Republicans campaign, fundraise on protecting new license plates from ‘out-of-state liberal’ attacks

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Rogelio V. Solis, Associated PressMississippi’s Republican second-term state treasurer Lynn Fitch, announces at a Monday, Jan. 14, 2019 news conference at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., that she is running for attorney general because she wants to protect gun rights, fight opioid abuse and crack down on human trafficking, Fitch of Ridgeland is traveling the state this week to discuss her candidacy for the state’s top legal job.
Treasurer Lynn Fitch and several fellow Republicans running for statewide office are banking on controversy over the state’s new license plates to shore up conservative support in competitive primary elections.
“In Mississippi, we trust God. We put it in our state seal,” Fitch, who is running for attorney general this year, wrote in a May 23 fundraising letter that voters in the Jackson metro area received. “I voted to put that seal on our car tags. Because I did, atheist activists are threatening to sue Mississippi.”
Fitch continued: “I wish I could say this is the first time that liberal outsiders have tried to tell us in Mississippi that they know better than we do. But, it’s not. We pass bill after bill on issues that matter to Mississippians, like life and religious liberty, and they swoop in and take us to court to tell us our values just aren’t right. As your attorney general, I will fight to protect our laws and to defend the will of our people.”
Potential legal drama over the license plate is front-and-center in recent campaign ads and fundraising materials from Fitch as well as her GOP opponent, state Rep. Mark Baker, and governor candidate, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.
The new license plates, championed by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant and criticized broadly by Mississippians who dislike its color and off-center lettering, features the state’s seal that reads “In God We Trust.” Bryant