Hernando lawmaker could enter 2019 Mississippi governor’s race

Robert Foster

HERNANDO, Miss. — A first-term Republican Mississippi lawmaker from Hernando says he will announce next week whether he’s running for governor in 2019.

Rep. Robert Foster posted a Facebook video Saturday saying he has been calling state leaders to ask what they think of him running for governor. He issued invitations Wednesday for some sort of announcement next Tuesday.

“I’ve been praying and thinking about this decision for a long time,” Foster, 35, said in the video, shot outside at his family’s farm in northern Mississippi’s DeSoto County.

The current Republican governor, Phil Bryant, cannot seek a third term.

Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is expected to run for governor and would start with significantly more money than others. Reeves had $5.4 million in his campaign fund at the end of 2017.

Petal Mayor Hal Marx has also said he intends to seek the Republican nomination for governor.

Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood announced in October that he’s in the governor’s race. He said he had about $750,000 in his campaign fund.

Another Democratic gubernatorial candidate is Velesha P. Williams , who has never run for public office. Although she has a campaign website, she said she has not started raising money. Williams, 57, retired two years ago from Jackson State University as director of a program that worked on prevention of drug abuse, drunken driving and the spread of HIV.

Williams told The Associated Press in a phone interview Wednesday that she decided to run for governor after having a “Moses moment.”

“The spirit really came to me and said, ‘You know what? You have work to do,’” Williams said. “I am going to be obedient to God’s purpose for my life.”