Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood will announce on Wednesday in his hometown of Houston plans to run for governor in 2019, he confirmed late Monday.

Mississippi Today first reported that Hood will announce his gubernatorial bid in a two-day, six-stop statewide tour starting with a press conference at the Chickasaw County Courthouse in Houston.

But late Monday Hood released a statement, saying, “Out of respect for the Brookhaven police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty last weekend, I will suspend my planned statewide announcements until further notice. I will make a single announcement in my hometown … so that I can attend the funerals of these brave officers on Wednesday and Thursday. Please keep the families of Patrolman James White and Corporal Zach Moak and all of the Brookhaven Police Department in your thoughts and prayers.

The Houston event will occur at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The four-term attorney general – the state’s lone statewide Democratic elected official – has for months publicly flirted with a gubernatorial bid, telling reporters on numerous occasions that he is considering a bid and had been encouraged to run by both Democrats and Republicans.

“I don’t know the answer to your question at this point. I do know that we’ve got to change what we’re doing over there” at the Capitol, he said in 2016 in response to a question about a potential gubernatorial run. “We can’t keep on doing what they’re doing over there right now.”

Hood’s campaign team had planned to hold public events Wednesday not only in Houston, but also in Jackson, and on the Mississippi Coast. Thursday, the campaign had planned to go to Hattiesburg, Indianola and Hernando, according to sources.

Hood is considered the heavy favorite to win his party’s nomination for governor. Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is considered the frontrunner for the GOP nomination.

Reeves has not yet announced whether he’ll run for governor, but he reported $5.4 million in cash on hand in January campaign finance reports. Hood raised $662,500 and spent $305,000 in 2017, bringing his total cash on hand to $656,000.

Hood is believed to offer Democrats their best chance to regain the governor’s mansion since 2003 when Republican challenger Haley Barbour defeated incumbent Ronnie Musgrove in a hotly contested race.

But Hood routinely polls as one of the state’s most popular politicians. Hood has focused on cybercrimes during his tenure as attorney general.

His use of outside legal counsel, particularly to pursue lawsuits against large corporations, has been controversial at times – particularly among Republicans.

In recent months, while Hood has admitted contemplating a run for governor, he said he was waiting for his wife, Debbie, to OK the campaign. Sources said that Debbie Hood will introduce her husband at the Wednesday event.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story published on our site before the attorney general issued a press release suspending his planned statewide announcements.

Adam Ganucheau

Adam Ganucheau, as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief, oversees the newsroom and works with the editorial team to fulfill our mission of producing high-quality journalism in the public interest. Adam has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for AL.com, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adam earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi.

Larrison Campbell

Larrison Campbell is a Greenville native who reports on politics with an emphasis on public health. She received a bachelor’s from Wesleyan University and a master’s from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.Larrison is a 2018 National Press Foundation fellow in public health, a 2019 Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts fellow in health care reporting and a 2019 Center for Health Journalism National Fellow.

Bobby Harrison

Bobby Harrison, Mississippi Today’s senior capitol reporter, covers politics, government and the Mississippi State Legislature. He also writes a weekly news analysis which is co-published in newspapers statewide. A native of Laurel, Bobby joined our team June 2018 after working for the North Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo since 1984. He is president of the Mississippi Capitol Press Corps Association and works with the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute to organize press luncheons. Bobby has a bachelor's in American Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi and has received multiple awards from the Mississippi Press Association, including the Bill Minor Best Investigative/In-depth Reporting and Best Commentary Column.