Reeves defeats Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood with last minute push from President Donald Trump
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
JACKSON, Mississippi (CFP) — Mississippi Republican Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves has capped a 16-year ascent through the ranks of state politics by capturing the governorship, extending the GOP’s lock on the office for another four years.
Reeves — buoyed by a pre-election visit to Tupelo by President Donald Trump — defeated Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood in the November 5 vote by a margin of 52 percent to 47 percent.
“This is the 12th time I have woke up on a Tuesday morning and put my fate in the hands of the good Lord and the voters of Mississippi,” Reeves told supporters in a victory speech in Jackson. “The Lord always gets it right, and I think the people of Mississippi usually get it right.”
Republicans also swept elections for lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer and agriculture commissioner to continue the GOP’s dominance in the Magnolia State.
Democrats, who last won a governor’s race in 1999, were hoping that Hood — running to the right of national party on contentious social issues such as abortion and gun control — could break through against Reeves, who had to fight his way through a contentious GOP primary and runoff.
Hood, the only Democrat left holding statewide office, had won four races for attorney general but could not make the leap to the state’s top office in a state Trump carried by 28 points in 2016.
In his victory speech, Reeves thanked Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for coming to Mississippi to campaign on his behalf.
“It would have been easy for them to ignore an election for state office in little ol’ Mississippi,” Reeves said. “But they paid atention. They showed up, and they worked hard. And I will never, ever forget their support.”
The win by Reeves, 45, completes an ascent through state politics that began when he was elected as state treasurer in 2003 at age 29. After two terms as treasurer, he was elected twice as lieutenant governor and will now assume the state’s top political job in January.
The incumbent governor, Republican Phil Bryant, was term limited.
Republicans also retained their large majorities in both house of the legislature, although they fell short of getting a two-thirds majority in the House.