Mississippi voters to decide gubernatorial, other state executive primaries Tuesday
Just one state—Mississippi—has an open-seat governor’s race in 2019 as incumbent Phil Bryant (R) is term-limited. The primaries for that race and 10 other state executive offices take place Tuesday.
Three Republicans are seeking their party’s nod to succeed Bryant—Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., and state Rep. Robert Foster. According to campaign finance reports through July 27, Reeves had raised $5 million, Waller $1.2 million, and Foster $179,000. A late July poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy found Reeves leading Waller with 41% support to Waller’s 31% and Foster’s 13%. The poll surveyed 500 likely primary voters and had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.
In the Democratic primary, Attorney General Jim Hood, Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, and six other candidates are running. Hood has served as attorney general since 2004, and, prior to 2015, he was the only Democratic statewide officeholder in the southeastern United States. Hood has raised $1.6 million and Smith $22,000 through July 27. No other Democratic candidate reported raising more than $1,000 through that date.
The last Democrat to win election as governor of Mississippi was Ronnie Musgrove in 1999.Two of three election forecasters tracked by Ballotpedia rate the general election for governor as “Leans Republican” and the other rates it as “Likely Republican.”
There are also contested Republican primaries for lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and state treasurer and a contested Democratic primary for secretary of state. Both parties have contested primaries for two of three seats on the state’s public service commission.
Candidates must win a majority of votes to get the nomination. If no candidate receives a majority in any race, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff on August 27. The general election is November 5.