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Former MS Democratic Party Chair no longer seeking reinstatement. DNC denies appeal

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Former MS Democratic Party Chair no longer seeking reinstatement. DNC denies appeal



Irving says DNC made decision for him, declines to discuss Hinds Chancery Court case

The former chair of the Mississippi Democratic Party said this week he is no longer seeking reinstatement after an appeal submitted to the Democratic National Committee’s Credentials Committee was denied last month.

The committee threw out the appeal from former state party chair Tyree Irving to be reinstated after he was voted out of office in July 2023 for alleged “long standing and repeated actions of malfeasance and misfeasance.” His appeal was thrown out during the DNC’s April meeting.

The decision came less than two months before the state party holds an election to elect a new chair.

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“The Credentials Committee voted unanimously (25-0) to recognize State Representative Cheikh Taylor as permanent chair,” The committee wrote in a press release issued last month. “Taylor was elected by a 2-1 vote by the State Executive Committee at a July 2023 meeting and has served as chair since then. In addition to filing the challenge with the national party, Irving also took the extraordinary measure of suing his own party in Hinds County Chancery Court in connection with his removal.”

The lawsuit referenced is still pending further action in the Hinds County Chancery Court.

That suit was filed in September 2023 and in it, Irving claims the state party violated its constitution several times in the course of ousting him, appointing Taylor and making several position changes within the party. He has also requested a restraining order on all party business until he is reinstated.

Irving had previously submitted a resignation letter to the party a few days before the vote was tallied during a special meeting.

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That resignation letter came after Irving ridiculed MDP Executive Director Andre Wagner for trying to clarify an email Irving sent stating DNC funds were coming to MDP if it donated an equal amount to Gubernatorial candidate Brandon Presley. Gifting funds to a political entity to give one candidate funding is a crime.

More on Irving’s resignation The Mississippi Democratic Party chair announced he will resign. What happens next?

Details on Irving lawsuit: Former Mississippi Democratic Party chair sues to reinstate himself, saying his ouster was improper

Irving and several other plaintiffs claim that the party, as well as key executive committee and party members including Taylor and William Wheeler, are essentially acting as a rogue political group without legal ground to conduct business on the party’s behalf.

The party’s response in the case is that Irving claims are all categorically false, and that the party has acted in accordance with its own regulations. It also denounces his claim to be reinstated, and one defendant, Wheeler, even alleges Irving destroyed property at party headquarters in Jackson.

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“Irving negligently and intentionally abused and caused damage to the property, including personal property inside of the building, out of spite and malice, all of which will be shown by the evidence at trial,” Wheeler stated.

The court has not yet set a trial date, according to a Hinds County Chancery Court employee.

Irving’s status with state Democratic Party

Irving, a former appellate judge who declined to comment on the ongoing case, told the Clarion Ledger Tuesday that with the decision from the DNC, he has no plans to run against Taylor.

“I devoted nearly three years of my post-retirement time to trying to lay the groundwork to transform the Mississippi Democratic Party into a real political force that would serve the interests of all ordinary Mississippians rather than the interests of self-appointed party bosses,” Irving said. “My term will officially end when the State Executive Committee elects new officers in the next month or two.  I can think of no good reason why I should continue my efforts to bring about such a transformation by seeking another term.”

Irving added that he believes the DNC simply made a political move to support Taylor and ignore the facts of the July 2023 vote to oust him as party chair and the ongoing case.

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“The Credentials Committee of the DNC made a political decision without consideration of the facts,” he said. “The DNC sends $15,000 monthly to support the Mississippi Democratic Party. Without that financial support, the Mississippi Democratic Party would not have any substantial operational footprint. Since it is clear that my vision for the Party did not align with the Party bosses of the Mississippi Democratic Party and the Credentials Committee of the DNC, there is no reason to believe that would change going forward.”

Taylor, a Democrat from Starkville, told the Clarion Ledger he is unaware of any other challengers to him, and he hopes he can continue the work of the party as the congressional elections come up in November.

“I am seeking chairmanship again and we’ve moved forward rapidly,” Taylor said. “I want a solid four years to really put my stamp on the vision and the mission along with the great council that I have moving the party forward.”

Read more on Primary races MS Primary results

Taylor added he believes the decision made by the DNC may help push the chancery court in favor of the party over Irving’s claims.

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“What I think may happen is that the chancery court will probably look at the ruling of the committee, And will follow suit,” he said.

