Lieutenant Gov. Tate Reeves released the first campaign ad in Mississippi’s Republican gubernatorial primary. In the ad, Reeves said that he would help Mississippi reach its full potential by cutting regulations, lowering taxes, and training the workforce. He said Attorney General Jim Hood (D), who is running in the Democratic primary, would not help the state reach its potential.
Reeves faces two challengers in the August 6 primary: state Rep. Robert Foster and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. Media outlets have cast Reeves as the frontrunner due to his fundraising ($6.7 million in cash on hand as of January 1), his 15 years as a statewide officeholder, and his endorsements, including the support of sitting Gov. Phil Bryant (R). If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote on August 6, a runoff will be held August 27.
Foster says he is a conservative outsider who is not beholden to any groups at the state capitol. He criticized Reeves for his long tenure in office, saying, “I would like to ask [Reeves]: How many favors does he have? How many promises has he made, in order to build up a $7 million campaign fund?”
Waller says he would be a stronger candidate than Reeves in the general election if Hood (who has been in office since 2004) is the Democratic candidate. Waller criticizes Reeves for his opposition to increasing the state gas tax to pay for infrastructure repairs. Four former state GOP chairmen endorsed Waller and criticized Reeves for his leadership style.
Reeves’ campaign responded to a Mississippi Today report highlighting support for his opponents by saying, “More than 300 conservative Mississippi leaders have endorsed Tate Reeves, including the governor. That didn’t get covered by Mississippi Today because it showed the party is united not divided. Hundreds more conservatives turned out for rallies and events across the state last week. The Republican Party is going to nominate the proven conservative in this race, and that’s Tate Reeves.”