Jackson, Miss. (Clarion Ledger)
Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves has accumulated almost $7 million in his bid for governor later this year, far outpacing any other candidate for statewide office, newly filed campaign finance reports show.
The Republican formally announced his run in early January but has raised money for his gubernatorial run for several years. In 2018, he raised about $1.7 million, according to annual reports filed with the state Thursday.
Reeves’ most prominent challenger, Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood, who announced his run in October, raised more than $700,000 last year and now has more than $1 million ready to spend.
Both candidates claimed more than 85 percent of their contributions came from Mississippi.
“People from across Mississippi are supporting this campaign to send a message: Mississippi values matter,” Reeves said in a statement.
Hood said: “I’m proud of the support we have received from a cross-section of Mississippians who want a governor who listens to and cares about their needs.” His statement criticized Reeves for “essentially … running for governor every day for the past seven years.”
Other statewide candidates whose reports were posted Thursday:
- Robert Foster, governor. Foster, a Republican state representative from Hernando, raised about $20,000 last year and had about $12,000 to spend as of the filing deadline. He is far behind in fundraising but did not start until his announcement to run in mid-December. He picked up several contributions of more than $500 at the end of the year, mostly from residents in the DeSoto County area.
- Velesha Williams, governor. The Democrat, a former Jackson State University employee who is new to politics, raised about $6,600, mostly via loans to herself. She has about $1,400 to spend after paying for various mailers, campaign supplies and a fundraiser she organized.
- Delbert Hosemann, lieutenant governor. The current Republican secretary of state raised just shy of $839,000 last year and spent $232,338, leaving him with over $2.6 million cash on hand. That gives him a $2.2 million fundraising lead over his Democratic opponent, Rep. Jay Hughes, D-Oxford. Hosemann enters the campaign season with widespread name recognition.
“We are grateful to have the support of hundreds of Mississippians across the state, and we look forward to getting the message out about our priorities for the future for the next several months,” he said in a statement.
- Jay Hughes, lieutenant governor. The Democrat raised $965,000 — most of it his own money — and spent nearly $527,000, leaving him with $437,461 cash on hand. One loan from himself totaled $450,000. Hughes, who is in his first term as a state lawmaker, has gained a sizable social media following through a campaign focused on public education.
- Mark Baker, attorney general. The longtime Republican state lawmaker raised about $330,000, and spent about $45,000, and now has close to $380,000 in cash to spend on his campaign this year. Baker announced his candidacy in May and is a longtime critic of current AG Hood.
- Lynn Fitch, attorney general. The current state treasurer had raised more than $366,000 and spent more than $103,000, leaving her with more than $280,000 in cash to spend this year. The Republican has served as treasurer since 2012.
- Sam Britton, secretary of state. The current Republican public service commissioner, elected in 2015, announced his run several days ago. He raised about $265,000 last year and spend $12,000, leaving him with $261,000 in cash on hand.
- Michael Watson, secretary of state. The conservative state senator who was elected in 2008 raised $160,000 last year, and spent $5,000, leaving him with $155,000 in the bank. Watson has long been considered a GOP contender for higher office, and was urged to run for Congress in 2010.