Senate candidate Tobey Bartee, overshadowed by big names and big money, introduces himself to Mississippi


While cameras swarmed Senate special election candidates Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mike Espy and Chris McDaniel at the Mississippi Economic Council’s Hobnob event on Thursday, the fourth candidate in the race, Tobey Bartee, sat alone at a table after his speech.
Bartee, a former military intelligence officer, is running for public office for the first time, and his candidacy has been largely overlooked. Thursday’s event was no exception.
He spoke early in the morning, before most of the state’s business leaders had poured their coffee and found their seats. The event’s program misspelled his name. Several media outlets covering the event ran stories – five days from Election Day – misidentifying him as a city councilman in Gautier (his father, also named Tobey Bartee, is the Gautier city councilman).
But Bartee, a Democrat and a policy wonk with professional experience at the Department of Defense, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, is relishing his first chance to meet voters across Mississippi and pitch his ideas.
“The only reason I got in this campaign is about what I see in the country and the state. It’s almost like a call to service,” Bartee told Mississippi Today. “It’s not about me believing I’m going to be the change. It’s about building partnership with the voters – making sure they’re shouldering their responsibility to get engaged to make sure that their voices are heard and that elected officials are held accountable. But then, it’s also about doing your responsibility to develop good policy and have a conversation about the development of policies.”
Adam Ganucheau | Mississippi TodayU.S. Senate candidate Tobey Bartee talks with students after a town hall at Millsaps College in Jackson.
Bartee attended a town hall with students at Millsaps College in Jackson on Thursday, where he answered students’ policy questions for more than an