President Donald Trump endorses Tate Reeves ahead of November governor’s race

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Mark Humphrey, Associated Press

President Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd as he finishes speaking at a rally Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, in Johnson City, Tenn.

President Donald Trump endorsed Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves on Twitter Wednesday evening ahead of what is expected to be a close governor’s race with Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood.

“Mississippi, there is a VERY important election for Governor on November 5th,” Trump tweeted. “I need you to Get Out and Vote for our Great Republican nominee, @TateReeves. Tate is strong on Crime, tough on Illegal Immigration, and will protect your Second Amendment… He loves our Military and supports our Vets! Democrat Jim Hood will never give us his vote, is anti-Trump and pro-Crooked Hillary. Get Out and Vote for Tate Reeves on November 5th. He has my Complete & Total Endorsement!”

The president’s endorsement comes ahead of the Nov. 5 general election race for governor between Reeves and Hood — one of three gubernatorial races in the nation this fall, along with Louisiana and Kentucky. All three will draw national attention as observers believe Democratic candidates have the chance to win in all three Southern states.

Reeves has worked hard this year to pair himself with Trump in television and digital advertisements, tweeting about the president more than 50 times in 2019.

“Thank you Mr. President,” Reeves tweeted Wednesday evening after the endorsement. “The Democrats are out-of-control and Jim Hood is completely with them. We have to stand together for the future of our great state.”

Political observers expect the president to visit Mississippi to stump for Reeves sometime before the November election as Trump’s rallies for Republican candidates across the country have become a hallmark of his presidency.

Trump, who has not yet announced a Mississippi or Louisiana stump, visited Kentucky in August to campaign for Matt Bevin, the state’s Republican governor who is running for reelection. Trump visited Mississippi three times in 2018 to stump for U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.

Gov. Phil Bryant, a self-described “close friend” of the president, talked at a GOP unity luncheon in September about the importance of a Trump endorsement to 2019 Republican candidates in ruby red Mississippi.

“We’ll be reaching out to the White House,” Bryant said on Sept. 9. “He’s got a lot of jobs to do, but I hope there will be an opening somewhere along the schedule before November. I hope and I intend to welcome him here when he comes to campaign for Republicans.”

The effects of Trump’s visit — and whether Reeves will receive the “Trump bump,” as it’s been called — will be closely analyzed.

The president is facing an impeachment inquiry in the U.S. House of Representatives after Trump admitted to asking the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s running for the Democratic nomination.

“I actually think there are very few things that could galvanize and energize the Trump base of voters in Mississippi to the extent this could,” Nathan Shrader, chair of the Department of Government and Politics at Millsaps College, told Mississippi Today last week. “An active impeachment inquiry this close to our November election and right before the presidential primaries could fire up the Trump base and ensure that they’ll be more susceptible than ever to a message from the Mississippi Republican Party and Trump when he inevitably steps off Air Force One in Mississippi.”