Amid the red dirt and hubbub of the Neshoba County Fair last week, Debbie Hood sat on a wooden bench and quietly contemplated a reporter’s question: Is she ready for her husband to run for Mississippi governor next year?
She is the wife of Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood, who’s in his fourth term as the state’s top legal officer. While her husband is a longtime prosecutor who’s comfortable in front of big crowds, Debbie Hood is an intensely private person.
Jim Hood has been sounding like a potential gubernatorial candidate for a long time, but like many politicians, he is skilled at evading direct questions about his plans. His standard reply is to say his wife is praying about whether he should run for governor and he’s waiting for her to get comfortable with the idea. The answer appears to have the benefit of being true, but it also fuels speculation that keeps his name on people’s minds and extends the drama leading up to an announcement.
So, while Jim Hood was shaking hands outside the shotgun-style cabins on the fairgrounds Wednesday, an Associated Press reporter sat with Debbie Hood and asked if she is still praying.
She said she is.
“That’s where I am: If it’s the Lord’s will,” she said, choosing her words in the careful manner of someone unaccustomed to being interviewed.
Debbie Hood did not seek out the conversation, and she thought for a…