Jim Hood hosts press conference ahead of Trump campaign rally

Attorney General Jim Hood, the democratic nominee for governor, hosted a press conference on Friday ahead of President Donald J. Trump holding a press conference to endorse Hood's rival, Tate Reeves. Hood was joined by Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton. 

TUPELO • Attorney General Jim Hood, the Democratic nominee for governor, hosted a press conference on Friday where he continued to condemn his political rival, Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, for failing to solve issues of public education and infrastructure in the state. The press conference was held just yards away from where President Donald Trump will host a campaign rally on Friday where he will endorse Reeves ahead of the state’s election for governor.

The Trump campaign’s decision to host the rally in Northeast Mississippi, could be a calculated move by Trump and Reeves, given that Hood is a native of the region. When asked by reporters what he thought about Trump deciding to host the rally in the area he’s from, Hood brushed off the rally and simply said he felt like citizens of Northeast Mississippi will still vote for him.

“I love this area. This is home to me,” Hood said. “I’m confident that a lot of moderates and Republicans and Democrats will support me. If you win in the hills in Northeast Mississippi and you do good on the Coast then generally you get elected statewide.”

When pressed on the issue if Hood thought Northeast Mississippi would be a battleground region in the upcoming election given the Trump rally being in Tupelo, Hood defended his record of success in his native area.

“The people up here at home will stick with me,” he said. “They know what I’ve done. They’ve seen my record for 16 years as attorney general, and eight as a district attorney. They know I’m a moderate. I’m going to get things done. They know nothing crazy is going to come through that legislature. It’s going to be a conservative legislature.”

Hood’s opponent, Reeves, has closely aligned himself with the president and his policy goals. According to the Clarion Ledger, Reeves told supports at a campaign event in Oxford on Oct. 24 that he was going to “run this state like Donald J. Trump is running America.” When asked about Reeve’s comments related to Trump, Hood didn’t specifically answer the question and said he was going to focus on trying to “drain the swamp” that Reeves has created in the state.

“I can’t do anything about the swamp the President's trying to clean up in Washington and all that bickering that’s going on, but I can drain the swamp here that Tate Reeve’s has created. What he’s done is - he’s transactional - every bill he’s passed, every bill he’s killed, every contract the state has entered into, he’s gotten a campaign contribution from it.”

Hood was joined at the press conference by Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton, also a Democrat, where Shelton offered his support of Hood.

Shelton previously wrote a letter to the White House asking to officially greet the president to the All America City.

“On behalf of our great city, I would respectfully request the opportunity to officially greet you when you arrive or depart from the Tupelo Regional Airport or when you arrive at or depart from the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo,” Shelton wrote in early October.

Shelton told the Daily Journal after the press conference that his request to meet with Trump was formally denied by the White House and is something that Shelton has no control over.

“I’ll be there in the arena in my official capacity as mayor,” Shelton told the Daily Journal.

Shelton was criticized by some citizens last year when he did not attend a Trump rally, where the president campaigned for U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.

The Trump rally is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Friday at the BancorpSouth Arena.

taylor.vance@journalinc.com

Twitter: @taylor_vance28

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