If Tate Reeves had been a European king, he's the type who would have inspired a revolution as soon as he put on the crown, or so sayeth columnist Charles Corder. Photo by Ashton Pittman
MADISON - The 2019 governor's race will end Tuesday when voters go to the polls. And it won't be a second too soon.
First, I won't have to watch any more television ads for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, the Republican nominee. He apparently believes that he's running against Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, because those names come up more than Attorney General Jim Hood, Reeves' actual Democratic opponent. Hood is a Democrat, but the assertion that he's a liberal is laughable.
Reeves also accused his Republican primary foe Bill Waller Jr. of being a liberal. Some Mississippi Republicans still haven't gotten over that. Perhaps the state GOP will hold together long enough to get through Tuesday's election.
When Reeves isn't spouting nonsense in his commercials, he's trotting out members of his family. So far, he's used his wife, his children and his father. If this race had gone on any longer, he probably would be down to second cousins and childhood friends.
Maybe there would have been more ads like the recent one where Reeves claimed to be a champion for higher pay for public-school teachers—that was filmed at a private school. Talk about tone-deaf. If he runs an ad on highways, it will probably support a road in Flowood from his neighborhood to a shopping center.
Hood's ads are only slightly less annoying, but there have been fewer of them. Rather than position himself as a conservative white knight like Reeves, Hood's ads tend to show him driving his pickup truck or tractor, or talking about guns or chickens.
A recent poll shows Reeves leading Hood 47 percent to 40 percent. To seal the deal, Reeves is bringing in President Donald Trump for a rally on Friday (programming alert: Fox News will be there) and Vice President Mike Pence on Monday. Trump's current popularity in Mississippi is inexplicable, but very real. Even without the GOP's top two visiting the state, I think Reeves will be elected the state's next governor.
And that's when things might get ugly for Reeves.
Face it, Reeves has never been a likable politician. He's always right. If you don't believe me, ask him. And if you disagree, you're a liberal.
Reeves is doing you peasants the biggest favor in the world when he deigns to speak to you. Compared to Reeves, Trump is one of the fellas. Gov. Phil Bryant could at least fake the common touch.
Under Mississippi law, the lieutenant governor has more real power than the governor, especially when it comes to legislation. The lieutenant governor presides over the Senate and greatly influences which bills become laws. Yes, the governor has veto power, but a governor can't veto every bill he doesn't like. Not and be re-elected. Although Reeves is probably willing to try.
Yes, the Republicans are likely to control the House and Senate again in the next Legislature. But many legislators, including Republicans, are sick of the heavy-handed way Reeves ran the Senate and feuded with House Republicans for the past eight years.
Also, the two candidates for lieutenant governor, Democrat Jay Hughes and Republican Delbert Hosemann (the likely winner), support policies that Reeves hates: Medicaid expansion, raising the gasoline tax to fund road and bridge repairs, and an immediate pay raise for teachers.
Interestingly, Hood supports all of those policies, too.
If Reeves had been a European king, he's the type who would have inspired a revolution as soon as he put on the crown.
He might be inspiring a revolution in Mississippi even before he moves into the Governor's Mansion.
Charles Corder is a longtime writer and editor. Email him at [email protected].