No, he’s not Dilbert or Gilbert or even Englebert|[07/24/07]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Patricia Hosemann said she had never heard the name &#8220Delbert” until she met and married a man with that name. When they named their son, Delbert Hosemann Jr. became the second &#8220Delbert” she knew.

Her son is now running for Mississippi secretary of state, and his campaign is using his unusual name as the peg for an unusual TV ad.

&#8220He was named for his father,” Mrs. Hosemann said from the East Avenue home where she reared Delbert and his two sisters.

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She concedes curiosity about the source of her late husband’s name, &#8220I remember thinking, ‘Who did Mrs. Hosemann name him for?’ but I never thought to ask.”

Born in New Orleans, Delbert Hosemann Jr. spent most of his childhood in Vicksburg, where he graduated from St. Aloysius in 1965. His friends always called him Del, his mother said, but people who don’t know him well often mistake his name for another. He’s been called everything from Gilbert to Englebert throughout his life, he said.

The TV ad, which began airing Thursday, uses his name playfully to tell viewers what to expect if he is elected on ballots statewide in the Republican primary two weeks from today.

The commercial, which was made by Scott Howell & Company, who has done ads for U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering and others, shows Hosemann on a park bench with a &#8220little old lady,” a part played by an actress. While introducing Hosemann and rattling off his credentials, the woman continually calls him by a different, but similar name. Hosemann corrects her each time with, &#8220It’s Delbert, ma’am.”

While the commercial is staged, Hosemann said the theme is real.

&#8220Every name in that advertisement, I have been called,” said the attorney who has practiced in Jackson most of his career.

When the commercial was placed on Hosemann’s Web site,, the site had 4,500 hits in the first two days, Hosemann said.

&#8220That’s a record for views of a political ad for a down-ticketed candidate in Mississippi,” he said. &#8220It’s taken on a life of its own.”

The commercial was a way to break away from the usual, mostly biographical ads most Mississippi politicians tend to have, Hosemann said.

&#8220The goal was to add a little bit more humor. Mississippi has been through a good bit in the past couple of years. We wanted people to be able to have a laugh,” he said. &#8220It has some fun to it, and it does get my name repeated. It’s important to establish a name to it.”

Incumbent Mississippi Secretary of State Eric Clark is not seeking re-election. While this is the first time Hosemann, who specializes in taxation law, has run for a state post, he did run for the District 4 House seat in Congress in 1998.

In the primary, Hosemann is up against Republicans Mike Lott of Petal, Jeffrey Rupp of Starkville and Gene Sills of Crystal Springs.

The winner advances to the Nov. 6 general election to face the nominee of Democrats Rob Smith of Richland, Jabari Toins of Jackson and John Windsor of Corinth.

Having an unusual name is something Hosemann’s mother believes has been an advantage for her son.

&#8220Instead of being a Tom, Dick or Harry, having a name that’s a little bit different,” she said, &#8220it makes it a little easier to remember.”

Maybe so. But Hosemann and his wife of 36 years, Lynn, have a daughter, Kristen, and two sons, Chad and Mark. No Delbert III.