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Reeves Stumbles into Campaign Kick-off

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Campaign Plagued by Tough Primary Fight, Absent Leadership, and Frontage Road Scandal

This afternoon, Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves will officially kick off his campaign for governor. But a lot has happened since he first announced his candidacy back in January, and now he heads into the event in a far weaker position than he had hoped.

Primary Fight: Reeves couldn’t unite the GOP around his candidacy, leading to a real primary challenge. Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. entered the primary, and many expect the contest will expose lingering divisions in the party and cause the candidates to spend resources that they would have preferred to save for the general. He also clumsily failed to pressure several Republican state senators to endorse his campaign.

Skipping the Debate: You would think the threat of a serious primary challenger would make Reeves’ eager to get out and talk with voters, but apparently not. Reevesskipped the first debate of the race last weekend, claiming he was too busy (even though the legislative session ended early).

Angering Grassroots GOP: Reeves has a habit of not showing up, even for his fellow Republicans. His failure to attend a press conference in support of Senate Concurrent Resolution 596 drew heavy criticism from grassroots conservatives around the state. They went as far as organizing phonebanks to express their disappointment with Reeves.

Frontage Road Scandal: There are still many lingering questions in the scandal surrounding the infamous frontage road project that Reeves pushed through MDOT to benefit his personal gated community. Now he’s trying to navigate a crowded primary, and the issue is bound to come up again.

“Tate Reeves kicks off his campaign as the same self-serving career politician he’s always been,” said DGA Communications Director David Turner. “With a record of using his office for personal benefit, Reeves is going to have a tough time getting through this messy primary. The campaign has barely started and Reeves has already been exposed as a flawed candidate who can’t defend his record to voters.”