Tate Reeves and Bill Waller spar in Republican governor debate

Published 9:27 pm Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Two Republicans running for Mississippi governor were asked during a televised debate Wednesday night to name one disagreement they’ve had with current Republican Gov. Phil Bryant.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said he and Bryant have been in step up to 98% of the time on big issues, including restricting abortion.

“We disagreed on a couple of budget items here and there,” Reeves said.

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Retired Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. offered a longer list, saying lines at driver’s license offices have been too long and the state crime lab has received too little money.

“Every sheriff I’ve talked to has waited a year and a half or two years for an autopsy. That’s unacceptable,” Waller said.

Bryant could not seek a third term and has endorsed Reeves. The candidate eliminated from the three-person Republican primary on Aug. 6, state Rep. Robert Foster, has endorsed Waller.

Reeves initially received 49% of the vote and Waller received 33%. They are competing in a runoff Tuesday, and the winner will advance to the Nov. 5 general election to face Democrat Jim Hood, Constitution Party candidate Bob Hickingbottom and independent candidate David Singletary.