(BrightPress.org) – Republicans in Mississippi feared they may lose control of the governorship as the race between incumbent Gov. Tate Reeves and Democrat challenger Brandon Presley closed to within a single-point lead for Reeves. Reeves had lost a major lead of 8 to 11 points from previous polling, putting the candidates in a very tight race.
Presley, a second cousin of Elvis Presley, leveraged his famous family name to great success, including raising over $5 million for the 2023 election. Most of that came from the Democratic Governor’s Association (DGA) which pumped Presley’s campaign to the tune of $3.75 million, representing the vast majority of his campaign contributions.
Reeves was also burdened with a fraud scandal involving misspent welfare money while he was lieutenant governor. Reeves has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and is currently engaged in litigation against over two dozen businesses or individuals to retrieve some of the taxpayer dollars.
Presley weaponized the scandal to his advantage during their only debate last Wednesday, November 1st. He suggested Reeves was “bought and paid for” and called him the poster child for a corrupt system. Reeves countered that Presley was the recipient of millions of donor funds from out of state and called his supporters “far-left radicals” from coastal states.
Reeves received a last-minute endorsement from Donald Trump. Trump took Mississippi in 2020 and 2016, suggesting the boon may help Reeves secure victory. Trump referred to him as a friend and said he’s done a “fantastic job” in the role. He further suggested that Presley was funded by “Joe Biden’s people” and that funding would force Presley to be a mere puppet for the regime.
Independent candidate Gwendolyn Gray dropped out of the contest in October. She has thrown her support to Gov. Reeves. The ballots were locked in before she dropped out, however. Should neither major candidate receive a majority of the votes, a run-off will be scheduled for late November.
Neither Presley nor Reeves returned a request for comment.
The tense showdown finally drew to a close on Tuesday, November 7th, when Reeves won his second term despite Reeves’ aggressive push for a rare Democrat victory. Several polling places had to stay open an extra hour due to a shortage of ballots; some Democrat counties had severely underestimated voter turnout.
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