Four-term Attorney General Jim Hood easily won the Democratic nomination for governor over seven lesser known candidates.
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith was the only other Democratic candidate for governor to hold an elected office.
With about 40 percent of the vote counted, media outlets called the election for Hood. Late Tuesday, it looked as though Hood had garnered just less than 70 percent of the vote. Lorman minister Michael Brown has just over 11 percent. Shuler Smith had about 7 percent.
“We can do this. We are halfway home,” Hood told an enthusiastic crowd at his watch party at Duling Hall in Jackson.
Hood, Mississippi’s only statewide elected Democrat, was introduced Tuesday night by former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy. Espy, who in 1986 became the first African American to represent Mississippi the U.S. House since Reconstruction, ran and lost an election for the U.S. Senate last year.
To win in November, Hood will need a strong turnout among black voters and a higher percentage of white voters than other Democrats running for governor have been able to garner in recent elections. Ronnie Musgrove in 1999 was the last Democrat to win a gubernatorial election.
Espy told the crowd Hood would work for all Mississippians, but particularly poor, working families.
“Jim Hood has made the attorney’s general office into an office that looks like Mississippi,” Espy said. “Mississippi is diverse. Mississippi is inclusive. Jim Hood has practiced this every day.”
Hood, flanked by his wife, Debbie, and his daughter Anna Belle, told the crowd, as he has during the campaign, he would work to improve education, health care and transportation. He also again criticized the multiple tax cuts passed by the Republican controlled Legislature in recent years, saying the state would have money to solve its problems if not for the multiple “corporate giveaways.”