State Rep. Robert Foster (D-Hernando), who finished a distant third with 18% of the vote in the August 6th gubernatorial primary, has endorsed second place finisher Bill Waller Jr., a retired state Supreme Court Judge. He faces front-runner Tate Reeves, Mississippi’s Lt. Governor, in the August 27th Republican run-off. In the first vote, Mr. Reeves came within one percentage point of clinching the nomination outright.
A Mason-Dixon Strategy & Polling survey released before the primary (7/24-27; 500 MS likely Republican voters) gave Mr. Reeves a 41-31% advantage over Mr. Waller if the two were forced into a secondary election.
Mississippi voters went to the polls yesterday to choose nominees to replace term-limited Gov. Phil Bryant (R) in the November general election. Attorney General Jim Hood, as expected, easily defeated seven minor candidates with 69% of the vote to claim the Democratic nomination. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves recorded 49% support in the Republican primary against two opponents, falling just one point short of winning the nomination outright. He now advances to an August 27th run-off election against former state Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller, Jr. The latter man attracted 33% of the vote in finishing second.
Republican turnout ran well ahead of the last open seat nomination period, back in 2011, while Democratic participation fell way short. It is likely that Lt. Gov. Reeves will easily win the GOP run-off, and then be rated as a favorite against Mr. Hood in the November 5th general election.
Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy (7/24-27; 500 MS likely Republican primary voters) released a new pre-primary poll just days before the August 6th Mississippi nomination election.
While the Democrats are poised to nominate Attorney General Jim Hood, Republicans are likely headed to an August 27th run-off election. According to the M-D data, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves has only a 41-31-13% lead over retired state Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller and state Rep. Robert Foster (R-Hernando). To win nomination, a candidate must receive 50% support.
The Mississippi Governor’s race is open because incumbent Phil Bryant (R) is ineligible to seek a third term. The Governor has endorsed Lt. Gov. Reeves as his successor.
A new Chism Strategies survey of Mississippi Democrats for Millsaps College (6/20-21; 523 MS likely voters) finds former Vice President Joe Biden with a better than 7-fold lead over his next closest competitor. According to the Chism results, Mr. Biden has 50% support among the Democratic sample as compared to 7% for both Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Following is Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) at 5% and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg with only 2% support. All others tally 1% or less.
Yesterday, four African American voters, with the backing of former US Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee, filed suit to challenge the long-held Mississippi electoral practice of requiring statewide candidates not only to win a majority of votes, but also carrying a majority of state House districts. If the top vote-getter fails to win a majority of votes or House districts, the election is deferred to the state House to resolve the outcome.
We shall see if the lawsuit has legs. The last time an electoral contest was referred to the House came in the 1999 Governor’s election, when Democrat Ronnie Musgrove was chosen over Democrat-turned-Republican Congressman Mike Parker.
The Mississippi statewide election system has been in effect since 1890. No first-place candidate in the statewide vote has ever been denied their office when the final vote was sent to the state House.
In the 2019 gubernatorial race, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) and Attorney General Jim Hood (D) are the clear leaders in their respective parties and both are expected to easily win their nominations in the August primary.
Wealthy businessman and Vice Chairman of the Mississippi Lottery Board Gerard Gilbert said yesterday that he is considering challenging Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith in next year’s Republican primary. So far, this race has been quiet after the Senator, appointed to serve the remainder of Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) final term in office after his resignation for health reasons, defeated former US Agriculture Secretary and ex-Mississippi Congressman Mike Espy (D) in a 54-46% special election victory last November.
The Hickman Analytics research organization, polling for the Jim Hood (D) for Governor campaign, tested the Mississippi electorate in preparation for the 2019 state chief executive race, which will be held in November of this year. The position is open because Gov. Phil Bryant (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.
According to the Hickman results (5/5-9; 604 MS likely 2019 gubernatorial election voters), Attorney General Hood would lead Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R), 45-40%, if the election were in the present. Both have August primary opposition, but each is expected to easily win their respective party nominations.
Mr. Hood is often described as the “most successful Democratic politician in the Deep South,” because he was won four consecutive elections as the state AG. Gov. Bryant chose Mr. Reeves as his running mate before the 2011 campaign and has endorsed his gubernatorial candidacy. Prior to serving as Lt. Governor, Mr. Reeves had been the Mississippi state Treasurer for eight years.
What was once thought to be a walk for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves in the Republican gubernatorial primary may turn into more of a challenge. Yesterday, four former Mississippi Republican Party ex-chairmen jointly endorsed Republican retired state Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller, Jr. over Mr. Reeves.
If Judge Waller can prove an adept fundraiser, this early August primary may be more of a race than originally perceived.
On Friday, candidates for the 2019 state elections in Mississippi officially filed, thus the field for the August 6th party primaries are now set. If no candidate receives majority support in the first election, the top two finishers will run-off on August 27th. The general election is November 5th.
In the Republican gubernatorial primary, to replace term-limited incumbent Phil Bryant (R), three candidates filed as expected. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who Gov. Bryant has endorsed, retired state Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller Jr., and state Rep. Robert Foster (R-Hernando) comprise the GOP field.
For the Democrats, nine individuals filed paperwork to run. The prohibitive favorite for the nomination is four-term Attorney General Jim Hood. The other candidates of significance are Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, and former Natchez Mayor and ex-state Representative Phillip West.
The large number of minor candidates suggest there is an outside possibility that Hood is forced to a run-off, but at this point he must be considered a clear favorite to win the nomination outright. Most observers believe that AG Hood gives the Democrats a legitimate chance to capture the Governor’s mansion for the first time since Ronnie Musgrove last won in 1999.
State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Ellisville), a two-time former US Senate candidate, said publicly that he will not be filing as a candidate for Governor today. The open gubernatorial field appears set for Republicans with Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves leading former state Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller Jr., while the Democrats feature Attorney General Jim Hood who is a heavy favorite over Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith.
This should be a competitive race in the fall despite Mississippi’s strong Republican voting history. Gov. Phil Bryant (R), who has already endorsed Mr. Reeves as his successor, is ineligible to seek a third term. The Mississippi primary is scheduled for August 6th.
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