Sometimes my Reasonably Right notebook gets filled with items that don't require a full column but deserve a mention. This week, I'm cleaning out recent political items from the notebook.

Campaign finance reports for all statewide, district wide and legislative officials are due at the end of this week covering all contributions and expenditures during 2014. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves shared his numbers in advance of filing and said his campaign will report $2.35 million cash-on-hand after raising $1.3 million last year. Reeves' war chest well positions him for his anticipated announcement to seek reelection.

It's hard to keep a political secret, but Ridgeland resident David McRae and his team sprung a big announcement Tuesday. As Alan Lange wrote online at Y'all Politics, "Most of the time political news isn't really news, particularly when you're talking about who's running for statewide office. Most of the time there's rumor and buildup and buzz and by the time everyone is told, everyone already knows. But every so often news comes like a bolt of lightning that no one expected. Today was one of those times when Jackson-native David McRae filed to run as a Republican for the State Treasurer's office."

Lange noted McRae, like incumbent Treasurer Lynn Fitch did in her initial run in 2011, has the ability to "self-fund" his campaign and said, "this may actually be the marquee statewide race on the Republican side for this cycle in the primary."

In his announcement release, McRae pledged to be a reformer, saying "I am alarmed and outraged at the corruption in our state government. Each day it seems we read a new story about bribes, kickbacks, back room deals and incompetence from those we entrusted with our tax dollars. Sadly, the politicians in Jackson are becoming just as bad as those in Washington...We need a reformer from outside government to come in and clean up this mess. We have to root out the waste, fraud and abuse and start protecting Mississippi taxpayers."

Sen. Thad Cochran announced Keith Heard of Columbus will serve as his new chief-of-staff. Heard replaces Bruce Evans who will become the staff director of the Senate Appropriations Committee where Cochran serves as chairman.

Heard served on Cochran's staff after his first Senate election in 1978, directed the finance and political operations of his initial re-election against Democratic Gov. William Winter in 1984, and continued to serve as an official and personal confidant to Cochran in years since.

When Cochran trailed going into the Republican primary run-off in 2014, he tasked Heard with getting the campaign ship in line and now has asked him to take the helm in Washington as well.

Gov. Phil Bryant gave his State of the State address last week emphasizing tax cuts, workforce investment and contract reform. If you watched the speech on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, you may have seen the Democratic response. Now it wasn't too many years ago that Republicans were denied by MPB the opportunity to offer a response during Gov. Ronnie Musgrove's administration. That policy was reversed and Republicans then, and Democrats now, have the opportunity to present their message.

A State of the State or State of the Union speech is largely symbolic, an opportunity to generate a lot of press on the administration's priorities and accomplishments.

Responses are typically ignored, ridiculed or mocked by the party in power because they often are delivered by less experienced or prepared responders. Mississippi Democrats attempted to alleviate that problem by submitting a polished, edited, political film in response to Gov. Bryant. It wasn't a live response, or even a live to tape response. MPB effectively aired a six-and-a-half minute political commercial. But bless their hearts, Democrats in Mississippi need something to crow about and they were excited about their video.

I found the Democrats' manufactured outrage at state corruption in their response entertaining. They blamed Republicans, but two of the biggest corruption stories in recent years involved actions by the Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps and Director of Marine Resources Bill Walker; both of whom were first appointed to those positions by Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.

The contracting and bid laws did not see significant reform when Democrats controlled the House of Representatives. The latest major reform came at the hands of Republicans in 2012: the Sunshine Act which regulated Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood's ability to hire outside, contingency fee lawyers to earn millions of dollars on behalf of the state; many of whom have also been top campaign contributors to Hood.

That isn't to diminish the need for additional reform. But Democrats are attempting to blame Republicans for a system they inherited from Democrats. Perhaps Republicans can be criticized for not changing policies of the Democrats fast enough. But using that as an appeal to elect Democrats is essentially: "Vote Democrat - We Do Corruption Better Than Republicans."

Brian Perry is a partner with Capstone Public Affairs, LLC. Reach him at or @CapstonePerry on Twitter.