According to the Hattiesburg American this morning, Mayor Johnny DuPree (D-Hattiesburg) announced his candidacy for governor in 2011. DuPree is the third-term, popular, African-American mayor of Mississippi's fourth-largest city. DuPree gives the 2011 gubernatorial field something two things it currently lacks: a candidate with executive experience, and an African-American.
It's Mississippi, of course, so race will no doubt play some part in the 2011 cycle. Mississippi has the highest percentage of black population of any state in the Union, but it's still 60.6% white, according to 2008 projections. That being said, DuPree has been able to win election three times in a city that is 49.95% white and 47.34% black, according to the 2000 census. DuPree will have to conduct a campaign focused on racial unity to have any chance of getting elected, and that promises to be a very good thing for Mississippi going forward, considering the tendency of our elected leaders to do things like visit Blackhawk. (Recognize the guy in the middle?)