Incumbent Republican Tate Reeves and Democrat challenger Brandon Presley have secured their spots in the race for Mississippi’s next governor, according to results from Tuesday’s primary election.
Reeves, who is seeking his second term for governor in the Magnolia State, was declared the winner of the position’s Republican nomination a little over an hour after the polls closed, beating out Dr. John Witcher and David Hardigree after receiving nearly 75 percent of votes.
“I am truly honored that Mississippi Republicans have once again put their trust in me to lead our party in this year’s Governor’s race,” Reeves said. “Mississippi has momentum, and now is the time to unite as a state to keep that going into this year’s general election.”
Thank you, Mississippi! Now on to November to defend Mississippi’s Momentum! pic.twitter.com/pILpoTKuIh
— Governor Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) August 9, 2023
“The facts show our unemployment rate is 3.1 percent. That’s the lowest ever,” Reeves said during his political speech at the Neshoba County Fair. “The facts say that Mississippi attracted $6 billion in new investments in the past year – new jobs, new careers, and new stability for Mississippians.”
Presley, who ran unopposed during Tuesday’s primaries, has represented northern Mississippi on the state’s Public Service Commission for the past 15 years. Before that, he served as mayor of his hometown of Nettleton from 2001-2007 after being elected at the age of 23.
I’m honored to officially be your Democratic nominee for Governor of the great state of Mississippi.
The next three months aren’t going to be easy, but we’re not afraid to work hard and do everything it takes to win this thing.
Will you chip in right now to support Team… pic.twitter.com/igMKFxraWW
— Brandon Presley (@BrandonPresley) August 9, 2023
Throughout his campaign, Presley has expressed his intentions to address Mississippi’s growing hospital crisis through the expansion of Medicaid, saying that Reeves has refused to use his executive power to help the rising number of struggling hospitals.
“Let’s talk about 2,253 children in Mississippi because of a lack of healthcare,” Presley argued. “Let’s talk about 157 hospital workers at St. Dominic Hospital laid off. So, if he wants to talk about numbers, make sure he gives you the full picture of the numbers.”
Currently, almost half of the state’s rural hospitals are on the verge of closure as lawmakers continue to decline medical officials’ requests for Medicaid expansion.
Presley has stated that he is also aiming to reinstate Mississippi’s ballot initiative process, which allowed residents to propose both laws and constitutional amendments before it was stripped by the Mississippi Supreme Court in May 2021.
“I think voters, whether they’re Republicans, Democrats, Independents, or whatever their political persuasion, they want to see our state government cleaned up, cleaned out of the special interests and turned back to the people,” Presley said. “I get a lot of support from Republicans and Independents around the state who want to see the ballot initiative process given back. Tate Reeves sat on his hands while our right to vote was stolen from the people of Mississippi and so those kinds of issues cut across party lines.”
It’s been nearly two decades since a Democrat held the position of governor with Ronnie Musgrove being the last to do so from 2000-2004.
Reeves and Presley will face off in the general election on Tuesday, November 7.