Welcome to The Homestretch, a daily blog featuring the most comprehensive coverage of the 2023 Mississippi governor’s race. This page, curated by the Mississippi Today politics team, will feature the biggest storylines of the 2023 governor’s race at 7 a.m. every day between now and the Nov. 7 election.
A Tate Reeves win in November would place him in Mississippi history books.
Reeves, the first term Republican governor seeking reelection in November, would become the first person in state history elected to two full terms each as governor and lieutenant governor. Reeves’ predecessor Phil Bryant was elected to and served two full terms as governor, but he only served one term as lieutenant governor.
Reeves would be setting a record that has only been up for grabs since 1987. Before the Mississippi Constitution was changed in the mid-1980s, governors were limited to just one term. Democrat Bill Allain was the first governor eligible to serve two terms. He opted not to seek reelection in 1987.
There have been three governors since the 1980s to serve two terms: Republicans Kirk Fordice, Haley Barbour and Bryant. But none of those also served two terms as lieutenant governor. Reeves would be the first.
Reeves already has recorded another first for Mississippi politics. There has been no other candidate in modern times elected governor after serving two four year terms as lieutenant governor.
Going back to the beginnings of the 1900s, there have been only eight lieutenant governors elected governor, and all of them served only four years before running for and winning the higher office.
But there’s one other way a Reeves victory next month would make history.
Reeves would be among a handful of politicians elected six times to statewide office. Before he was elected to two terms as lieutenant governor, he served two terms as state treasurer.
He was elected treasurer at age 29, the youngest in the modern era, and has served the majority of his adult life in statewide office. But a sixth statewide term wouldn’t break the state’s all-time record.
Democrat George Dale served eight terms as commissioner of insurance, losing in the party primary election in 2007. Both Silas Edward Corley (1940-68) and Jim Buck Ross (1968-96) served seven terms as commissioners of agriculture and commerce.
Heber Ladner served eight terms as secretary of state, opting not to seek reelection in 1980.
If Reeves wants to equal the electoral feats of Ladner and others, he will have to win in November and then run for down ticket offices in future elections. He would be term-limited after another four years as governor and not be eligible to seek the governorship again.
Headlines From The Trail
What We’re Watching
1) We’ve heard the health outcome argument for Medicaid expansion. We’ve heard the economic argument and even the political one. But the moral argument has not always been a focus. A group of religious leaders and health care leaders are clearly trying to change that ahead of the Nov. 7 election. Mississippi Today’s Devna Bose wrote about a health care summit held in Jackson yesterday: “It felt more like church than a health summit at moments inside Duling Hall on Thursday.” When you read Bose’s article, you can’t help but wonder how the morality of health care expansion may sway voters.
2) Speaking of that moral argument, a lecture series begins later this evening at Galloway United Methodist Church in downtown Jackson. Galloway, the home church of Gov. Tate Reeves, will host faith leaders who will advocate for Medicaid expansion, among other things. Mississippi Today’s Bobby Harrison wrote last month about the series. Here’s how Reeves’ pastor Rev. Cary Stockett framed it: “We want it understood that this is a kingdom of God issue, grossly ignored right in the middle of the Bible Belt. We want the people who quote John 3:16 to understand that it matters to Jesus that there are people (our Mississippi neighbors) without real access to good healthcare … and so it should matter to us, too.”
3) There are two weekends left before the Nov. 7 election. Reeves and Presley have been all over Mississippi in recent days, and they’ll looking to take advantage of being on the trail all weekend.