Although he spent millions more dollars and is better known than his opponent, Tate Reeves could not muster a majority to win the Republican nomination for governor.
Reeves won 48.9 percent of the vote. Former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Waller, Jr. won 33.3 percent. Robert Foster, a freshman state legislator from DeSoto County, got 17.8 percent.
The GOP gubernatorial nomination will be resolved in a run off on August 27, two weeks from today.
Reeves has an enormous edge in money, with several million dollars still in his campaign fund, compared to nearly nothing for Bill Waller. Waller’s good showing against Tate Reeves, who was thought to have a lock on the nomination just a few months ago, should allow the former chief justice to raise some serious money, perhaps as much as a million dollars. That would still leave him far short of the millions Reeves already has in hand.
Anybody who has read my Rants knows I consider Reeves a pissant compared to Waller. No need to go into that any further here, except to refer you to what I have previously said in the links below.
I want Bill Waller to win and think he would have a strong chance to be the best Mississippi governor since William Winter left office 35 years ago.
Here are some relevant facts:
- Reeves and Waller are both natives of Jackson. In the three county Jackson metro area — Hinds, Madison, and Rankin counties — Waller won overwhelmingly. Waller got 53.4 percent of the votes in the Jackson metro area. Reeves got just 36.6 percent. Foster took 10 percent.
So, in their hometown, where more folks have actually met and dealt with both Waller and Reeves, Waller thumped Reeves soundly. One could argue that the best thing that could happen for Bill Waller would be for Reeves to actually get out and meet more of the voters face-to-face.
- That will not happen, of course. Reeves will dump millions into television and other advertising. He will ride around the state in a gaudy bus, surrounded by his bevy of high school cheerleaders, and will meet very few voters one-on-one.
- Reeves carried the counties on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, that infamous swamp of sin and iniquity (Sorry. Couldn’t help myself).
- Robert Foster handily carried his home county, populous DeSoto.
- The smarter Republican Party leaders would prefer for Bill Waller to win the nomination, because they think he can beat the Democratic nominee, Attorney-General Jim Hood. Hood won his party’s nomination with nearly 70 percent of the vote statewide — over 90 percent in his home county, Chickasaw.
- Those same well-informed Republicans believe Hood would whip Reeves, who has a reputation for arrogance and strong-arm tactics, in the November general election. Many people who self-identify as Republicans — including a lot of Republican office holders — have fervently declared they will vote for Hood if Reeves is their own party’s nominee.
What could put Tate Reeves over the top in November if he prevails over Chief Justice Waller in the run-off? The answer in one word: Trump.
What Trump did for the inept Cindy Hyde-Smith in last year’s U.S. Senate race, he could just as easily do for Reeves in a race against Hood.
Trump’s motives for putting Hyde-Smith in the U.S. Senate were understandable. He knew he would have the slavish, hero-worshiping sycophant’s vote in his pocket. One can forgive the president for that. That’s smart politics.
But, what value would Tate Reeves be to President Trump? Why would Trump risk offending all the Democrats and a great many of the Republicans by putting it on the line for Tate Reeves? Is that smart politics?
Like the risible Hyde-Smith, Mississippi’s electoral votes are already in the president’s pocket in next year’s election. Trump is a very smart man, but also a big ole fun-loving boy!
It’ll be fun to see what happens.
For more about Waller’s possible path to victory: https://www.nemiss.news/anybody-but-tate-movement-path-victory/MS politics, New Albany MS, Republicn run-off