/Reeves’ Republican foes in governor’s race must find way to overcome his statewide name recognition advantage

Reeves’ Republican foes in governor’s race must find way to overcome his statewide name recognition advantage

Waller is no doubt a well-known commodity in the Jackson metro area. Waller served as a judge on the Mississippi Supreme Court for 21 year, including 10 years as chief justice. He was elected to this position by voters in the Central District. Waller, however, is not as well-known in the state as fellow Republican Lt. Governor. Tate Reeves has won four statewide elections and has a much larger campaign war chest than Tate Reeves. Robert Foster, a freshman Republican state representative from DeSoto County is also at a disadvantage. Foster and Waller are busy canvassing the state to try to reduce Reeves’ name recognition advantage. However, politicians who have previously run for office in the state say it takes money. This is a large sum. Jamie Franks, a Lee County lawyer, was a three-term state House member and was considered one of the most well-known members of the Legislature. He decided to use that experience to run against Phil Bryant for lieutenant governor. Bryant had previously won two statewide elections as auditor. Franks ran an aggressive campaign but could not match Bryant’s name recognition, much less get his message across on the issues. Franks stated that it cost $1 million to name ID back 12 years. He was referring to the $580,000 Waller reported last Wednesday on his campaign finance reports. Franks said, “If Waller doesn’t significantly increase his campaign funds raising, we will look at Tate Reeves to be the Republican nominee.” Reeves already has television commercials and had nearly $7 million in his war fund to begin the year. Foster and Waller have so far tried to do it the old-fashioned way: retail politics, meeting individuals and trying to get their votes. This is no easy task in a state as large as Mississippi. Waller and Foster have an advantage that candidates a few years ago didn’t have: the internet and social networking. Social media allows candidates to communicate their message to a wider audience. This helps to level the playing field. Older voters may be familiar with Bill Waller’s nameake, who was elected to one term as governor in 1971. Waller and Foster may also have an advantage because of the Republican primary’s layout. The state’s political observers were shocked when Kirk Fordice, a little-known Vicksburg contractor, won the Republican primary against Pete Johnson. He then overtook the incumbent Democratic governor. Ray Mabus. Frodice’s victory over Mabus was a result of a lot. The victory over Johnson was easy to explain. Fordice defeated Johnson to win the Republican primary with 31,753 votes – 17,165 from three counties Rankin Hinds, Harrison and Hinds. The Republican primary has become more of a state-wide effort. In 2015, 299 368 people voted for the Democratic gubernatorial primaries, compared to 279 427 in the Republican primary. This could be the first year since 1800s that more people voted in the Republican primary (in a State, not a Federal election) than the Democratic primary. Votes on the Republican side are concentrated in a few large county, including Rankin and Madison, DeSoto. Perhaps Foster and Waller can get the name recognition they need in these counties. Franks stated that they need to create their own name recognition in order to achieve this. Reeves, with his vast financial resources, could create a negative narrative. Franks stated that Reeves, with his superior funds, can create a negative narrative.