Governor candidates making final cases to Neshoba audience

Democrat Attorney General Jim Hood, a candidate for governor, smiles while addressing the crowd at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss., Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. Hood seeks his party’s nomination in next week’s primary. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON • Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. are headed to a runoff for the Republican nomination for governor.

First-term state Rep. Robert Foster was eliminated from the three-person primary Tuesday.

GOP Gov. Phil Bryant couldn’t seek a third term. The winner of the Aug. 27 Republican runoff will face Democrat Jim Hood as well as an independent and a Constitution Party candidate in November.

Forty-five-year-old Reeves has presided over the Mississippi Senate for two terms as lieutenant governor after two terms as state treasurer.

Reeves campaigned on a record of tax-cutting. Sixty-seven-year-old Waller said Mississippi needs to spend more money on highways.

Reeves opposes Medicaid expansion. Waller said Mississippi should seek federal permission to let low-income residents purchase Medicaid coverage.

Fourth-term Attorney General Jim Hood defeated seven lesser-known candidates to grab the Democratic nomination for Mississippi governor.

Hood hopes to break the grip Republicans have held on the office for 24 of the past 28 years.

“People are ready for change in Mississippi. Certainly, the working folks are,” Hood told The Associated Press after he won.

Mississippi is one of only three states electing a governor this year. Louisiana and Kentucky are the others. Reeves is endorsed by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, who is term-limited, and he’s raised millions more than any of his GOP rivals.

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

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