Guy was waiting with the suburban at the gulfport

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Guy was waiting with the Suburban at the Gulfport-Biloxi Regional Airport. Ron kissed Doreen goodbye, andthe plane took her back to McComb. Another driverthere would take her to Brookhaven. At the HarrisonCounty Courthouse, Ron announced again, answered thesame questions, then sat down for a long interview withthe Sun Herald.Biloxi was the home of Sheila McCarthy. It wasadjacent to Gulfport, the largest city in the southerndistrict, with a population of sixty-0ve thousand. Biloxiand Gulfport were the center of the Coast region, a three-county area along the Gulf with 60 percent of the votes.To the east was Ocean Springs, Gautier, Moss Point,Pascagoula, and then Mobile. To the west was PassChristian, Long Beach, Waveland, Bay St. Louis, thenNew Orleans.Tony planned for Ron to spend at least half of his timethere during the campaign. At 6:00 p.m., the candidate
was introduced to his Coast o?ce, a renovated fast-foodfranchise on Highway 90, the heavily traveled four-laneat the beach. Brightly colored campaign signs blanketedthe area around the headquarters, and a large crowdgathered to hear and meet their candidate. Ron knewnone of them. Nor did Tony. Virtually all wereemployees of some of the companies indirectly 0nancingthe campaign. Half worked in the regional o?ce of anational auto insurance company. When Ron arrived andsaw his headquarters, its decorations, and the crowd, hemarveled at the organizational skills of Tony Zachary.This might be easier than he thought.The Gulf Coast’s economy is now fueled by casinos, sohe throttled back his high moral comments and dwelledon his conservative approach to judicial thought. Hetalked about himself, his family, his son Josh’sundefeated Little League team. And for the 0rst time, hevoiced concern over the state’s crime rate and its seemingindifference to executing condemned killers.Clete Coley would’ve been proud.Dinner that night was a fancy fund-raiser at the BiloxiYacht Club, a thousand dollars a plate. The crowd was amix of corporate suits, bankers, doctors, and insurancedefense lawyers. Tony counted eighty-four present.Late that night, with Ron asleep in the room nextdoor, Tony called Barry Rinehart with a summary of thegreat day. It wasn’t as colorful as Clete’s dramatic
great day. It wasn’t as colorful as Clete’s dramaticentrance, but it was far more productive. Their candidatehad handled himself well.__________Day two began with a 7:30 Prayer Breakfast at a hotel inthe shadows of the casinos. It was sponsored by a newlyorganized group known as the Brotherhood Coalition.Most of those in attendance were fundamentalist pastorsfrom a dozen strains of Christianity. Ron was quicklylearning the strategy of adapting to his audience, and hefelt at home talking about his faith and how it wouldshape his decisions on the supreme court. Heemphasized his long service to the Lord as a deacon andSunday school teacher, and almost choked up when herecalled the story of his son’s baptism. Again, he wasendorsed on the spot.

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Term
Spring
Professor
N/A
Tags
Carl Trudeau, Jeannette Baker, Wes Payton

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