On February 20, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) endorsed Lieutenant Gov. Tate Reeves (R) to replace him as the state’s top executive. “If a governor and a lieutenant governor cannot work closely together if I cannot be loyal to him as well as he has been loyal to me — then we’re on the wrong path,” Bryant said.
Reeves is running in the August 6 Republican gubernatorial primary against former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. and state Rep. Robert Foster. State Sen. Chris McDaniel might also enter the primary. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top-two finishers will face off in an August 27 runoff.
The only poll of the primary previewed a two-candidate matchup between Reeves and Foster, which Reeves led 62 percent to 9 percent. The margin of error was 5 percentage points. Reeves was the only candidate to report fundraising figures ahead of the January 1, 2019, filing deadline. He reported raising nearly $1.8 million and having more than $6.7 million in cash on hand. Waller did not enter the race until February 14.
Bryant, who is term-limited in 2019, was first elected in 2011 with 61 percent of the vote and was re-elected in 2015 with 66.4 percent of the vote. He won a five-candidate Republican primary in 2011 with 59.5 percent of the vote.