Election 2019 Mississippi

Election 2019 Mississippi Rep. Jay Hughes, D-Oxford, left, and Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann confer at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Wednesday. The two are seeking their respective parties’ nominations for lieutenant governor, and both spoke at the fair. Candidates running in party primaries for statewide offices and district posts take advantage of the large gathered crowd at the fair who attend for the speeches.

Candidates for the office of lieutenant governor will meet for a televised debate today beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Republican Delbert Hosemann and Democrat Jay Hughes are the candidates in contention. The Thursday night debate will air on the Jackson-area station WJTV and will also stream online. The debate will last 30 minutes.

Incumbent Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is term limited in his current post and is now seeking the office of governor.

Hosemann is currently secretary of state. Hughes is a state representative from the Oxford area.

This debate comes as campaign season in Mississippi shifts toward the November general election and away from the primary battles that concluded in August.

However, the general election pairing between Hosemann and Hughes has been anticipated for much of the year. Hughes had no Democratic primary opponent, and Hosemann had only nominal opposition for the GOP nomination.

In Mississippi, the lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate and names the members and chairs of Senate committees. This control over the legislative process offers the lieutenant governor significant power over public policy in the state, rivaling perhaps even that of the governor.

Both Hosemann and Hughes have publicly touted support for public education and for additional measures to increase teacher pay in the state.

His record across three terms as secretary of state has also been key to Hosemann’s campaign this year. He says he effectively and conservatively managed that state agency and he’ll do the same as lieutenant governor.

Completing his first term as a legislator, Hughes has frequently criticized GOP leadership in the capitol and is emphasizing his humble upbringing.

Today’s lieutenant governor debate follows two televised gubernatorial debates that occurred among GOP candidates, one before the initial primary vote and one before the runoff.

Reeves and Democrat gubernatorial nominee Jim Hood have both indicated a desire to debate, but the two campaigns have not formally agreed to share a debate state.

On Wednesday, the Reeves campaign announced that it has accepted invitations for debates in Jackson and Hattiesburg. The Hood camp has not yet commented about any debate invitations it plans to accept.

caleb.bedillion@journalinc.com

Twitter: @CalebBedillion

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