Mississippi gubernatorial candidate not going for 'nice guy'

AP

Print Article

  • Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, left, shakes the hand of his GOP gubernatorial runoff opponent former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice and gubernatorial candidate Bill Waller Jr., in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, prior to the start of their televised debate. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • 1

    Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, left, answers a question as his GOP gubernatorial runoff opponent former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., listens during their televised debate in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • 2

    Former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., answers reporter's question following a televised debate against his GOP gubernatorial runoff opponent, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • 3

    Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves answers reporter's question following a televised debate against his GOP gubernatorial runoff opponent, former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • 4

    Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves answers a question during a GOP gubernatorial runoff debate against former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice and gubernatorial candidate Bill Waller Jr., unseen, in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • 5

    Former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Waller Jr., answers a question during a GOP gubernatorial runoff debate against Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, unseen, in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • 6

    Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, laughs, prior to a GOP gubernatorial runoff debate against former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice and gubernatorial candidate Bill Waller Jr., right, in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • 7

    FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2019 file photograph, Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood, a gubernatorial candidate, speaks to supporters, in Jackson, Miss., after winning the party primary. Hood spoke Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, at a locally owned grocery store in the Delta town of Indianola of wanting to reduce the state's 7 percent sales tax on groceries to give working people a break. (AP Photo/Charles A. Smith, File)

  • Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, left, shakes the hand of his GOP gubernatorial runoff opponent former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice and gubernatorial candidate Bill Waller Jr., in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, prior to the start of their televised debate. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • 1

    Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, left, answers a question as his GOP gubernatorial runoff opponent former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., listens during their televised debate in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • 2

    Former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., answers reporter's question following a televised debate against his GOP gubernatorial runoff opponent, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • 3

    Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves answers reporter's question following a televised debate against his GOP gubernatorial runoff opponent, former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • 4

    Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves answers a question during a GOP gubernatorial runoff debate against former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice and gubernatorial candidate Bill Waller Jr., unseen, in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • 5

    Former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Waller Jr., answers a question during a GOP gubernatorial runoff debate against Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, unseen, in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • 6

    Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, laughs, prior to a GOP gubernatorial runoff debate against former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice and gubernatorial candidate Bill Waller Jr., right, in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • 7

    FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2019 file photograph, Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood, a gubernatorial candidate, speaks to supporters, in Jackson, Miss., after winning the party primary. Hood spoke Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, at a locally owned grocery store in the Delta town of Indianola of wanting to reduce the state's 7 percent sales tax on groceries to give working people a break. (AP Photo/Charles A. Smith, File)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) Republican Tate Reeves was a 29-year-old banker and political novice when he won his first statewide office in Mississippi in 2003. After two terms as treasurer and the next two as lieutenant governor, Reeves now has his sights set on becoming governor.

To advance to the Nov. 5 general election ballot and face four-term Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood for the state's highest office, Reeves must first win his own party's nomination. Doing so will require overcoming an obstacle of his own making: a reputation as a hard-nosed politician who's not afraid to make enemies.

Teachers upset about tight education budgets gave him the silent treatment when he appeared before them this the summer. Roadbuilders say his fondness for frugality has left the state with crumbling highways and perilous bridges.

Reeves, 45, is competing in a Republican primary runoff Tuesday against Bill Waller Jr., 67, a retired chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court. Waller, who has a courtly demeanor and an easy smile, is also a retired brigadier general in the Mississippi National Guard and son of the late Gov. Bill Waller Sr., a moderate Democrat who served from 1972 to 1976.

Mississippi, Louisiana and Kentucky are the only states electing governors this year, and Mississippi has the only race without an incumbent. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant is limited to two terms, and he's endorsing Reeves. Hood is trying to become Mississippi's first Democratic governor since Ronnie Musgrove was unseated in 2003, but that's a tough challenge in a conservative state that Donald Trump won comfortably in the 2016 presidential election.

In the Aug. 6 Republican primary, Reeves received 49% to Waller's 33%. The third-place candidate, state Rep. Robert Foster, has endorsed Waller.

Reeves, who is spending more than Waller on the campaign, carried 74 of the state's 82 counties in the primary, but lost close to home.

"He failed to carry his precinct," Waller said in an interview Wednesday. "He failed to carry his county. I think that's significant."

Waller has a TV ad portraying himself as the adult in the race while a child who resembles Reeves, wearing khaki pants and blue dress shirt, wreaks havoc at a birthday party.

The likeability gap is such an issue that Reeves is running an ad in the closing days of the campaign in which he looks directly at the camera and says: "Now here's something you won't see often in politics. I'm here to tell you my opponent Bill Waller is a nice guy. I respect him, but I disagree with his ideas."

The candidates have sharp differences on two issues that have dominated discussion: gasoline taxes and Medicaid.

Waller proposes increasing the gas tax to pay for highways. He also wants to let people with low-paying jobs purchase Medicaid coverage, similar to a plan that Indiana adopted when Vice President Mike Pence was governor. Waller says the influx of federal money would help keep rural hospitals open.

Reeves opposes both ideas.

"I think Obamacare was a mistake. Judge Waller would expand Obamacare in our state and add 300,000 more Mississippians to the government rolls," Reeves said during a debate Wednesday. "I think taxes are too high. Judge Waller would raise the gas tax. ... If you want higher taxes and more Obamacare, Judge Waller may be your candidate. But if you want a real conservative leading the party in the November general elections, I'm your man."

Waller said that in the first round of primary voting, more than 50% of people agreed with his proposals.

"We need help with health care, education, roads and bridges," Waller said. "I'm the candidate that can win in November, and I'm the best conservative to lead us forward."

____

Follow Emily Wagster Pettus: http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus.

      

Print Article

Read More Political

No millennial bump for Buttigieg, but hints of broad appeal

AP

September 15, 2019 at 7:08 am | DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Pete Buttigieg would like to turn the fight for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination into a contest about generational change. But there's one looming problem: He has y...

Comments

Read More

Don't vote? The Trump campaign would like a word with you

AP

September 14, 2019 at 5:03 pm | FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) Ashley Arentz is a political unicorn. The 28-year-old Marine from Jacksonville, North Carolina, didn't vote in 2016, and she wasn't even registered to vote in the state....

Comments

Read More

Biden's 'record player' just 1 of his vintage references

AP

September 14, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Joe Biden's suggestion that parents leave a record player on to teach their babies better vocabulary was a head-scratching (needle-scratching?) moment in Thursday's debate. But it was hardly the ...

Comments

Read More

Far from debate spotlight, Williamson keeps campaigning

AP

September 14, 2019 at 10:20 am | ATLANTA (AP) Marianne Williamson's voice dropped to a near whisper, then soared preacher-style to the rafters. "There are more lovers than haters in America. But those who hate, hate with convi...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2019 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X