/A Waller victory in the Aug 6 primary would change the dynamics for Hood in general election

A Waller victory in the Aug 6 primary would change the dynamics for Hood in general election

The Hood camp was more happy than anyone when Bill Waller Jr., former Chief Justice, announced that he would be entering the Republican governor’s race in February. This was only two weeks before the qualifying deadline. Waller, a respected lawyer with a political background – his father was governor – could easily occupy the money and time of Lt. Governor. Tate Reeves was the Republican front-runner. Hood’s campaign argued that Waller and Robert Foster, a DeSoto County freshman state House member, would be attacking Reeves while he was on the campaign trail, weakening him to run for Hood in November. The theory was that Reeves would need to spend some of his $5 million campaign war fund, which is still unrivaled, on something other then lambasting Hood. As Tuesday’s primary election nears, there is a chance that Reeves might not get the majority vote necessary to avoid a three-week runoff. Anecdotal evidence and limited public polling suggest that Reeves could be forced to run off. Reeves, with his superior name identification and campaign money, could still surpass the 50 percent threshold plus one threshold on Tuesday. Hood will be facing seven lesser-known candidates who have little campaign cash in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. All bets are off if Reeves has to go against Waller in a runoff. Foster, however, is running a strong campaign. The conventional wisdom says that Reeves would win a runoff with the campaign cash. In reality, Waller was a nuisance when he entered the race in February. Reeves was an experienced candidate for governor and had previously run in four other state elections. Waller was the only person on the ballot for the Supreme Court justice in Central District. Foster had run only once in DeSoto County’s House district. Reeves could be forced to run in a second round despite his huge advantage in name ID and campaign cash. This would be a possible argument against his Republican opponent. Mason Dixon’s January poll found that 55% of respondents didn’t recognize Waller by name. In July, the same poll found Waller had 88 percent name recognition to Reeves’ 95 percent. Hood stated that he had toned down his speech at the Neshoba County Fair and didn’t throw all of “his rocks” because Republicans were fighting and he felt he should just enjoy the fight. Hood has been planning to run for reeves for over a year. In reality, Hood might not have thrown all his rocks at Reeves as he usually does. He didn’t want to cause any further damage to the campaign. One poll – a NBC Survey Monkey survey – indicates that Waller would be a stronger opponent to Reeves in general elections. Based on the Mason Dixon poll Reeves has more negatives than Waller. This is due at least in part to Reeves’ 16-year tenure on the state stage and being repeatedly hammered by Hood and the Republican candidates throughout the year. Hood’s campaign is perhaps more fortunate than Waller and Hood agree on many issues. Both men highlight as key components of their campaigns increasing teacher pay, increasing funds for road and bridge improvements and expanding Medicaid to cover the working poor. While Waller and Hood may disagree about how to address these issues, particularly as it pertains to Medicaid expansion, they share the same goals. There are some areas they disagree on. Hood speaks out in favor of reducing or eliminating grocery sales tax, which is the most high-strung tax in the country. Waller would like to reduce the personal income tax. It is clear that Hood and Waller are more closely aligned on policy issues than Hood and Reeves. Hood’s policy differences with Reeves may work in Hood’s favor in a general election, according to the Hood campaign. Hood’s campaign is concerned that their policy differences with Reeves could work in Hood’s favor in a general election. If it comes down to Hood or Waller, there must be fear.