Grant McLaughlin covers state government for the Clarion Ledger. He can be reached at gmclaughlin@gannett.com or 972-571-2335.



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Mississippi

Mississippi State Football Recruiting Tracker

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Mississippi State Football Recruiting Tracker


Mississippi State is entering a new era under new head coach Jeff Lebby. The former Oklahoma offensive coordinator has been adamant about recruiting partially in the Magnolia State. 

Recruiting is the lifeblood of any college football program, and Lebby understands the importance and already has a nice collection of talent in the class. 

This story will be updated regularly

KaMario Taylor

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Commitment Date: October 13th, 2023

Position: Quarterback 

 Ht/Wt: 6-4, 205 pounds 

Hometown: Macon, MS. (Noxubee County

High School)

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Consensus: 4-star prospect

ON3: 4-star prospect, No. 94 nationally, No. 10 quarterback, No. 5 player in Mississippi 

247Sports: 4-star prospect, No. 221 nationally, No. 16 quarterback, No. 5 player in Mississippi 

Rivals: 4-star prospect, No. 6 quarterback, No. 12 player in Mississippi

 

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ESPN: 3-star prospect, No. 7 quarterback, No.14 player in Mississippi 

Taylor is among the best pure athletes to play quarterback in Mississippi in quite a while. He has the frame of a quarterback at 6-4 205 and has the speed to be a dual-threat quarterback. 

He comes from a high school power in the Magnolia State, Noxubee County, which is also the home of MSU’s great Jeffrey Simmons. It is always important to get a quarterback in the class quickly, and Lebby got a steal in his own backyard. 

Taylor could be a five-star prospect when it is all said and done. 

Tyshun Willis 

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Commitment Date: April 22nd, 2024

Position: Edge/Linebacker 

 Ht/Wt: 6-1, 230 pounds  

Hometown: Camden, MS. (Velma Jackson High School)

Consensus: 4-star prospect

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ON3: 4-star prospect, No. 36 EDGE, No. 9 player in Mississippi 

247Sports: 4-star prospect, No. 234 nationally, No. 20 EDGE, No. 7 player in Mississippi 

 

ESPN: 4-star prospect, No. 265 nationally, No. 27 EDGE, No. 11 player in Mississippi 

The Bulldogs have feasted on in-state talent on the defensive side of the ball with names like Emmanuel Forbes, Fletcher Cox, and Chris Jones. Willis could be the next in line for small-town Mississippi kids. 

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He helped lead Velma Jackson to a state title appearance in Oxford, and he finished the season with 113 total tackles, 30 tackles for loss, and 20.5 sacks. 

Aj Rice 

Commitment Date: September 4th, 2023

Position: Linebacker

 Ht/Wt: 6-2, 240

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Hometown: Madison, AL (Madison Academy)

Consensus: 3-star prospect

ON3: 3-star prospect, No. 100 linebacker, No. 36 player in Alabama

247Sports: 3-star prospect, No. 49 linebacker, No. 25 player in Alabama 

Rivals: 3-star prospect, No. 25 linebacker, No. 31 player in Alabama

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ESPN: 3-star prospect, No. 25 linebacker, No. 26 player in Alabama

The Bulldogs have had success with linebackers from Alabama. Nathaniel “Bookie Watson is the latest example, and Rice could be the next. 

He was the first commit of the class and continues to add offers, now holding offers from Ole Miss, Baylor, and Arkansas. 

Jack Richardson 

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Commitment Date: March 24th, 2024

Position: Punter 

 Ht/Wt: 6-2, 213  

Hometown: Madison, MS. (Madison Central) 

Consensus: 3- star prospect

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ON3: 3-star prospect, No. 1 punter, No. 25 player in Mississippi 

247Sports: 3-star prospect, No. 1 punter, No. 44 player in Mississippi 

Getting a punter from the high school ranks now seems like a dead art due to the transfer portal. However, the Bulldogs liked what they saw from the Madison, MS. native. 

Richardson averaged 46.3 yards per punt in his junior season. 



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Vote for Mississippi boys high school athlete of the week May 20-25

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Vote for Mississippi boys high school athlete of the week May 20-25


There were several top performers across the state in boys high school sports, but only one can be voted athlete of the week for May 20-25.

To nominate a future athlete of the week, email mchavez@gannett.com or message him on X, formerly Twitter @MikeSChavez.

Fans may vote in the poll below one time per hour per device. The poll closes at noon on Saturday.

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To submit high school scores, statistics, records, leaders and other items at any time, email mchavez@gannett.com.

