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.
With one last chance to share their message with voters, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves and Democratic challenger Brandon Presley are taking very different approaches.
In the final few days of the 2023 campaign for governor ahead of the Nov. 7 election, the two campaigns are closing out their months-long, multimillion dollar barrage of television ads.
The Republican governor is letting someone else speak for him, and his Democratic challenger is talking about himself. And considering the trajectory of both campaigns and the two candidates’ weaknesses, the final messages make perfect sense.
With high unfavorability ratings and nearly universal name identification, Reeves probably doesn’t feel pressed to speak directly to voters. At least in TV ads this cycle, the first-term Republican governor has not done a lot of that. If you have a deep likability problem, airing an endorsement from one of the most likable politicians in recent history (at least to Mississippi GOP voters) could be a coup.
Presley, on the other hand, has long struggled with name ID. One recent Democratic poll showed about one-third of Mississippi voters don’t know him. He’s also had to fight big spending from Reeves, who has tried to paint the Democrat as an out-of-touch liberal who is beholden to out-of-state interests. If you need to introduce yourself to voters or combat attacks on your character, cutting an ad talking about your early life and values seems like the right play.
Now the questions become: Does the Trump endorsement enthuse Republican voters the way Reeves needs ahead of Election Day? And can Presley’s message really resonate with people who don’t know him or are on the fence because of the way Reeves has painted him?
Perhaps we’ll learn those answers on Nov. 7.
Headlines From The Trail
What We’re Watching
1) Saturday was the deadline for in-person absentee voting, so we’ll have a sense soon of how early voting stacks up to previous elections.
2) In the lead-up to Tuesday, candidates now have to file reports of donations or spending over $200 with the secretary of state’s office within 48 hours. In close races, eleventh-hour donations can help fund get-out-the-vote efforts.
3) Black voters are the base of the Mississippi Democratic Party, and their turnout on Tuesday would be crucial to a Presley victory. His campaign has made a concerted effort in the homestretch to reach out to Black voters, and there are reports that he has set aside a large amount of campaign money for outreach efforts in the final days of his campaign.