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Governor Reeves wins Republican...

Governor Reeves wins Republican Primary, setting up match with Democrat Presley

By: Frank Corder - August 8, 2023
Governor Tate Reeves

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves addresses business leaders at the Mississippi Economic Council's annual "Hobnob Mississippi" in Jackson, Miss., Oct. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File - Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

It’s been 20 years since the Magnolia State had a Democrat for Governor. Reeves, a Republican, aims to keep it that way while Democratic nominee Presley, with help from out-of-staters, hopes to change that trend.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves cruised through the Republican Primary on Tuesday, defeating challengers John Witcher and David Hardigree.

Reeves, seeking his second term as the state’s chief executive, moves on to the General Election as the Republican nominee where he will face Democratic Party nominee Brandon Presley and Independent Gwendolyn Gray.

Presley, the current four-term Northern District Public Service Commissioner, was unopposed in Tuesday’s Primary. The Mississippi Democratic Party cleared the primary field for Presley earlier this year when their executive committee disqualified two candidates seeking the nomination.

Governor Reeves, who has served as the state’s Treasurer and Lt. Governor, has now won six statewide Republican Primary Elections followed by General Election wins. He heads into the final months of this his gubernatorial re-election campaign with over $9 million in his war chest – nearly six times that of Presley – and buoyed by a Mississippi voter base that is as conservative as they come in the U.S.

Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

Presley’s campaign, heavily staffed by out-of-state hires, was recently given $750,000 by the Democratic Governors Association to help him get through to the General Election. Had that not come in, his campaign would be running on fumes down the stretch.

It’s been 20 years since the Magnolia State had a Democrat for Governor. Presley is seeking to change that this year, attempting to tie Reeves to the TANF scandal that was uncovered before his time in the Governor’s Mansion as well as pushing for Medicaid expansion in hopes of gaining sympathetic supporters along the way.

While he has not shied away from throwing out a zinger or two at Presley even during his primary race, mainly related to what he describes as the “woke” policies being pushed by Democrats, Governor Reeves has chosen to run on his record that has seen the state’s unemployment reach record lows, increased workforce development training, noteworthy gains in K-12 education achievements, and billions in new business investments across the state while cutting the state income tax and signing a significant teacher pay raise.

Mississippi is one of three states holding gubernatorial elections this year.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: