/‘It’s close’ Gov Phil Bryant, a key endorsement for Tate Reeves, acknowledges Bill Waller’s appeal in GOP governor’s race

‘It’s close’ Gov Phil Bryant, a key endorsement for Tate Reeves, acknowledges Bill Waller’s appeal in GOP governor’s race

Bryant used his political experience to handicap the Aug. 6 Republican primary election for governor and eventual general election in November for Mississippi Today’s podcast “The Other Side”. Bryant’s interview was broadcast Thursday on Mississippi Today’s political podcast, “The Other Side”. Bryant’s handicapping of the race for the Governor’s Mansion will determine his successor. Bryant publicly supported Lt. Governor. Bryant has publicly endorsed Lt. Gov. Bryant did not venture to predict how a Reeves/Waller runoff might end. Bryant stated that people like to vote for people they are comfortable with. Bill Waller is very likeable. His father was a great governor and a Democrat governor. People like Bill Waller are a result of that. His family is a wonderful family, an old Mississippi family many people like and know. They are all very nice. The judge and me disagree on policy. Bryant said, “It doesn’t mean that we are mad at one another, it just means we disagree on policy.” Bryant added: “It is hard to predict, however, it’s close. In the Mason Dixon poll, Tate scored 10 more points. This is probably the same company that reported Hillary Clinton in Mississippi as being up 10 points. Polling is polling. We will see what happens. “I think that a lot people thought it could be runoff,” has been the main theme of the 2019 Republican primaries. Former government officials, insiders and columnists have all questioned Reeves’ likability. Some even called him “arrogant”. Public polls in Mississippi show Reeves to be one of the least-popular statewide elected officials. Bryant’s favorability scores are glowing. Waller and Robert Foster, the first-term state representative, have tried to capitalize on this notion. They have also pointed out disparities in infrastructure, public education and health care that Reeves has failed to address in his eight years of service as lieutenant governor. Bryant was governor during the same period. Bryant stated that he believes they are making a mistake when asked about Foster and Waller’s strategy. Bryant said that they were listening to a consultant who suggested Tate Reeves would say, “If you say good times are happening, Tate Reeves will say thank you very much because it was his part in it.” Bryant added: “If I listen to Jim Hood — and he’s not mad at anyone — but as a political observer you can listen to Judge Waller, Robert Foster, many of the same things, such as expanding Medicaid or raising the gasoline tax. These are things Tate Reeves, and I, are against.” Bryant stated that he could endorse Reeves, and that he could verbally justify his support, but that it was up to the candidates to win. Bryant said that a movement for change could help Waller, but that he couldn’t guarantee victory. “Look, Bill Waller’s a hardworking guy. He is a great candidate and he works hard at the Neshoba Country Fair today. Bryant stated that Mississippi’s political nature is this. The other thing people sometimes forget is that Churchill was elected after he won the second World War, and his party was thrown out of power. People sometimes say that it’s time to make a change. We’ll do something different, I believe. Bryant said, “When that collective mindset occurs, it’s dangerous in politics. George H.W. Bush. This is a man who was popular, did a great job as president, but got beaten by Bill Clinton, the governor of Arkansas. “So if the movement of ‘for change’ has energy and legs, yeah it could be beneficial to Bill Waller and could lead us into a race.” Read the complete interview with Gov. The complete interview with Gov. Phil Bryant is available on “The Other Side,” Mississippi Today’s political podcast.