Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) is term-limited, leaving his seat open in this year’s gubernatorial election. Republican and Democratic party primaries will take place Tuesday, August 6, to select gubernatorial nominees.
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., and state Rep. Robert Foster will appear on the Republican primary ballot. Each have identified different policy priorities. Reeves, who local media outlets have identified as a frontrunner based on his fundraising advantage and endorsement from Bryant, says he has a record of experience in state government and will oppose tax increases. Waller, whose endorsers include four former state party chairmen, says he would focus on repairing the state’s roads and bridges. Foster emphasizes his status as a political outsider and says he would focus on agricultural policy.
In the Democratic primary, state Attorney General Jim Hood, Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, and six other candidates will be on the ballot. No Democratic candidate has won election as governor of Mississippi since 1999. Hood says that he can win statewide elections as a Democrat, citing his four victories in statewide attorney general races since 2003. Smith says that one of the reasons for his run is that Hood wrongfully tried him on criminal charges based on his race three times between 2016 and 2018. If no candidate wins a majority in either primary, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff on August 27. The winners will appear on the November 5 general election ballot. In order to win outright, a candidate must win a majority of the statewide vote and carry a majority of state House districts.