Brandon Presley, Democratic candidate for governor, speaks during the 2023 Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss., Thursday, July 27, 2023. Credit: Eric Shelton/Mississippi Today

Brandon Presley announced on Tuesday that his campaign will begin airing a new ad on more than 20 radio stations that have predominantly Black audiences, the first such ad of the 2023 election cycle from the Democratic nominee for governor. 

The ad, a six-figure purchase, criticizes incumbent Republican Gov. Tate Reeves for his ties to the welfare scandal, his opposition to Medicaid expansion and his inaction on eliminating the state’s grocery tax — common themes of Presley’s campaign.

“Let me tell you about the man that is our governor,” the ad’s narrator says. “He looks down on us. Thinks Mississippians have no good sense. Was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. And has spent his entire time as governor looking out for his big-shot friends instead of us. That’s Tate Reeves.”

Presley’s campaign has aired several ads this year, but the new ad will be the first one it has purchased to communicate directly to Black voters, who make up about two-thirds of Mississippi Democratic Party’s base. For the Democratic nominee to have a chance at an upset in November, he will have to draw high Black voter turnout.

Ron Owens, Presley’s campaign manager, said in a statement that the Democratic nominee’s campaign decided to invest in ways to connect with Black voters because there is “so much at stake in this election.” 

“This November, Mississippians will reject Tate Reeves because he’s had four years and done nothing to help hardworking families get ahead,” Owens said. 

Reeves has previously aired TV ads touting economic investment in the state, signing legislation into law that bans transgender youth from participating in public school athletics and tying Presley to the national Democratic Party.

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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.