‘Conservative outsider’ from Hernando enters race for Mississippi governor

Robert Foster

JACKSON, Miss. — A first-term Republican state lawmaker said Tuesday that he’s running for Mississippi governor in 2019 as a “conservative outsider.”

Rep. Robert Foster of Hernando announced his campaign Tuesday evening at an event in DeSoto County and in a video posted to social media.

“I grew up in a small-business family that taught me about hard work and the Christian faith. And these are the values that I’m proud to say we are instilling in our children,” Foster, 35, said in the video that showed him, his wife Heather and their two children at their family farm.

The farm runs as an agriculture tourism business with berry picking, a corn maze and Christmas tree sales.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant cannot run again in 2019 because he is limited to two terms.

Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is expected to run for governor, though he has not announced his candidacy. Reeves had about $5.4 million in his campaign fund at the end of 2017 and would enter the governor’s race with significantly more money than any other candidate. Another Republican, Petal Mayor Hal Marx, has announced for governor.

Foster told The Associated Press on Monday that he feels a “calling” to run for governor but has not started to raise money.

“The reason why I have been led to consider running is not based on promises of any campaign contribution or endorsement,” he said.

Democrats already in the governor’s race are Attorney General Jim Hood and retired Jackson State University employee Velesha P. Williams. Hood had $656,400 in his campaign fund at the end of 2017. Williams is making her first run for public office and said last week that she has not started raising money.

Candidates’ qualifying deadline is in March. Party primaries are in August, and the general election is in November.

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