Republican gubernatorial candidates go head to head in televised debate Tuesday night

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A debate featuring all three Republican candidates for governor will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday on WJTV, Channel 12 in Jackson and aired on multiple television and radio stations statewide.

Republican candidates for governor: Former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., freshman Rep. Robert Foster, R-Hernando and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves of Rankin County, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. of Jackson and state Rep. Robert Foster of DeSoto will debate for 60 minutes on a closed set. Waller and Foster have participated in other debates earlier this year but Tuesday will mark the first time Reeves, viewed as the front-runner in the Aug. 6 primary, also will participate.

The candidates will be questioned by members of the WJTV news team.

Of the debate, Parker Briden, a spokesman for Reeves, said, “He’s looking forward to it and he’s grateful to Nexstar and the other broadcasters for airing it. Every campaign is a marathon and he thinks this event is every bit as important as the Watermelon Festival in Mize or Old Fashioned Day in Hurley.”

In a statement, Waller said, “I’m excited about this debate so people can hear directly from the candidates about how to tackle the big challenges facing Mississippi like fixing our crumbling roads and bridges, addressing the rural health care crisis and how to better support our schools and teachers so they are not the lowest paid teachers in America anymore.”

And Foster called it “an important night for our campaign,” saying he planned to highlight educational reform and tax reform. “This debate will give us the ability to show the public where we stand on the important issues facing Mississippians. It will also show the public who actually has a real plan to help, and who is going to avoid talking about the tough issues.”

The debate also will be carried on various Nexstar-owned television stations and web sites in Hattiesburg, Columbus, Meridian, Memphis, Mobile, Baton Rouge and on Mississippi Public Radio.

Nexstar stations, though, currently are not being carried by AT&T providers, such as U-verse and Direct TV, because of a contractual dispute.

Debate starts at 7 p.m. on WJTV.

Mississippi Today will host a debate watch party at 6:30 p.m. at Sal & Mookie’s, 565 Taylor St., in Jackson. The Mississippi Today political team – Larrison Campbell and Adam Ganucheau – will be on-hand for discussions following the debate.