JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — President Donald Trump announced Friday that he will appear in Mississippi to rally Republicans days before statewide elections.
The Republican president’s reelection campaign announced plans for a rally at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo on Nov. 1, four days before Mississippians go to the polls to elect everything from a governor to county supervisors.
The Trump statement makes no mention of the gubernatorial showdown between Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood. However, Republicans have been hoping for a visit from Trump to boost turnout, and Reeves eagerly greeted the announcement.
“I am proud to welcome President Trump back to Mississippi — a state that is proud to stand behind our President,” Reeves said. “He knows how important it is to defeat Democrat Jim Hood, who supported Hillary Clinton and still works to undermine Trump like the rest of his radical party.”
Reeves has long sought to tie Hood to national Democrats who are unpopular among white voters in Mississippi and tie himself to Trump, who has been popular in the Magnolia State. Hood, though, has tried to emphasize that he would work with Trump and fight the race on local issues. On Friday, Hood said Trump is seeking to rescue Reeves.
“The real reason he’s coming to Mississippi is because Tate Reeves has failed miserably to inspire or excite even his own supporters,” Hood said in a statement. “Tate Reeves can’t hold his own in this race, so he’s looking for someone to hold his hand. And when the president leaves, Tate Reeves will still be here, wallowing in eight years of failed leadership and his inability to do anything to improve the lives of working Mississippians.”
The president will be appearing in the largest city in northeast Mississippi, a region that has historically been Hood’s home base, even as the Democrat has defied the statewide tide toward the GOP.
Trump tweeted support for Reeves on Tuesday and previously on Oct. 3.
“Tate is strong on Crime, tough on Illegal Immigration, and will protect your Second Amendment,” Trump wrote in one Oct. 3 tweet. He continued in another: “He loves our Military and supports our Vets! Get out and Vote for Tate Reeves on November 5th. He has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
Trump traveled to Mississippi in 2018 to campaign for Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith, who had been appointed to the Senate by Bryant after longtime Republican Sen. Thad Cochran retired.
Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, former Fox News contributor Kimberly Guilfoyle, will appear Thursday at the Longleaf Plantation hunting lodge near Hattiesburg to raise money for Reeves. Tickets are $500 each.
Mississippi’s current Republican governor, Phil Bryant, is prohibited by state law from seeking a third term. Two other candidates — independent David Singletary and the Constitution Party’s Bob Hickingbottom — are running low-budget campaigns for governor.
Trump visited Mid-South last October at a Southaven rally to support the election of Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.
I am proud to welcome @realDonaldTrump back to MS—a state that is proud to stand behind our President. He knows how important it is to defeat Jim Hood, who supported Hillary Clinton and still works to undermine Trump like the rest of his Democrat party. https://t.co/1LRe1JV22q pic.twitter.com/50csYH94Sj
— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) October 18, 2019