ICYMI: Nothing Unites Gubernatorial Candidates In Mississippi Like Attacking Tate Reeves
Waller: “Some people on this stage today will tell you things are fine, but the facts indicate otherwise.”
Hood: “It’s time for us to take our state government back from the corporate interests that control our state Legislature.”
Foster: “Too many people who stay in state government for long periods of time are beholden to special interests for their campaign contributions.”
In case you missed it, Mississippi Today and The Clarion Ledger profiled the increasing Republican infighting at the Neshoba County Fair, just days before the Mississippi primary election.
Candidates Bill Waller and Robert Foster took aim at nominal frontrunner Tate Reeves during the fair, attacking him for being beholden to special interests and the state’s sluggish economy. They even suggested Reeves is ignoring the state’s largest problems, including health care, roads and education.
Reeves expected to cruise through this primary but has lowered expectations ahead of Tuesday’s primary election saying, “It’s hard to get to 50.” No matter who crosses the finish line in this Republican primary, it looks like the Republican party is going to need lots of healing to mend the divides before November.
Read more about Reeves receiving attacks from Republicans and Democrats at the Neshoba County Fair:
Mississippi Today: ‘This race is kind of heating up’: Hood sits back and watches as Republicans battle each other at Neshoba
Attorney General Jim Hood said he toned down his speech Thursday at the Neshoba County Fair as the three Republican candidates for governor fought among themselves.
“This race is kind of heating up,” said Hood, viewed as the front-runner among the eight Democrats running for governor. “…I know y’all came to hear me throw a few rocks and the others as well.
“But when the others are fighting I have always been told you just let them fight. I am trying to bite my lip on a few of the things – to save a few of these rocks.’ [sic]
His [Reeves’] two Republican opponents, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. and state Rep. Robert Foster, continued to stress that policies needed to change to improve the state’s economy that, statistically speaking, is not keeping pace with growth in surrounding states and with the nation.
Their claims that the state economy was lagging seemed to not only upset Reeves, but also outgoing Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, who has endorsed Reeves, and Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn.
The tine-roofed [sic], sawdust-floored pavilion was filled and people lined up along the edges of the pavilion to hear the candidates. The annual speaking appeared to have added importance this year, in part, because Reeves was expected to be an easy winner of the Republican primary, but recent polls indicate that Waller and Foster might have momentum, possibly forcing a runoff – most likely between Waller and Reeves.
All the major gubernatorial candidates brought large contingents on supporters for the final day of the political speakings – as usual a hot and humid day.
Waller, a Jackson resident, spoke like a candidate ready for a runoff.
Foster, a freshman House member from DeSoto County, said people have told him he should garner more experience in state government before running for governor. But he said too many people who stay in state government for long periods of time are beholden to special interests for their campaign contributions. He downplayed an endorsement Reeves received from the National Rifle Association, and said no one was more pro-Second Amendment than he was.
Hood told the crowd, “What we are doing is not working. You know it and I know it. Our children are leaving our state more than any state in the Union in the past six years. We have to do something to turn that around.”
Clarion Ledger: Neshoba Fair: Republican governor candidates sharpen attack on Reeves before primary
Republican gubernatorial candidates Bill Waller Jr. and Robert Foster on Thursday sharpened their attacks on Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, seeking to poke holes in his positions on Medicaid expansion and road funding.
But in a series of Neshoba County Fair political speeches ahead of the Tuesday primary, Reeves and the presumptive Democratic front-runner, Attorney General Jim Hood, only took swipes at each other. Both candidates clearly expect to advance to the Nov. 5 general election.
Without calling him out by name, Foster and Waller suggested Reeves is ignoring the biggest problems in the state, including health care, roads and education. “Facts are stubborn things,” said an unusually animated Waller.
Hood never said Reeves’s name, but he criticized lieutenant governor’s fundraising. He has brought in more money than any other candidate currently running for state office.
“Where do you think that $7 million came from?” Hood asked, referencing Reeves’s campaign money. “It came from us. He sold us out.”
Democratic presumptive front-runner for governor AG Jim Hood had a large crowd cheering as he vowed: “It’s time for us to take our state government back from the corporate interests that control our state Legislature.”
Hood said he was trying to heed advice to let GOP candidates sling stones.
“I know y’all came here to hear me throw rocks,” Hood said. “People say when the others are throwing rocks, sit back and let them.”
But he did attack the lieutenant governor, as he has many times before, when he said Mississippi needs to improve its roads: “I’m talking about public roads, not private driveways,” Hood said.
Hood is currently investigating Reeves over a $2 million road project that would have connected the lieutenant governor’s neighborhood to a nearby shopping center. Hood has been investigating the road project for more than a year, but has yet to release his report.
Much of Hood’s speech was spent criticizing the Legislature.
Hood also criticized tax breaks, saying the Legislature has “given away” more than $700 million, mostly to out of state corporations.
“Some people on this stage today will tell you things are fine, but the facts indicate otherwise,” Waller said, an apparent dig at Reeves.
Foster, in his first Neshoba stump speech, drew a sizable crowd and cheers as he called for a change in state government and getting rid of “career politicians.”