Democratic challenger raises more campaign cash than GOP incumbent in Mississippi governor’s race

FILE - Mississippi Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, the Democratic nominee for governor, speaks during a campaign stop in Summit, Miss., Sept. 14, 2023. Presley is challenging first-term Republican Gov. Tate Reeves in the Nov. 7, 2023, general election. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Democratic challenger in the Mississippi governor’s race has raised more campaign cash than the Republican incumbent so far this year, but the Republican has more money left to spend in the final weeks of the race, according to finance reports filed Tuesday.

In a state where Republicans hold all statewide offices and a strong majority in the Legislature, first-term Gov. Tate Reeves discounted the fundraising by challenger Brandon Presley, saying Presley received $3 million from the Democratic Governors Association — making up more than one-third of Presley’s collections.

“Ask yourself: why are they dropping historic money on Mississippi to flip it blue?” Reeves wrote on social media. “It’s because they know Brandon Presley will govern like a liberal democrat.”

Presley is a utility regulator and cousin of rock ’n’ roll legend Elvis Presley, and he’s seeking to become Mississippi’s first Democratic governor in 20 years. Ron Owens, his campaign manager, said in a statement that Presley has momentum “to bring change to the governor’s office.”

“Brandon Presley is receiving overwhelming support from Mississippians because they are ready for a governor who will tackle corruption, keep hospitals open, and cut the car tag fees in half,” Owens said.

Finance reports show Presley started this year with about $727,500 in his campaign fund. He has raised about $7.9 million and spent nearly $6.8 million. That left him with about $1.8 million cash on hand as of Sept. 30.

Reeves started this year with nearly $7.9 million in two campaign accounts. He has raised about $5.1 million and spent nearly $6.9 million. He had about $4.2 million cash on hand at the end of September.

Mississippi voters will be heading to the polls Nov. 7 for the general election. Absentee voting has already begun.

Before the recent $3 million contribution to Presley, the Democratic Governors Association donated $750,000 to his campaign in July.

The Reeves campaign received $500,000 on June 23 from the Washington-based Mississippi Strong PAC — a donation that arrived the same day the political action committee received $600,000 from the Republican Governors Association, or RGA. On June 19, Reeves traveled to Alabama to raise money for the RGA, and the Presley campaign criticized Reeves for going to the fundraiser as Mississippi residents were recovering from tornadoes.



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