Top-ticket Mississippi political campaigns are about to bombard voters with millions of dollars in television, digital and radio ads, with some opening salvos already released.
Incumbent Republican Gov. Tate Reeves’ campaign is up on social media with “Mississippi Momentum,” a lengthy video narrated by his wife, Elee. She recounts the governor’s accomplishments and all the challenges the state faced from hurricanes, tornadoes, the pandemic, the media and national liberals under Reeves’ watch.
“When tragedy hit, he sought the help of our God,” Elee Reeves says. “… As first lady I watched it all and I saw it up close. Tate was a leader and the liberal media went nuts … We cannot let the national liberals ruin what makes this the last great place for families.”
But another video Reeves’ campaign posted on social media last week garnered much more attention than his official kick-off video: It’s clips of Clint Eastwood as “the Man With No Name” shooting up a town full of bandits, with Reeves’ face digitally inserted for Eastwood’s. Reeves dual-wields six shooters as he smokes a cheroot, and the usually baby-faced Reeves even sports a scruffy cowboy beard.
Reeves’ likely opponent in November, Democratic Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, kicked off his campaign in mid-January with a polished three-minute video on social media blasting Reeves.
“I’m running for governor because I know Mississippi can do better,” Presley says in the video. “We’ve got a state filled with good people but horrible politicians — and that includes our governor. Tate Reeves is a man with zero conviction and maximum corruption. He looks out for himself and his rich friends instead of the people that put him into office. And he’s been caught in the middle of the largest public corruption scandal in state history.”
Down ticket one notch, the lieutenant governor’s ad battle between incumbent Republican Delbert Hosemann and primary challenger state Sen. Chris McDaniel is already fully enjoined. McDaniel, for weeks has had social media videos decrying Hosemann as a “fake conservative” and #DelbertTheDemocrat.”
Hosemann is countering with videos touting his accomplishments and conservative bona fides including cutting taxes and implementing voter ID. One says, “The next time you vote, remember Delbert Hosemann made your vote secure” and “… Delbert Hosemann kept your personal information from winding up in Joe Biden’s garage.”
In the crucial GOP battleground of the Coast, Hosemann has a social video ad hammering McDaniel on an issue that McDaniel also faced in his first failed run for U.S. Senate in 2014.
“Chris McDaniel turned his back on the Coast after the most devastating hurricane in U.S. history,” the Hosemann ad narrator says. “Chris McDaniel said he didn’t know if he would have voted for Hurricane Katrina recovery funds.” The ad shows texts of McDaniel’s statements back then. “And with thousands of jobs on the line, McDaniel didn’t vote to support improvements at the port of Pascagoula. Not standing up for Katrina relief. Not supporting our economy. Chris McDaniel is out for Chris McDaniel, not the Coast.”
A McDaniel social media video says Hosemann “is no conservative” because he has appointed Democratic senators to chair Senate committees.
“You can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps,” says the ad, which shows pictures of Delbert at a Capital press conference with Democratic senators. “That’s how we know Delbert Hosemann is no conservative. As lieutenant governor Hosemann teamed up with Democrats and appointed 13 different liberals as chairmen of crucial committees … Fake conservative Delbert Hosemann stands with Democrats, not us.”
Hosemann on social media has responded that photos McDaniel used from that press conference on crime cropped out Republicans such as U.S. Rep. Michael Guest and House Speaker Philip Gunn. Also, McDaniel’s ad and posts about Hosemann appointing Democrats to chairmanships doesn’t mention all of Hosemann’s Republican predecessors did the same, in part because there are more Senate committees than there are Republican senators.
McDaniel also has a social media video up claiming “The woke left and lieutenant governor Delbert Hosemann are mad that Mississippi just passed a bill to protect kids from dangerous and radical gender surgeries.” The ad claims Hosemann supported the measure only because it was an election year and he feared a challenge from the right from McDaniel.
Candidates won’t be the only ones running ads this state election cycle. Third party groups, at least for top ticket state races, will also enter the fray.
True Conservatives of Mississippi, a PAC created by Republican operatives Quinton Dickerson and Josh Gregory, has a television ad up hitting McDaniel, saying he’s been ineffective during his long career as a state senator.
“Chris McDaniel says he likes to fight,” the PAC’s ad narrator says. “… In McDaniel’s long political career, what has all this fighting accomplished?
“Since 2014, McDaniel has written only three bills that passed,” the ad says. “Recognizing a football team. Congratulating a pageant winner and naming a week because of mosquitoes.
“Lots of speeches. Lots of big talk. But no substance. No real accomplishments. That’s the real Chris McDaniel.”
McDaniel also has a radio ad up, and despite his hammering Hosemann in social media ads, the spot is rather tame. It says he “will continue to fight for all of Mississippi,” and says, “Mississippi deserves a real, home-grown conservative.”