Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves fends off Democratic challenger Brandon Presley

ReevesTate 091522 AP Rogelio V Solis

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) was projected to win reelection over Democrat Brandon Presley to secure a second term, according to Decision Desk HQ.

Reeves was expected to have the edge in Tuesday’s election, although Presley put up what many observers considered a surprisingly competitive fight to try and flip the governor’s seat in the ruby-red state. 

Reeves won with the backing of former President Trump in a conservative stronghold state that hasn’t elected a Democratic governor in 20 years.

In 2019, Reeves won by 5 points against Democrat Jim Hood, then the state’s attorney general, to fill the seat left empty by his term-limited Republican predecessor. 

Democrat Presley, a public service commissioner for the northern district of the state and the distant cousin of Elvis Presley, was noted as a strong candidate. Despite the ruby-red state, some saw opportunity for a possible flip as incumbent Reeves faced concerns about his popularity and ties to a welfare funds scandal in the state, and after Reeves’s narrow 2019 win. 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, chair of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), told The Washington Post earlier this year that “Mississippi is the sleeper,” citing Reeves’s unpopularity.

The nonpartisan election handicapper Cook Political Report shifted its assessment of the Mississippi gubernatorial race last week from “likely” to “lean” Republican as Election Day drew nearer.

Presley outraised Reeves heading into November, according to reports on filings from the third fundraising quarter, though the incumbent had more left to spend.

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