This race is kind of heating up’ Hood sits back and watches as Republicans battle each other at Neshoba

Hood is considered the front-runner of the eight Democrats running to be governor. “… I know you all came to hear me throw some rocks and the other candidates as well. “But when others are fighting, I have always been told to let them fight. I’m trying to keep my mouth shut on a few things – to save some of these rocks. Tate Reeves was hoping to win a majority of the Republican primary vote and avoid a second round. But, he did mention his Republican opponents as he said that he is the only candidate opposed to expanding Medicaid coverage to primarily the working-poor and opposing raising the gasoline tax to fund road and bridge repairs. His Republican opponents, former Supreme Court Chief Judge Bill Waller Jr., and Robert Foster, stressed that the state needed to alter policies to improve its economy, which, statistically speaking is not keeping up with growth in other states or the country. Reeves was upset by their claims that the state’s economy was slowing, as well as the outgoing Republican governor. Phil Bryant, who endorsed Reeves’ candidacy, and Philip Gunn, Republican House Speaker, disagreed. Gunn, speaking in a defiant tone said that it was “hogwash” to say the state is not on a good economic footing. Bryant stated, “The naysayers” are always there. Bryant added that he has spoken to governors from other states and they are concerned about Mississippi’s economic future. Bryant was the next speaker after Reeves. Bryant greeted Reeves warmly on the Founders Square Pavilion stage. People lined up to hear the candidates from the pavilion’s tine-roofed and sawdust-floored roof. Reeves was expected as the easy winner in the Republican primary. However, recent polls suggest that Foster and Waller might be gaining momentum and could force a runoff, most likely between Waller or Reeves. The final day of the political speeches was hot and humid, with all the major candidates for governor bringing large numbers of supporters. Waller, a Jackson resident spoke as if he was ready for a runoff. Waller stated that his plan to increase Medicaid coverage to the working poor and to invest more money in infrastructure and teacher salaries would help grow the state’s economy and generate excitement and momentum. We need a large program. We need excitement. Waller asked his supporters, “Who wants excitement?” Foster, a freshman House representative from DeSoto County said that people had told him to get more experience in state government before he ran for governor. He said that too many people who remain in state government for a long time are dependent on special interests to fund their campaign contributions. Foster downplayed the endorsement Reeves got from the National Rifle Association and stated that no one is more pro-Second Amendment. Foster stated, “If I’m wearing pants, I’m packing.” Foster stated that he was the sole endorsement he needs. He claimed he has the state’s largest agritourism farm and is “uniquely qualified to be governor.” Waller noted that Foster was the only candidate to have been chief justice of the state Supreme Court and had overseen just one branch of state government. Reeves was the most popular candidate at the event and he stated that he is committed to spending more on public education. He cited high school graduation rates as well as gains on national standardized exams. He said, “The main thing is that conservatives do not have political enemies.” Our political enemies are the policies of the party of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, and of Jim Hood.” Hood informed the crowd that Reeves would talk about Washington liberals if he couldn’t defend his record. Although the main focus was on the Republicans, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate Albert Wilson, Michael Brown and Velesha P. Williams spoke. Robert Shuler Smith, Bob Hickingbottom, and David Singletary, an independent, also spoke. Singletary praised legalization of marijuana. Singletary praised the legalization of marijuana. It is obvious to you and me. In the last six years, our children have left the state faster than any other state in the Union. “We have to do something about that.” _x000D

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