statewide office, gives the responsibility to the state House to determine the winner from the top 2 vote-getters. Instead of allowing House members to decide the outcome, this year’s proposal would force a runoff between the top two vote-getters. Parker stated recently that he wasn’t aware of the amendment being on the November ballot. Parker stated, “I believe that is good.” Parker, 70 years old, said that he had no regrets about forcing the House’s decision to elect the governor on the first day 2000 of the Legislature. Ronnie Musgrove (Democratic lieutenant governor) won a majority of the vote in the November 1999 election against Parker. He was a former congressman who quit the House to run as the Republican establishment’s chosen candidate for governor. Musgrove and Parker won 61 House districts, despite neither candidate winning a majority of popular vote. Parker stated that he decided to vote for the House election, as permitted by the Constitution. This was to determine if the members would vote according to their constituents’ votes. Parker stated that they have been elected to vote. Musgrove was voted in the House by 86 to 36, with two Republicans voting in favor of Musgrove and two Democrats voting in favor of Parker. All three independents voted in favor of Parker. Parker is the only candidate who has won a state election to the House. However, there were other cases where the candidates could have done so. The winning candidate in two elections for lieutenant governor were held in the 1990s. However, the winner did not reach the constitutional thresholds to win. In those cases, the candidate with the lowest popular vote conceded. Twenty years after Parker won the election, the Legislature decided to place the proposal to repeal the outdated provision on the ballot. The Legislature’s decision comes only after a federal lawsuit was filed claiming that the provision was invalid because it could dilute minority voting strength. U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan of Southern District of Mississippi strongly suggested that the provision would be removed by a vote of people based on the lawsuit. Ironically, Parker who is closely tied to the electoral provisions in the state Constitution will never forget about it. He does, however, keep up to date with the national politics and knows that he supports incumbent Republican President Donald Trump. Parker stated that “His (Biden’s) politics aren’t mine.” They are very different. I am a Republican. Trump is not. This is more a constitutional matter than anything. Trump doesn’t understand the system of government. Trump has no respect for the system of government. It is very sad. Parker laments the fact that his grandchildren live right next to him in Brookhaven. However, they have limited contact with them due to COVID-19. Parker stated that both he and his spouse have pre-existing conditions which could put them at risk if they contract the coronavirus through the grandchildren. The children are either in school or their mother is a teacher. Parker stated that his brother-in law, who he described as being the “healthy” member of the family, died recently from COVID-19. Parker stated that he was on a ventilator for 20 consecutive days. “I cannot imagine the country’s leadership not telling us how terrible this is. That was what the people needed to hear.”