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We’ve Got a Real Race on Our Hands: Waller “Exceeds Fundraising Expectations” in Mississippi
The Republican primary in Mississippi is shaping up to be competitive, and now, very expensive too.
This week, former state Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr.’s campaign posted a better-than-expected fundraising haul. The impressive number means two things: 1. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ supposed smooth ride to the nomination is officially over and 2. It’s going to cost a lot of resources to win.
It’s not the only sign that Republicans are seriously divided in this race. Last month, four former state GOP Chairs endorsed Waller over Reeves, worrying that the Lt. Gov. would hurt Republicans chances of winning in November. Now that Waller’s shown the ability to raise significant money, Republicans officially have a messier primary than they bargained for.
Read more about how Waller’s campaign is complicating the primary below:
Jackson Free Press: Waller Exceeds Fundraising Expectations in GOP Race
Republican Bill Waller raised more than half a million dollars in his first two months in the race for governor, his campaign announced in a press release on Tuesday.
Waller, the former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice, surpassed his initial fundraising goal, bringing in more than $580,000 from 700 donors since he joined the race.
Other campaigns will not release their fundraising totals until tomorrow, but Waller’s top opponent, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, boasted a $6.7 million cash war chest at the start of 2019. In 2018 alone, he pulled in $1.7 million. Still, Waller only joined the race on March 1, and unlike Reeves, he has not had the benefit of years of fundraising.
…While Reeves is typically seen as the establishment candidate with the best shot, Waller boasts the support of four former heads of the Mississippi GOP and other party leaders. From 1972 to 1976, his father served as the state’s Democratic governor at a time when many conservatives, who would later become Republicans, still remained in the Democratic Party.
Robert Foster suggested on social media that his first-quarter haul will be substantially lower than his opponents.
“The outpouring of support for Bill Waller in such a short amount of time is exciting to see, and it’s a sign of real momentum building all across the state,” said Waller finance committee member Leland Speed, whose father of the same name was the Republican mayor of Jackson from 1945 to 1949, in the campaign’s May 7 press release. “Bill Waller is focused on finding conservative solutions to the challenges facing Mississippi, and more and more people are joining the campaign every day. We will continue to work hard to ensure he has the resources needed to deliver his message to all voters.”
Speed formerly served as the executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority under former Republican Gov. Haley Barbour.
Dan Fordice, the son of late Mississippi Republican Gov. Kirk Fordice, also endorsed him in the press release.
“I saw firsthand what it takes to be a successful Governor, and that’s why I’m supporting Bill Waller,” said finance committee member Dan Fordice, son of the late Gov. Kirk Fordice. “Bill Waller is not afraid to talk about big issues that matter for the future of our children and grandchildren. I appreciate his straight talk and leadership abilities that we need at this important time for our state.”