/Gov Bryant proclaims GOP candidates loving, hugging, endorsing each other after key Republicans waver on supporting Tate Reeves

Gov Bryant proclaims GOP candidates loving, hugging, endorsing each other after key Republicans waver on supporting Tate Reeves

Former Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. was the loser in the Republican runoff to become governor. He said last Tuesday that he wouldn’t endorse Lt. Governor. Tate Reeves is the party’s nominee. Later, Delbert Hosemann (the party’s nominee to be lieutenant governor) did not answer reporters straight about whether he would endorse Reeves. Gov. Phil Bryant, who discussed the serious threat Democratic AttorneyGeneral Jim Hood poses to the November governor’s election and how it could affect his legacy, called Lucien Smith, Mississippi GOP Chairman, last week and they planned an event. On Friday afternoon, the Republican Party sent an invitation to the public and described the event as a victory kickoff at Madison’s popular buffet restaurant. Bryant, Smith, and the eight other statewide candidates spoke to enthusiastic audiences on Monday. It seemed that the event was more of a general election kickoff by the Republican slate, most of whom face no serious challenge or challenge from Democrats in November, than an attempt at rallying Republicans for Reeves. “We are here to show that we love each other. Bryant told the 150-strong crowd, “It’s great to be Republican.” Bryant said, “We wanted everyone to be here so you could see your Republican team, we all support, we all hugging, and we all give money to one another to help us win in November.” The eight-year-old Democratic administration has had little influence. It only has the one statewide office for attorney general and the majority public service commission members. Republicans have a three-fifths supermajority both in the House and Senate. This means that they don’t require a single Democratic vote for any legislation to be passed. On Monday, all eight Republican candidates for state office spoke at the event about the importance and potential dangers of a redder future. Numerous Reeves campaign staffers walked around the restaurant, handing out stickers stating “Tate Reeves for Governor” Reeves was given a standing ovation by the crowd when Bryant introduced him to the podium. Reeves’ Monday speech of eight minutes didn’t address the central issue in the room, the question about party unity. Instead, he focused his eight-minute speech to several policy proposals regarding rural healthcare. These included additional training for doctors across the state and public education. Reeves also stated that the state should continue spending more money in schools than in district offices. Reeves stated that the other side would tell him that labels don’t matter. I want you to consider this: We began today’s meeting by praying to God and then by swearing allegiance to the flag. National Democrats have taken God out of their platform. Many national liberals would rather burn the flag than swear allegiance. This is what we’re going to be looking at in 2019.” Waller’s decision not to endorse Reeves early last week sent shockwaves through Republican circles. The Monday event was inspired by Hosemann’s talk later in the week about his policy platform. Hosemann told Mississippi Today on Wednesday that he supports a version of Medicaid expansion similar to what conservative-controlled Indiana and Arkansas have implemented — an idea that puts him at odds with Reeves, who has drawn a hard line against any such proposal. Waller had proposed a similar plan during the primary for governor. Reeves reacted negatively to Waller’s proposal, saying of Waller, “I don’t believe you can be pro-Obamacare expansion and still be conservative.” Hosemann was present at Monday’s lunch and briefly spoke about his candidacy. Hosemann did not speak about Medicaid expansion, and he again declined to endorse Reeves. Hosemann stated to the crowd that Mississippi voters will elect all Republicans when they go to the polls in two months. “We are more interested in education and infrastructure than the Democrats were ever. We also care about healthcare. “Y’all vote Republican.” Reeves was questioned about Waller’s criticisms and whether Hosemann is a conservative after the event. Reeves stated, “We’re going continue to focus on issues that are important for Mississippians.” “I believe Delbert Hosemann will win the lieutenant Governor’s race and I think that he’s going make a great lieutenant Governor …. He and I (Philip Gunn), I believe, will work closely together to ensure that conservative public policy is passed.”