Mississippi’s Republican Gov. Tate Reeves won a second term Tuesday evening, beating his Democratic challenger Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, multiple outlets projected.
Reeves beat Presley 52% to 46.6% at the time of this writing, with 86% of the votes in, according to NBC News and CNN. The governor largely campaigned on his administration’s conservative victories on education and the economy, while Presley aimed at tying Reeves to a welfare scandal that took place when he was lieutenant governor.
Between 2017 and 2020, roughly $77 million in federal funding that was meant to go to the state’s poorest residents was redirected toward some of Mississippi’s most wealthy, politically-involved individuals, or was otherwise misallocated, according to Mississippi Today. Presley sought to blame Reeves for the scandal, which involved former NFL quarterback Brett Farve, in campaign ads, which the governor’s campaign rebuked with its own.
Reeves and Presley secured their respective parties nominations in August, where the governor handily beat two lesser-known Republican challengers and the commissioner won unopposed.
The governor won his first term in 2019, where he beat then-Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood by 5 points, and previously served as lieutenant governor and state treasurer for two terms each. Just days before the election, Reeves secured the backing of former President Donald Trump, who overwhelmingly won the state in 2016 and 2020 by margins of roughly 19 and 17 points, respectively.
Presley, cousin to Elvis Presley, was elected as the Northern District’s public service commissioner in 2008, and previously served as Nettleton, Mississippi’s, mayor from 2001 to 2007. The Democrat significantly out-raised Reeves ahead of the election, with Presley bringing in a total of $12.1 million compared to the governor’s $6.5 million, according to WLBT3.
Polling for the majority of the race indicated Reeves would beat Presley anywhere from 1 point to 17 points, according to FiveThirtyEight’s survey compilation.
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