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Tuck, Blackmon hit campaign trail in Meridian

By Staff
HIGH FIVE Arrielle Dale, left, Caroline Compton and Mary Paige Griffin watch as Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck gives Braden Sims a high-five during Meridian High School's game against Brandon Friday night at Ray Stadium. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
October 25, 2003
For a few hours Friday, Meridian was ground zero in the escalating political battle between incumbent Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck and her Democratic challenger, state Sen. Barbara Blackmon.
Both candidates worked for votes Blackmon at a self-styled "unity rally" at Dumont Plaza and Tuck at the Meridian-Brandon football game at Ray Stadium.
Their paths apparently did not cross.
Blackmon said she is the most qualified person for the job because of her education and 12 years experience in the Legislature.
She said she knows the state legislative process better than her main opponent, who she said is ducking debates.
Across town, Tuck worked the crowd at Meridian High School's last home football game of the season.
Tuck's campaign threw out miniature plastic footballs with her name printed on them and she was scheduled to present the high school's ROTC unit with a new Mississippi state flag to replace a worn one.
Asked about ducking debates, Tuck said one between she and Blackmon is scheduled for next week.
Asked when the debate had been scheduled in Meridian, Tuck said she couldn't remember.
The abortion question
Blackmon, Tuck and Reform Party candidate Anna J. Reives are all bidding for the state's second-highest ranking elected office in the Nov. 4 general election. Since the lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate, the position is often referred to as the state's most powerful.
This year's lieutenant governor's race became particularly heated late last month after Blackmon challenged Tuck to sign an affidavit saying she never had an abortion.
Last Friday at a news conference in Meridian, Blackmon was asked if she had evidence that Tuck has had an abortion. She would not answer the question, referring to "the affidavit."
Tuck said Blackmon did not need to apologize to her, "but," she said, "the decent people across Mississippi deserve an apology."
On Friday Tuck said: "I can sign an affidavit that I've never had an abortion. I haven't seen the affidavit she's talking about. I am pro-life in my private life and pro-life in my professional life. Barbara Blackmon took a low road in politics. The people of this state deserve candidates that talk about the issues and the vision that they have."
Blackmon supporters in Dumont Plaza Friday night said they do not believe the abortion affidavit will damage Blackmon's chances for election. Some who said they voted for Tuck in the last election, said they felt betrayed when Tuck switched from the Democratic to the Republican party last year.

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