Republican Tate Reeves wins Mississippi governor’s race, defeats Jim Hood

National News

FILE – This combination image of Oct. 10, 2019, file photos shows Democratic State Attorney General Jim Hood, left, and Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves during the first televised gubernatorial debate at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss. The Democratic nominee for governor, Hood, is in his fourth as attorney general. The Republican nominee for governor, Reeves, is in his second term as lieutenant governor. They are on the ballot Tuesday, Nov. 5, along with two lesser-known candidates. The winner will succeed Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, who is limited by state law to two terms. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Republicans are keeping their hold on the governorship in Mississippi, despite facing the best-funded Democrat to run for the position in more than a decade.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves on Tuesday defeated Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood and two candidates who ran low-budget campaigns.

Reeves will succeed Gov. Phil Bryant, who is limited by state law to two terms.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both traveled to Mississippi in recent days to campaign for Reeves, who is completing his second term as lieutenant governor after serving two terms as the elected state treasurer.

Reeves, 45, campaigned on keeping taxes low and limiting government regulation of businesses. He also said that a vote for Hood is akin to a vote for “liberal” national Democrats, including U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Hood, 57, is finishing his fourth term as attorney general. For three of those terms, he has been the only Democrat holding statewide office in Mississippi.

Hood’s high-profile gubernatorial race came four years after the party’s nominee was Robert Gray, a long-haul truck driver who didn’t vote for himself in the primary, raised little money and lost the general election by a wide margin.

Hood this year campaigned on improving schools and highways and on expanding Medicaid to the working poor. Expansion is an option under the federal health overhaul signed into law in 2010 by then-President Barack Obama. Mississippi is among the 14 states that have not expanded Medicaid, a decision that Hood said has cost the state $1 billion a year in federal money.

Republicans have been governor in Mississippi for 24 of the last 28 years. The last Democratic governor, Ronnie Musgrove, lost in 2003 as he sought a second term.

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