These may be glorious August days, but elections never sleep. Today in Mississippi, voters are voting to elect their candidates for state and legislative offices, including governor and lieutenant governor. And Ohioans will vote on a ballot measure that would raise the threshold for passing future constitutional amendments (such as the one on abortion rights this November) from a simple majority to 60 percent (my colleague Nathaniel Rakich Ohio is more on the vote,

Mississippi’s contest for governor will introduce little primary drama as Republican Governor Tate Reeves and Democratic Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley are almost certain to win. to face each other in november, But their impending clash will test just how Republican-leaning Mississippi is, since Reeves isn’t particularly popular and Presley has about as good a resume as Democrats can hope for in the Magnolia State. However, Republicans have a high-profile primary to resolve: the race between an establishment-aligned incumbent and a right-wing populist state senator for the state’s powerful lieutenant governorship.

Can Presley end Democrats’ statewide gloom?

First elected in 2019, Reeves is seeking a second term as governor, but his tenure hasn’t really received positive reviews. Morning Consult Poll The second quarter of 2023 found him tied for the least popular dubious gubernatorial position in the country with a +6-point net job approval rating (48 percent of registered voters approve and 42 percent disapprove). Gave. Such moderate ratings have been a regular thing, as Reeves has never crossed 52 percent approval in Morning Consult polls. In January, 57 percent of voters reported Siena College/Mississippi Today They would prefer someone else to be the next governor, while only 33 percent supported Reeves.

A Weakness for Reeves Is a Far-reaching Scandal Involved misuse of federal welfare funds, From 2016 to 2019, Mississippi Department of Human Services Incorrect spending of over $77 million, much of it to help fund favorite projects for wealthy individuals. Reeves has not been directly involved, but those close to him have come under scrutiny. Last year, Mississippi Today Exposed text messages from 2019 It was suggested by the then Govt. Phil Bryant, under whom Reeves served as lieutenant governor, advised former NFL quarterback Brett Favre to get millions for a volleyball field at the University of Southern Mississippi, Favre’s alma mater and where his daughter played volleyball. Was. Additionally, a personal trainer who worked with Reeves and other Mississippi politicians received $1.3 million of those funds Through a non-profit whose operators have admitted to defrauding the government.

With this hanging over his head, Reeves will face Presley, who could be an unusually strong Democratic nominee. Presley, whom the journalistic gods have ordered me to report second cousin of elvis presleyserving his fourth term representing northern third of Mississippi on the state’s three-member Public Service Commission. This makes him the only remaining Democrat in Mississippi’s executive branch (though his office is not statewide). And Presley has won all four elections for his office by double digits. was unopposed in 2019) despite his district’s largely GOP tilt: In 2020, then-President Donald Trump carried Presley’s seat by 23 percentage points. moderate image of Presley – he describes himself as “pro-life” – and focus on less divisive issues expanding broadband access His success is underlined. Along those lines, Presley has taken a tax cut. central feature of his campaignincluding an advertisement He cuts a car in half with a metal saw to speak on his proposal to cut the state’s license plate tax in half.

Yet despite Reeves’ challenges and Presley’s strength, the Republicans have the upper hand in what little polling we have. Now, some of the surveys come from the campaigns themselves, which historically tend to exaggerate How well their candidate is doing. the only recent survey was early july voting by onmessage to Reeves’ campaign, which found him leading 49 percent to 32 percent. opposite of this, april survey Reeves was found only 3 points ahead, 47 percent to 44 percent, by Impact Research for Presley’s campaign. Final non-partisan poll, April 1 poll Siena College/Mississippi TodaySplit the difference by essentially finding Reeves 49 percent to 38 percent.

Beyond Elections, Reeves Too have a huge financial edge, By August 1, Reeves had $9.4 million In Bank for presley $1.5 million, Now, Presley has spent quite a bit more at this point, including at least $250,000 New ad campaign to add Reeves For state welfare scam. But Reeves will probably have more money to protect his record, and has already started running ads Pushing back at Presley’s new location. The governor is also playing to the state’s large Republican base on social issues. New ad highlights their protest For transgender women playing women’s sports.

