Politicos Mix With Business People at MEC Event

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker says he wants another term in the U.S. Senate to continue fighting bureaucracy and seeking ways to cut budgets and promote American energy.

His Democratic challenger, Albert Gore Jr., is campaigning on saving Social Security, protecting veterans' benefits and upholding the federal health care law that President Barack Obama signed in 2010.

Another candidate in the Senate race, the Constitution Party's Thomas Cramer, says he wants to limit the role of government.

They're on the ballot next Tuesday, along with the Reform Party's Shawn O'Hara. The winner gets a six-year term.

Wicker, Gore and Cramer were among the politicians speaking Wednesday at the Mississippi Economic Council's annual Hobnob. Several hundred business people and government officials attended the social gathering under a big white circus tent at the state agriculture museum in Jackson.

Wicker, 61, of Tupelo, was appointed to the U.S. Senate since December 2007 after fellow Republican Trent Lott resigned. Wicker had served nearly 13 years in the U.S. House. He said Wednesday that the federal government is borrowing too much money.

"We have a time of massive crisis in the United States of America," Wicker said.

Gore, 82, of Starkville, is a retired United Methodist minister and retired chaplain for the U.S. Army Special Forces. He said if he's elected, he will respond rapidly to constituents' requests.

"I expect to live long enough to serve two terms," Gore said.

Cramer, 68, of Vancleave, is retired after working more than 30 years for in the defense industry, including as a crew training instructor and program management and budget analyst for Ingalls Shipbuilding, in Pascagoula. He said federal officials have strayed from following the Constitution.

"One of the big things we have to do is get the United States government out of the way," Cramer said. "They're not helping us, folks. They're hurting us."

Wicker has raised far more campaign money than any of his opponents. Through Sept. 30, Wicker reported raising $3.1 million, spending $876,179 and having $2.7 million remaining in his fund.

The Federal Election Commission website shows no campaign finance reports for Gore or O'Hara. Cramer reported that through Sept. 30, he raised $1,730, spent $1,369, had no money on hand and a debt of $3,000.


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