Eaves ran a tough campaign. But the truth is that Barbour could win without ever leaving his home at Wolf Lake in Yazoo County. Barbour maintained a Mississippi tradition of hosting gubernatorial discussions. Eaves and Barbour participated in several debates that year. Not surprisingly, Eaves was a trial lawyer and held his own against Barbour who is a veteran politician and debater. It will be interesting to see how many debates take place and who is allowed to take part. Although August’s primary elections are still four months away, Nathan Shrader, a Millsaps College instructor in political science, stated that it is never too soon to discuss debates. This is particularly important considering Lt. Governor. Tate Reeves was a front-runner but he refused to take part in the debate between Republican candidates at Mississippi State University earlier this month. Reeves, who was the Senate’s presiding officer, may have wanted to take a break from the legislative session that ended just before the Mississippi State debate. There will be other debates that can be taken part in ahead of the possible Republican Party primary. It is perhaps wise not to take for granted anything, especially when it comes to debates, what happened in the historic special election to replace ThadCochran last year. Cindy Hyde Smith, who was appointed to replace Thad Cochran in the interim, refused to debate leading up to the first election in 2018. Phil Bryant appointed Cindy Hyde-Smith to replace Cochran during the interim. He refused to debate the election up until 2018. She did agree to debate Democrat Mike Espy after no candidate received a majority vote. Hyde-Smith demanded that the Mississippi Farm Bureau host the televised discussion, as it was considered a political ally. The closed-set debate was restricted to a small audience. Her campaign also demanded that candidates bring stacks of supporting material to the stage. Shrader stated that in states where one party dominates, such as Mississippi, debates are necessary “to let people have choices” and that all parties, Republicans, Democrats, and independents should support debates because they are important to democracy. He said that debates provide accountability for voters and candidates, and multiple debates are necessary to accomplish a good job. In fact, Mississippi’s gubernatorial candidate Robert Gray has been open to debates in the past. The incumbent Bryant didn’t debate Robert Gray, the Democratic nominee who won the primary surprise victory in 2015. There have been many gubernatorial discussions in Mississippi. If Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood manages to win the nomination and a crowded primary field, it is expected that this year’s governor’s race would be the most competitive since 2003. Shrader stated that it would not be unusual for Mississippi to host multiple debates in this year’s election. In most of the neighboring states, such debates have been held in recent years. Louisiana will have a governor’s race this year. John Bel Edwards is expected to debate, which is a rare commodity in a Southern state as a Democrat. Alabama’s Republican incumbent declined to debate in 2016. However, this was an exception in the rest of the country. The most notable debate in Mississippi history was held at the Neshoba Country Fair in 1995, when Dick Molpus, the Democratic challenger to the incumbent Republican Kirk Fordice, faced off under the tin-roofed Founders Square pavilion. The debate ended under darkened skies after Hurricane Erin had swept through. It will be remembered in Mississippi political history. It is not clear if the political spectacle changed anyone’s minds. The debate did get people interested in politics.