Active fundraising by Speaker Gunn, Northern PSC Commissioner Presley fuel further speculation about potential statewide runs by the Republican and the Democrat.
Annual campaign finance reports in Mississippi were due January 31st to recap the prior year’s fundraising. Those reports are now on the Secretary of State’s website.
Today, Y’all Politics provides an overview of the latest campaign finance reports for all eight statewide officeholders in Mississippi as well as the six regionally elected state officials serving on the Transportation Commission and the Public Service Commission.
In addition, given the rumors swirling around the political future of Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, his annual campaign finance reporting is listed below as well.
Governor Tate Reeves comes in atop the fundraising list for the year, pulling in $2.4 million and having nearly $5 million cash on hand between his two accounts. Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann comes in behind the Governor, adding $1.2 million to his coffers in 2021 and starting the year with $2.6 million in campaign funds.
Speaker Gunn is third in both contributions and cash on hand for the year, raising $655,000 and reporting just over $1 million cash on hand to start 2022. Last summer, some legacy media outlets raised the possibility of Gunn running against Governor Reeves in 2023 given his active fundraising and speaking engagements across the state, even going so far as to do multiple profile pieces on the Speaker.
Whether all of that was merely liberal reporters being bored and attempting to create conflict within the Republican Party or if there is something in the making by the Gunn camp remains to be seen.
Behind Reeves, Hosemann and Gunn where Attorney General Lynn Fitch and State Auditor Shad White. They both closed the year with over a half million dollars in their campaign accounts.
Of the eight statewide elected officials, all Republicans, State Treasurer David McRae reported the least amount of available campaign funds to end the year, reporting $60,000 cash on hand.
As for the two regional state boards – the Transportation Commission and the Public Service Commission – Northern PSC Commissioner Brandon Presley, one of two Democrats between the two boards, raked in $475,000 and reports over $500,000 cash on hand. He tops all other Commissioners on the two boards combined.
This active fundraising by Presley is sure to increase the speculation of him running for a statewide office in 2023. To date, he would be the only Democrat elected official in the state with the coffers to attempt such a run should he decide to make that move.
By comparison, Southern District PSC Commissioner Dane Maxwell reported just over $200 cash on hand to end the year, the least of all officials listed below.
Qualifying for the 2023 election cycle begins in January, with potential challengers sure to be announcing runs as early as this summer. Seven of the eight statewide officer holders are in the first term in their current position. Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney is the exception with him now in his fourth term.
Below is a breakdown of each officeholder’s 2021 campaign finance report.
Governor Tate Reeves (R)
Governor Tate Reeves has a couple of campaign accounts that are active. The fund under his name reported a cash on hand balance of $1.9 million to end 2021 with no contributions (other than earned interest) shown over the past year. The “Tate for Governor” fund raised $2.4 million in 2021 and ends the year reporting $2.9 million cash on hand.
Combined, Governor Reeves has nearly $5 million cash on hand heading into 2022, a year before the next statewide election cycle.
Reeves was previously Lt. Governor for two terms and State Treasurer for two terms prior to becoming Governor following the 2019 election.
Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann (R)
Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann’s “Friends of Delbert Hosemann” campaign fund brought in just over $1.2 million in 2021 and ended the year with a cash on hand balance of $2.6 million.
Hosemann, in his first term as the state’s Lt. Governor, was previously Secretary of State for three terms.
Attorney General Lynn Fitch (R)
First term Attorney General Lynn Fitch raised $640,000 in 2021 and ended the year with $556,000 cash on hand. She previously served two terms as the State Treasurer.
State Auditor Shad White (R)
State Auditor Shad White was fortunate to run unopposed in 2019 after being appointed to the office by former Governor Phil Bryant. White’s “Friends of Shad White” fund brought in $400,000 in 2021 and starts 2022 with a cash on hand balance of $600,000.
White had not held public office prior to being State Auditor.
Secretary of State Michael Watson (R)
The “Committee to Elect Michael Watson” pulled in nearly $400,000 during the 2021 period. The first term Secretary of State reports having $350,000 cash on hand to begin 2022.
Prior to becoming Secretary of State, Watson served in the State Senate for three terms.
State Treasurer David McRae (R)
First term State Treasurer David McRae brought in just $62,000 in 2021. His “David McRae Campaign” account shows a cash on hand balance of $60,000.
McRae had not held public officer prior to becoming State Treasurer.
Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Andy Gipson (R)
Prior to being appointed as the Ag Commissioner by former Governor Phil Bryant and then winning election to the position in 2019, Commissioner Andy Gipson served in the state House of Representatives for 10 years.
Gipson’s “Friends of Andy Gipson” campaign account raised $107,000 in 2021 and closed out the year with $88,00 cash on hand.
Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney (R)
Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney has two campaign accounts. His “Friends of Mike” fund reported raising $27,500 in 2021 and shows a cash on hand balance of $74,000. Chaney’s other campaign fund, “Mike Chaney Campaign,” ended the year with $105,000 cash on hand and only showing $13 in interest as far as contribution.
Chaney is in his fourth term as the state’s Insurance Commissioner, serving since 2007. Prior to being Commissioner, he served both the state House and Senate for 15 years.
Northern PSC Commissioner Brandon Presley (D)
Commissioner Brandon Presley is in his fourth term on the Public Service Commission. Prior to his time at the PSC, Presley was Mayor of Nettleton for six years.
Presley’s campaign account reported raising nearly $475,000 in 2021 and shows a cash on hand balance of $520,000.
Central PSC Commissioner Brent Bailey (R)
First term Public Service Commissioner Brent Bailey’s “Brent Bailey for MPSC” campaign account shows he brough in $16,000 in 2021 and has roughly the same amount reported as cash on hand to close out the year.
Bailey did not hold public officer prior to his election to the PSC.
Southern PSC Commissioner Dane Maxwell (R)
Commissioner Dane Maxwell, in his first term on the Public Service Commission, reported raising $11,500 in his “Friends of Dane Maxwell” campaign account. He shows just over $200 cash on hand to start 2022.
Maxwell was in his first term as Mayor of Pascagoula prior to becoming a PSC Commissioner.
Northern Transportation Commissioner John Caldwell (R)
In his first term as a Transportation Commissioner, John Caldwell reported raising $66,000 in 2021 and shows a cash on hand balance of $86,000.
Caldwell previously served a DeSoto County Supervisor and later worked for the public school system in his home county.
Central Transportation Commissioner Willie Simmons (D)
Commissioner Willie Simmons was elected to the Transportation Commissioner in 2019 after serving over 26 years in the state Senate.
Simmons reported raising $40,000 in 2021 and shows a cash on hand balance of $23,000 to start 2022.
Southern Transportation Commissioner Tom King (D)
Commissioner Tom King is in his third term on the Transportation Commission. He previously served in the state House when elected in 1993 and then in the state Senate, elected in 1999.
King’s new campaign account reported raising just less than $2,000 in 2021 and reported a cash on hand balance of $14,000 to end the year. His old account shows a cash on hand balance of $5,000 with no contributions during 2021.
Speaker of the House Philip Gunn (R)
Speaker Philip Gunn has served in the Mississippi House of Representatives since 2004. He became Speaker in 2012.
Over the past year, Gunn’s campaign account reported raising $655,000 and has a cash on hand balance of just over $1 million.