Nominations

Trey Barnes, Taylorsville: Barnes was 5-for-9 with a triple, four singles, four RBIs, five stolen bases and four runs scored in Taylorsville’s 2-1 series win over Pine Grove in the MHSAA Class 1A state baseball final.

Brody Breithaupt, Lafayette: Breithaupt was 5-for-13 with two extra-base hits and one RBI and pitched in relief for the final two innings, allowing two hits, and recorded three strikeouts in Lafayette’s 2-1 series loss to Vancleave in the MHSAA Class 5A state baseball final.

Landon Harmon, East Union: Harmon pitched 11 innings, allowing one earned run, seven hits and recorded 16 strikeouts in East Union’s 2-1 series loss to St. Andrew’s Episcopal in the MHSAA Class 2A state baseball final.

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Ty Long, Ripley: Long pitched two complete games, allowing four hits and no earned runs, and recorded 27 strikeouts in Ripley’s 2-1 series loss to Sumrall in the MHSAA Class 4A state baseball final.

Jay McQueen, Brandon: McQueen was 3-for-5 at the plate with an RBI and a the winning run scored in Brandon’s 2-0 series win over Hernando in the MHSAA Class 7A state baseball final.

Kaleb Warnock, East Webster: Warnock was 5-for-8 with a triple, four singles, four RBIs, and two runs scored in East Webster’s 2-0 series win over West Marion in the MHSAA Class 3A state baseball final.

Tyler West, Vancleave: West was 3-for-11 with two doubles, two RBIs, and a run scored. He also pitched a complete game, allowed seven hits, and recorded 11 strikeouts in Vancleave’s 2-1 series win over Lafayette in the MHSAA Class 5A state baseball final.

Michael Chavez covers high school sports, among others, for the Clarion Ledger. Email him at mchavez@gannett.com or reach out to him on X, formerly Twitter @MikeSChavez.

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Mississippi Wind-Mit Program Now Funded Through Surplus Lines Assn. Revenue

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Mississippi Wind-Mit Program Now Funded Through Surplus Lines Assn. Revenue


Almost two decades after it was established by the Mississippi Legislature, a storm and flood-mitigation grant program now has some funding – $5 million to be transferred from the Mississippi Surplus Lines Association.

“The Legislature didn’t appropriate the money. I went out and found it,” state Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said last week after announcing the signing of the bill that authorized the funding.

Mississippi now joins the growing list of Southeastern states that have provided some type of fund mechanism to help property owners fortify their structures against damage from wind and, in Mississippi’s case, flooding, in exchange for insurance premium discounts.

The $5 million for coastal counties in the Magnolia State is a far cry from the $200 million set aside this year by Florida lawmakers for matching grants for the My Safe Florida Home statewide wind-mitigation program. But it’s a start – at a time that some experts have said mitigation programs may be the best way to reduce losses and modulate rates as storms appear to be gaining in frequency and intensity, officials said.

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Chaney

Mississippi Lawmakers authorized the fortification program in 2007 but never appropriated any funds for it, Chaney explained. With legislators reluctant to provide tax dollars, Chaney said he was able to tap into funds that had been building up in the surplus lines association for years. The association, a non-profit organization that works closely with the state Insurance Department on surplus lines matters, had accumulated as much as $9 million from the surplus lines tax and the stamping office fees, Chaney said.

“We’ve been planning on this since 2010,” he said.

Officials with the surplus lines association declined to comment about it last week.

This year, Mississippi House Bill 1705 authorized the transfer of the funding from the association to a fortification program trust fund. The governor signed the bill May 13. The program will provide grants of up to $10,000 per recipient, for homes that are retrofitted to standards developed by the Institute for Business and Home Safety. Mitigation work may include building or elevating homes above the flood line; installing hurricane straps for stronger roof-to-wall connections; adding storm shutters; and the purchase of flood insurance for vulnerable properties.

It’s only for the six Mississippi counties closest to the coastline. Chaney said he had hoped for a statewide program, including one that would help poultry farmers retrofit chicken houses to withstand high winds. But he said “politics” in the Capitol had blocked the statewide assistance plan. Perhaps next year the program can be expanded, he noted.

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The Insurance Department also will be able to apply for public and private grants to help fortify homes, the bill notes. The department will soon issue a request for proposals on administering the program, and plans to have a web page available with more information on the grant program.

The text of HB 1705 can be seen here. A similar bill died in committee this spring.

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