Feb. 13, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Mississippi GOP Cautious on Palazzo

Alex Brandon/Associated Press
Rep. Steven Palazzo's troubles have led some Mississippi Republicans to eye him warily, raising the possibility of a primary challenge.

Still, plugged-in strategists say, there is some vulnerability. “Rookie mistakes many people are willing to forgive him for,“ one Mississippi-based Republican consultant said. “Him being unable to correctly and legally take care of his responsibilities,” that’s a different story altogether, the source said.

Palazzo’s team pushed back.

“He’s gone out of his way from day one to make sure he was compliant with any state or federal law or rule,” Palazzo Chief of Staff Jamie Miller said. Miller also noted that Palazzo had gotten positive feedback from his constituents on the service and responsiveness of the office.

The 4th district is staunchly Republican, and a viable general election challenge is seen as extremely unlikely. Redistricting is not yet complete in the state, but the new lines — to be drawn by a court — are unlikely to change the makeup of the 4th in a substantive way.

Despite his recent troubles and freshman status, Palazzo has powerful friends.

“I think Steven has been doing a good job. He’s working hard,” ex-Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said. While the former Majority Leader noted Palazzo “had some problems getting his staff squared away,” Lott said he was “going to be supportive of Steven.”

“He may be challenged,” he said, “but I think Steven is well-positioned to get re-elected.”

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