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Hood Prevails in Mississippi’s Democratic Primary for Governor; GOP Runoff Looms

August 7, 2019 by Dan McCue

Jim Hood, Mississippi’s four-term attorney general, beat seven rivals Tuesday night to become the Democratic nominee for Mississippi governor, while on the Republican side, second-term Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves faces a runoff in three weeks against former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr.

Reeves failed to garner a majority of the vote in the Republican primary despite having a distinct money advantage over his rivals and being endorsed by Gov. Phil Bryant, who is term-limited.

But he remained defiant after the polls closed, telling supporters who gathered in a restaurant outside of Jackson Mississippi that he’s prevailed in a primary runoff in the past and will do so again.

“I am totally and completely confident that, number one, we are going to have a conservative as the Republican nominee for governor. I can tell you tonight that I am going to be the Republican nominee for governor of Mississippi,” Reeves said. “And I can tell you tonight — we are going to beat Jim Hood in November.”

Waller meanwhile greeted supporters at his downtown Jackson campaign headquarters with a smile, and vowed that he will be victorious in the GOP runoff election, slated for August 27.

As for Hood, he’s now hoping to do something a Democrat hasn’t down in 16 years in Mississippi – win the governorship.

He’s running on a platform that includes improving education and the state’s sagging infrastructure, reducing the state’s 7% tax on groceries and “cleaning up the Legislature” by eliminating contracts that lawmakers have directed toward specific companies that hire big lobbying firms.

He is also calling for an expansion of Medicaid, saying the state is losing billions of federal dollars.

Following Hood’s victory, Democratic Governors Association Chair Gina Raimondo said the attorney general “has spent his career fighting for working people against powerful special interests and that’s exactly how he’ll govern.

“As Attorney General, Jim provided Mississippi families relief who were impacted after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and protected consumers from fraud,” Raimondo continued. “Jim is running to expand health care to over 300,000 working Mississippians and to keep the state’s rural hospitals open. He will finally cut the tax on groceries so hardworking families can put food on the table. Mississippi will be a major pickup opportunity for the DGA.”

In a separate statement, Noam Lee, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, predicted the runoff on the Republican side “will expose lingering divisions in the party that will render whoever wins deeply damaged heading into the general election.

“We don’t know how nasty this primary will get but we do know the winner will be a candidate who supports wealthy special interests instead of working Mississippians,” Lee said. “Both Republicans are self-serving politicians who have used their positions to benefit their own ambitions. As this rancorous runoff heats up, Mississippians will find their interests are not a priority for either Waller or Reeves. We stand ready to hold whoever wins this runoff accountable for the extreme positions they take this November.” 

Mississippi is one of only three states electing a governor this year, the others being Louisiana and Kentucky.

In addition to the Republican and Democratic nominees, the Nov. 5 ballot for governor will feature a Constitution Party candidate, Bob Hickingbottom, and an independent candidate, David Singletary.

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