Who will take charge in the Magnolia State following the Mississippi governor election 2019?
Of the three states choosing governors in the 2019 off-year elections, Mississippi is the only state guaranteed to have a new chief executive in 2020. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) is term-limited after serving eight years in the governor’s office, so both parties will be searching for their standard-bearers to replace him.
Mississippi politics was in the news late in 2018 as the eyes of the country were on the 2018 Mississippi US Senate special election. Incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) won, but the strong performance of Mike Espy (D) raised hopes that perhaps Democrats could become competitive here once again. Republicans are on a win streak in Mississippi, taking the last four gubernatorial elections and holding all but one statewide office. That one statewide office holder is running, by the way.
Do the Democrats have a shot here, or will Mississippi remain red?
Mississippi Governor Election 2019 Candidates
Declared candidates list updated July 27, 2019; candidates by party shown in surname alphabetical order
|Robert Foster (State Representative, 28th District)|
|Tate Reeves (Lieutenant Governor)|
|Bill Waller Jr. (Former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice)|
|Michael Brown (Teacher)|
|William Compton Jr. (Teacher)|
|Jim Hood (Attorney General)|
|Robert Ray (Author)|
|Robert Shuler Smith (District Attorney, Hinds County)|
|Gregory Wash (Cartoonist)|
|Velesha Williams (Army veteran)|
|Albert Wilson (Businessman)|
Mississippi Governor Election 2019: Early Look
Mississippi Governor Election Day 2019
Primary: August 6, 2019
Primary Runoff: August 27, 2019
General Election: November 5, 2019
Mississippi Governor Election 2019 Results
Tate Reeves, the current lieutenant governor, will become the 65th governor of Mississippi in January 2020. In order to do that, Reeves defeated longtime state attorney general Jim Hood (D) by about five points. Reeves served two terms as lieutenant governor, while Hood took office as attorney general in 2004. Republicans would go on to flip the AG race with Hood’s departure.
The Mississippi map in 2019 was much bluer than in 2015, when Phil Bryant (R) was re-elected in a landslide.
Given the large swing of over 14 points to the Democrats, a number of counties turned blue. Most notable among them is Madison County, a typically-Republican county in the Jackson suburbs which Donald Trump carried by 16 points.
Reeves did well enough in Rankin County, the Memphis suburbs, and the Gulf Coast to offset the reliable sea of blue on the Mississippi Delta.
Mississippi Governor Election 2019 Primary Results
Tate Reeves, the lieutenant governor, was the clear first-place finisher on election night for the Republicans, but was just over a point short of the majority he needed to avoid a runoff. Bill Waller and Robert Foster split off enough of the vote to force Waller into a runoff with Reeves on August 27.
Reeves, the assumed frontrunner in the race, must fight on to claim the GOP nomination. Despite winning all but eight counties in the state, he still could not scrape together enough votes to dodge the runoff. This is because Reeves lost in several crucial counties. One was DeSoto County, northern Mississippi and suburban Memphis, where Robert Foster won by nine points. Another was Rankin County, including suburban Jackson and a big-time GOP stronghold, where Waller won by three points. Finally, there were Madison County (also suburban Jackson) and Hinds County (Jackson itself) where Waller won by double-digits. Tate Reeves won the Gulf Coast counties comfortably.
There was no sense in making a map for the Democratic primary: Jim Hood, the state’s attorney general, won every county in his electoral rout. Hood totalled over 68 percent of the vote, beating back weak and divided opposition. He faced seven other candidates, none of whom took over 12 percent. As he cleared the 50 percent threshold with ease, Hood is assured of his spot in the November general election.
Mississippi Governor Election 2019 Analysis, January 20, 2019
It would seem at this early stage that Tate Reeves and Jim Hood are the men to beat in their respective primaries. As for a general election matchup, opinion polling on this race is so old that that’s the only thing about it which we care to mention. (Link: Ballotpedia)
Reeves has the advantage of being a Republican in Mississippi. That would make him the presumptive favorite to win the election, but do not discount Jim Hood. The state’s only elected Democrat officer, Hood is a four-term attorney general who has won all of his elections decisively since 2003. He is a factor in Mississippi politics and is the most prominent candidate Democrats could offer in the state at this time.