OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Democrats in Mississippi believe they have a real shot at electing a party member to the governor’s office as the current state chief executive, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves, becomes increasingly unpopular.
The state hasn’t had a Democratic governor in 19 years, but according to a new Mississippi Today/Sienna College survey, just one in three state residents, or 33 percent, would vote to reelect Reeves. The poll found that 57 percent would choose his opponent.
This, despite the fact that former President Donald Trump handily won Mississippi by 16 points in the 2020 election.
Nevertheless, Democrats have hope that Brandon Presley, a cousin of Tupelo-born rock-and-roll giant Elvis Presley and the Northern District Commissioner, can become the first Democrat elected to the governor’s office, Politico is reporting, noting that people appear to be excited about him over his perceived strong track record and political talents.
The outlet noted further:
Reeves has middling poll numbers and clashed with some other state Republicans, but he secured his party’s nomination since several potential primary challengers bowed out, after sniffing around Reeves’ campaign for weakness.
Presley’s appeal for Democrats goes well beyond his connection to The King. Democrats believe that his record as a public official — combined with what would need to be a strong campaign and a weakened incumbent — gives them a chance to break the GOP’s streak of dominance over state government. It would follow a similar path to other recent Democratic governors elected in red states like Louisiana, Kentucky and Kansas.
“He’s a great retail politician and a real good campaigner,” former Clinton-era Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, a Democrat who ran for Senate in 2018 and again in 2020, said of Presley. “He will probably raise enough money.”
Still, in the same poll, Reeves nevertheless held a 4-point lead over Presley, Politico added, despite being rapped for alleged corruption, which Presley has hit upon already.
“We’ve got a state filled with good people, but horrible politicians. Tate Reeves is a man with zero conviction and maximum corruption,” Presley said in a video announcing his run. “He looks out for himself and his rich friends instead of the people that put him into office.”
Mississippi deserves leaders who fight for our families, children and workers rather than themselves and their rich friends. We deserve leaders who will never forget where they came from or who put them in office.
That's why I'm running for Governor of Mississippi. pic.twitter.com/hyQzrLX0X1
— Brandon Presley (@BrandonPresley) January 12, 2023
“We can build a Mississippi where we fight corruption, not embrace it. Where we cut taxes, lower the cost of healthcare and create good jobs. A Mississippi where we finally focus on the future, not the past.”
The Daily Caller added: “Reeves, meanwhile, has battled numerous members of his own party, some of whom have not hidden their disdain for him. Reeves has developed a reputation as someone that creates new enemies that even Republican House Speaker of Mississippi Philip Gunn reportedly shares a tense relationship with Reeves, and planned a run to unseat him.
“Although state Democrats are optimistic about Presley’s chances, some see the run as reminiscent of Democrat state Attorney General Jim Hood’s failed 2019 attempt to defeat Tate Reeves. Hood was the only Democrat serving in state-wide elected office, and still lost to Reeves by a 5-point margin,” the outlet continued.
Next year, Republicans are hoping to make up for a less-than-stellar midterm performance, when the party barely won a House majority and lost a seat in the U.S. Senate, despite President Joe Biden’s unpopularity.
Iconic conservative commentator Mark Levin went scorched earth following the November elections and addressed Republicans’ “underwhelming performance” during his Fox News show.
During the opening monologue on his show, “Life, Liberty & Levin,” he told viewers that the expected Republican gains were “mathematically impossible” and never indicated a “red wave,” despite polling and predictions from many that claimed Democrats were posed to underperform.
“I noticed that many of the same people who were wrong about a red wave are now telling us what to think about a non-red wave. The experts, the consultants, the ruling class, the media, and the politicians. We need to think for ourselves, enough of the static. I said before the election, and I said repeatedly here and on the radio: Forget about the red wave. Forget about a red tsunami. Forget about Armageddon and vote,” Levin began.
In the Senate, Republicans had to defend 20 of the 34 seats up for re-election. To win the majority, Republicans would have had to “tap into” the 14 Democrat incumbent seats, the host explained.