Top Republican outraises top Dem for Mississippi governor

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves addresses several hundred students, parents and teachers during a school choice rally, part of the National School Choice Week, on the steps of the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. Reeves called for more money for an existing program that pays private school tuition for students with special education needs. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. — The Republican lieutenant governor has raised far more money than the Democratic attorney general in the open race for Mississippi governor.

Candidates had a Thursday deadline to report how much money their campaigns collected and spent during 2018.

In the Republican primary for governor, second-term Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves of Flowood reported having $6.7 million on hand at the end of the year, with $5.2 million in one account and $1.5 million in another . First-term state Rep. Robert Foster of Hernando reported about $12,300.

In the Democratic primary for governor, fourth-term Attorney General Jim Hood of Houston reported having just over $1 million and retired Jackson State University employee Velesha P. Williams of Flora reported $1,379.

Mississippi, Louisiana and Kentucky are the only states with governor’s races this year. Mississippi has the only race without an incumbent, with Republican Gov. Phil Bryant limited to two terms.

Hood is trying to break Republicans’ streak of holding the governorship in Mississippi for six of the past seven terms.

In a news release Thursday, Reeves echoed what he said when he filed qualifying papers in early January: “Mississippi values matter. We’re not going to let them get replaced with the liberal agenda of politicians like Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Jim Hood.”

Hood said in his own release: “Our campaign is about putting Mississippi families first. It’s about Mississippi families who want great schools; safe roads and bridges; quality healthcare; and a governor who is always approachable and in tune to the challenges we face together as a state.”

March 1 is candidates’ qualifying deadline for statewide, regional, legislative and county offices in Mississippi. Primaries are in August, and the general election is in November.

In the open race for lieutenant governor, third-term Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann of Jackson reported having $2.6 million going into 2019, and first-term Democrat Jay Hughes of Oxford reported having $437,462. Hughes loaned tens of thousands of dollars to his own campaign.

In the open race for attorney general, fourth-term Republican state Rep. Mark Baker of Brandon reporting having $378,903, and second-term Republican state Treasurer Lynn Fitch of Ridgeland reported having about $282,769.

The Mississippi Democratic Party chairman, Bobby Moak, has not said whether the party has a candidate running for attorney general.

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