Candidates are pushing hard for votes in the final days before the 2019 general election is held across the state of Mississippi.
On the minds of most voters is the race to replace outgoing Gov. Phil Bryant for the state’s highest office. Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is challenged by Democrat Attorney General Jim Hood on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Both candidates have crisscrossed the state seeking voter support while trying to sway uncommitted voters to support them. At the same time, Reeves and Hood want those who already support them to vote on Election Day and get others to do likewise.
Such was the case for Reeves Oct. 29 in Southaven when he stopped at his DeSoto County campaign headquarters on Stateline Road for a “Get Out The Vote” cook out with his support base in the county.
“We are going to win the election on Tuesday, but it is going to be close,” Reeves said. “Turnout is the key. We know here in DeSoto County that if we have a large turnout, if we have a lot of people go vote, that means Republicans win.”
As much as Reeves wants to assume the governorship in Jackson in January, he stressed the importance of the election to the national political scene. He said the impact of what takes place in the Magnolia State is behind President Donald Trump’s appearance on his behalf in Tupelo on Nov. 1.
“It is a proven fact that large turnouts in Mississippi benefit Republicans and conservatives,” Reeves said. “The President and Vice President Pence coming to Mississippi speaks to how important this race is to the President and the Vice President that they are coming to Mississippi in the last days of this campaign.”
One area Reeves touched on during his Southaven appearance was in teacher pay. As President of the Senate, he took some of the heat when the state Legislature only approved a $1,500 increase in pay for teachers and others in education, instead of a $4,000 increase House members were supporting.
Reeves said the state’s Rainy Day Fund is now at a point where the state can afford to put more money into paying teachers if he becomes governor.
“The last time we had a Democratic governor, they left the Rainy Day Fund with $13 million,” said Reeves. “Today, under conservative leadership that’s focused on fiscal responsibility, we have $554 million. We have proposed a $4,300 a year pay raise for Mississippi teachers to be implemented over a four-year period. We’ve looked at the numbers and we know we can do that.”
Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.