OXFORD, MS (abc24.com) - 90,000 signatures. That's the magic number Colonel Reb supporters need to hit by July. If they don't get all the names on a statewide petition, the controversial Ole Miss mascot won't appear on the November ballot.
The Colonel Reb Political Action Committee may call it quits this year, but leaders say you'll hear from them in the future.
"We have over 41,000 (signatures) now. When the time clock expires on the 9th of July we'll probably be around the 45,000 mark," says Arthur Randallson with the Colonel Reb PAC.
For the last year, Randallson has tried restoring Colonel Reb as the Ole Miss mascot. He says his petition will likely fail, but the fight's not over.
"We've actually rounded up so many volunteers and pledged financial donations, we have a very powerful shot for a heritage initiative for the November 2015 ballot," he tells abc24.com.
Randallson is planning ahead for the next election, saying a new initiative won't just be about Colonel Reb.
"Let's let the band play Dixie," he says. "People are saying let's bring the rebel flag back, let's even bring in Mississippi state traditions under attack."
He believes the problem this year was putting things together too fast. More than 40,000 people signed his petition, but as far as supporting another?
"Don't rock the boat," says Tracy Williams. "We've already done it once, just leave it alone and move on."
"I'm all for Colonel Reb coming back," adds Milt Clegg. "But I think Mississippi's state legislature has better things to do than worry about the Ole Miss Rebels right now. We've got an economy to take care of."
"The colonel may have lost the battle," Randallson says. "But the colonel still has a very good chance to win the war. Just be patient until November 2015."
Randallson has a little over a year to write a new initiative. He'll start campaigning again in 2014.