Waller forces Reeves into runoff for Mississippi GOP governor nomination

Published 5:38 am Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. are headed to a runoff for the Republican nomination for governor.

First-term state Rep. Robert Foster was eliminated from the three-person primary Tuesday.

Reeves earned just short of the 50 percent he would have needed to clench the GOP nomination.

Waller received 33 percent of the vote.

GOP Gov. Phil Bryant couldn’t seek a third term. The winner of the Aug. 27 Republican runoff will face Democrat Jim Hood as well as an independent and a Constitution Party candidate in November.

Forty-five-year-old Reeves has presided over the Mississippi Senate for two terms as lieutenant governor after two terms as state treasurer.

Reeves campaigned on a record of tax-cutting. Sixty-seven-year-old Waller said Mississippi needs to spend more money on highways.

Reeves opposes Medicaid expansion. Waller said Mississippi should seek federal permission to let low-income residents purchase Medicaid coverage.

Mississippi, Louisiana and Kentucky are electing governors this year.