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Reeves/Presley Governor’s Election This November Will Be a Horse-Race, Early Polls Reveal

Mac Gordon

Donuts on Cake

Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves could be headed back to the banking world after the state’s November general election.

One poll shows Reeves is in disfavor with many Mississippi voters, while another survey indicates he is trailing his main Democratic opponent for the state’s top job.

A poll conducted in January by the Mississippi Today media operation and Siena College shows a majority (57-percent) of Mississippians would support “someone else” over Reeves’ reelection bid for the new term in January. Siena is a private liberal arts college in New York founded by Catholic friars.

That survey cannot be as troubling to Reeves as one in The Clarion-Ledger this month, conducted by political and social activists, showing Reeves behind Democratic challenger Brandon Presley’s 47-percent to Reeves’ 43-percent, with 10-percent undecided. The poll was run by Tulchin Research of San Francisco and published Feb. 14 in the Jackson newspaper.

Mississippi Today-Siena said the news for Reeves wasn’t all bad. It showed that while state voters want somebody else in the governor’s mansion next year, it might not be Presley — despite Presley’s lead in the other poll. Reeves had a slight lead (43% to 39%) over Presley in the MT/SC poll conducted before the Democrat entered the race.

Mississippi Today political reporter Bobby Harrison wrote that Bill Waller Jr. forced a 2019 Republican runoff with Reeves, “despite entering the election late and facing a substantial fundraising disadvantage.” Remember that tidbit if Reeves reenters banking next January. He has already worked for two. “Governor of Mississippi from 2020-2024” would be a nice resume addition.

The MT/Siena poll ran Jan. 8-12 of 821 registered voters in the state. Mississippi Today, an online media source in Jackson, is a “statehouse watchdog” whose coverage has grown “to encompass a myriad of beats beyond politics and policy…,” its website says.

A collection of seasoned reporters – like Harrison – are on the MT staff, which also includes veteran sportswriter Rick Cleveland.

The online publication has aggressively looked into the mismanagement of funds by the Mississippi Department of Human Services. The firm’s main reporter on the scandal, Washington native Anna Wolfe, formerly worked at The Clarion-Ledger.

Wolfe has won numerous awards for her hell-bent journalism and could win many more by the time the MDHS probe is over. Wolfe’s name isn’t one people allegedly involved in the review want to see on Caller-ID.

The Tulchin poll asked voters about the MDHS opprobrium and showed that 55-percent have heard “some” about it.

Montgomery, Al.-based Southern Poverty Law Center and a political activist group conducted The Clarion-Ledger’s polling.

The Medicaid healthcare program for poor and vulnerable citizens was fully broached in both voter surveys. Reeves is against expanding the program to include 230,000 additional Mississippians currently not covered by health insurance.

Presley would expand the Medicaid rolls immediately on his first day in office, if elected. Numerous studies on expanding the program say it would enormously benefit Mississippi’s finances.

Earlier this month, former University of Mississippi Medical Center director and University Chancellor Dan Jones told reporters that Reeves said several years ago that expanding Medicaid would be a good thing. Reeves denies ever saying such.

Mississippi Today also has called Reeves “one of the most unpopular governors in America,” revealed in another voter poll.

With party primaries on Aug. 8 and the general election Nov. 7, there’s plenty of time for more issues to surface, and be assured they will.

Some will be of a stormy nature, such as Presley’s recent podcast with national political observers James Carville and Al Hunt. Presley’s gloves are off.

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