TUPELO • A second gubernatorial debate between Jim Hood and Tate Reeves has now been scheduled to occur in Columbus next week, only a few days after the men will share a debate stage in Hattiesburg.
Hood – a Democrat – announced on Twitter Monday that he’ll accept an invitation offered by the Columbus television station WCBI. Republican candidate Reeves had previously accepted that debate invite.
If both those debates hold, then there will be two gubernatorial debates in the state within a period of less than a week, with no more debates likely to occur in the last two weeks before the Nov. 5 general election.
Any chance that a third debate occurs appears unlikely now.
“We wanted three, but I bet we end up with two,” Hood told the Daily Journal.
WLBT had offered to host a debate in late October. The Hood campaign accepted the invite, but in a recent interview Reeves declined to say whether he would consider that debate.
“We have accepted multiple debates, and we will continue to look at other options,” Reeves said in a recent press briefing.
Attempts to follow up with Reeves on this matter were cut short by a staffer.
The two gubernatorial candidates will meet for the first debate this Thursday in Hattiesburg, with Jackson-area television station WJTV hosting.
The one-hour event will take place on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi, and will be broadcast on select stations throughout the state, including WTVA in Tupelo. It will also be heard on SuperTalk radio and Mississippi Public Broadcasting.
The WCBI debate in Columbus is scheduled for Monday, October 14.
Reeves previously accepted a debate invitation from WJTV for a September event to take place in Jackson. Hood declined to participate in that event.
Instead, Hood accepted an invitation for WLBT’s Jackson debate.
Hood also accepted a debate for a mid-October debate offered by WTVA in Tupelo, but Reeves refused that debate.
Speaking last week with the Daily Journal, Hood said he had concerns about the WJTV debate he declined because it was to be immediately followed by a discussion panel that would feature a political commentator associated with the conservative-affiliated Y’all Politics.
“He’s the guy sitting up there, one of the two, he’s sitting there spinning for the Republican Party,” Hood said.
Even with both candidates accepting multiple invites, accusations of debate dodging have flown back and forth.