More broadly, the state’s fundamentals will make it difficult for Presley to carry on in 2023. Mississippi arguably has the most racially polarized electorate in the country, as white voters overwhelmingly support Republicans and black voters support Democrats almost equally. Clearly, A Prediction for the 2020 Presidential Election from a Group of Academics using the Cooperative Election Studies found that Trump won 82 percent of non-Hispanic white voters and only 13 percent of black voters in Mississippi—the largest gap between white and black voters of any state. Overall, 58 percent Voting-Age Population of Mississippi Non-Hispanics are white and 35 percent are black, so the intense electoral polarization along the lines of race continues to give Republicans a straight path to victory.

If anything, the past gubernatorial election shows that, even if things go the Democrat’s way in Mississippi, winning the gubernatorial election is very difficult. In 2019, former state attorney general Jim Hood lost to Reeves by 5 points, even though he had won four consecutive terms as attorney general (he remains the only Democrat to have won a statewide election in Mississippi since the mid-2000s). Meanwhile, Reeves had survived highly controversial and competitive The GOP primary runoff was against a more moderate Republican who then declined to endorse him. Additionally, the broader election climate seemed favorable to Democrats as then-President Trump had a low approval rating (Though not as low as nationally in Mississippi).

But here in 2023, Presley will face more difficult circumstances than in the hood. Reeves is now an incumbent – they are harder to beat — and he also faces little primary opposition that could lead to turmoil within the party. and presley also has to struggle be unpopular democrat in the white house, The election is about three months away and Presley can’t be completely ruled out, but Reeves is the clear favourite.

race to the bottom for second-in-command

Mississippi’s Lieutenant Governor Is More Powerful Than No. 2 In Most States Because of the agenda-setting power as President of the State Senate, whereby it sets committee assignments for senators and assigns bills to committees. A longtime veteran of Mississippi politics, outgoing Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hausman is seeking a second term. But state Senator Chris McDaniel, who has lost two previous races for the US Senate, is challenging Hausman in the GOP primary, setting up a clash between a conservative establishment figure and a controversial insurgent.

McDaniel has made headlines before, most notably when he narrowly toppled Senator Thad Cochran in the state’s 2014 Republican primary. McDaniel ran to Cochran’s right, Attack on six-term senator as Washington’s creature and pork-barrel spender. But McDaniel’s campaign was beset by scandal when a McDaniel Supporters Group A plot was organized to break into the nursing home of Cochran’s wife and take photographs of her in order to claim that Cochran was having an affair. McDaniel denies involvementbut escape it may have cost him: In primary, he was ahead of cochrane But a hair short of the majority, which forces runoff (the Mississippi is). one of the seven kingdoms which requires the nominees to win a majority to win the primary). in the runoff, turnout increased and Cochran defeats McDaniel by a narrow margin, aided partly by black votersThe Support That Motivated McDaniel unsuccessfully challenging the result, In 2018, McDaniel didn’t even come close to winning, placed third in the all-party primary Appointed in a special election to the Senate behind GOP Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy (Hyde-Smith won the runoff).

Now running for lieutenant governor, McDaniel has also tried to usurp Hausman’s authority, by claiming the incumbent is insufficiently conservative, He has called Hausman “Delbert the Democrat”. criticisms are used hausmann made about trump While serving as Secretary of State it is proof that Haussmann cannot be trusted. For his part, Haussmann have argued He has been a steady, conservative hand to Mississippi’s state government.

but race Is it was fair share of dispute, Very. Perhaps most notably, McDaniel and his colleagues have argued that Hausman actually supports abortion rights – a toxic position in the GOP primary – because the lieutenant governor once served as vice president of a women’s health clinic in Jackson. had worked hausmann denied the claimand a former clinic president previously said Hausmann provided legal services. to the clinic before it began providing abortion services, but McDaniel tried to break the connection,

Housman appears to be favored to stop McDaniel on Tuesday, although it is not a certainty. for one thing, Haussmann spent There was $3.5 million left as of August 1 of this year, and $2.1 million for the final week of the primary campaign. In comparison, McDaniel only spent $1.1 million this year and only $300,000 in the bank. However, an outside group is supporting McDaniel. raised nearly $900,000 in the month before the primary, and it has run ads claiming that Haussman supports abortion rights. but one Early June polling from Siena College/Mississippi Today It also found that Hausman outgained McDaniel 47 percent to 32 percent, and that Hausman also garnered stronger favorability numbers among Republicans than McDaniel. Now, Hausman trailed by just 50 percent in that poll, which could be significant because of the state’s runoff rule. But together, the fundraising and polling suggest that McDaniel would indeed need a surprise to beat Hossman.

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