Mississippians will soon see a lot more of the state’s two leading candidates for governor as Democrat Brandon Presley and Republican Gov. Tate Reeves unveiled new television ads on Tuesday.

Presley began airing his first TV ad of the 2023 campaign cycle, a minute-long video detailing the struggles his family faced while growing up poor in rural Mississippi — a common message he’s pushed throughout his campaign.

“For years my mama worked at this sewing factory,” Presley said in the ad. “She grinded out each day with hands eaten up by arthritis. Those hands prayed for us nightly and loved us always. She was our rock and never let us feel as poor as we really were.” 

The ad goes on to reiterate the Democratic candidate’s support for expanding Medicaid to the working poor, reducing the sales tax on food and lowering fees for state car tags.

YouTube video
Brandon Presley’s new TV ad that began airing on July 11.

Given his low name ID in central and south Mississippi, television ads for Presley, who has served 15 years as north Mississippi’s utility regulator, will be crucial to his quest in trying to oust Republican Gov. Tate Reeves from office. 

Reeves on the same day released his third TV ad of the year, a 30-second clip featuring one of his daughters playing soccer and touting his support for laws that bar transgender youth from competing in sporting events.

“Now, political radicals are trying to ruin women’s sports, letting biological men get the opportunities meant for women,” Reeves said. “We have to draw the line here in Mississippi, and as your governor, you know I will.” 

Reeves, running for a second four-year term as governor, has used anti-trans rhetoric throughout his campaign and highlighted his efforts to prevent trans athletes from competing in women’s sports.

“You see in Mississippi we decided we’re going to let boys play boy’s sports, and we’re going to let girls play girl’s sports,” Reeves said earlier this month in Alcorn County. 

The first-term governor in 2021 signed legislation into law prohibiting trans athletes from playing in women’s sports. Republican Sen. Angela Hill of Picayune authored the legislation and said at the time she did not know of any specific instances of trans athletes trying out for women’s sports in Mississippi. 

YouTube video
Tate Reeves’ new TV ad that began airing on July 11.

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Taylor, a native of Grenada, covers state government and statewide elections. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and Holmes Community College. Before joining Mississippi Today, Taylor reported on state and local government for the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, where he received an award for his coverage of the federal government’s lawsuit against the state’s mental health system.