Tuesday saw the Republican governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, win a second term in the conservative state wherein his party is in the majority.
Tate Reeves overcame opponent Brandon Presley, who actively campaigned and raised more money to give Democrats a historically uncommon statewide win in the Deep South.
Tate Reeves announced to jubilant supporters at a party in the Jackson area of Flowood that Mississippi was gaining ground. This, he said, was Mississippi’s moment.
Presley presented Reeves with an unexpectedly tough challenge in the deeply red state that hasn’t produced a Democratic governor in over 20 years.
In summary, Tate Reeves, 49, served as lieutenant governor and the treasurer of the state for two terms each. 2019 saw his initial election as governor.
This GOP stronghold had exceptionally close competition in the race. However, Reeves won with a platform emphasizing increased jobs, low unemployment, and educational advancements. Additionally, he portrayed Presley as a liberal who was out of step with Mississippi and supported by out-of-state donors.
Numerous articles and surveys before the election implied that Brandon Presley was in the running for the presidency and that Mississippi may replace Georgia. According to early results on Tuesday, Tate Reeves appeared to be going for the same victory as in 2019, when he beat Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood by roughly 5% after winning the Republican nomination in a runoff against Bill Waller by a margin of 8.2%.
Democratic voters were drawn to Presley because he supported expanding Medicaid and lowering grocery taxation. To inspire historically high numbers of Black Mississippians to cast ballots, Presley also took part in campaigning in predominantly Black regions like the Delta.
Tate Reeves’ success spares him from what would have been a startling and humiliating upset. For twenty years, the state has been governed by Republicans, with Reeves’ two predecessors, Phil Bryant and Haley Barbour, winning relatively easy reelection.
The reason for the intense rivalry between the two parties in the race wasn’t any significant changes in Mississippi politics, but rather Reeves’ shortcomings as the incumbent and Presley’s advantages.
Republican political strategists openly worried for weeks about Reeves’ capacity to inspire the party’s grassroots. Republican politicians bombarded the media in the last days of the campaign, pleading with voters to turn out. Notably, the Reeves campaign released a video endorsement coming from Donald Trump, the former president, on Tuesday, less than a week from now, and it played nonstop on television stations around the state.
Voters in the crucial Democratic stronghold in the state’s largest county had to wait in huge lines at polling booths as votes ran out, throwing a wrench in the closely contested race. All polls in the county were mandated by a judge to stay open for an additional hour, until 8 p.m. CST. Four polling locations in some Jackson suburbs were ordered by a different court to stay open until 9 p.m. for voting.
Reeves’ campaign brought in $6.3 million this year, while Presley’s raised $11.3 million. However, Reeves had more money when the year began. By the end of October, Reeves had spent $11 million and had $1.2 million, while Presley had spent $10.8 million and had $1.3 million remaining.
How Republican Tate Reeves’ Voters Supported Him
By Tuesday at midnight, with 7% of the vote still to be tabulated, Presley had narrowed the gap between herself and Reeves to just 39,000 votes. At 11:29 p.m., the Associated Press declared the contest in favor of Reeves; nevertheless, after all was said and done, the result was considerably closer than many had initially thought.
By Wednesday lunchtime, Reeves had 51.8% (406,247) of the votes cast throughout the state, with Presley coming in second with 46.9% (367,562) as well as third-party challenger Gwendolyn Gray with 1.4% (10,713). There were insufficient ballots available on Election Day in the most populous county in the state.