/Tate Reeves A look at fundraising for the Republican frontrunner for governor

Tate Reeves A look at fundraising for the Republican frontrunner for governor

Reeves is running to be governor and holds court at the restaurant every fall to raise funds for his campaigns. The event took place less than a year after the 2019 general elections and featured a wide range of Mississippi politics and business leaders. According to Reeves’ campaign finance report, Joe Frank Sanderson was the chief executive officer of Sanderson Farms’ poultry giant Sanderson Farms that night. He wrote a $50,000 check. Joseph Canizaro (a New Orleans-based realty developer who has close ties with leaders of the Mississippi Republican Party), and his wife Sue Ellen also wrote separate $25,000 checks for Reeves. The event was attended by people with potential political ambitions, operatives and leaders of influential political actions committees as well as representatives from some of the largest corporations in the state. The Reeves campaign had received at least $250,000 in donations by the end of dinner. This represented about 15% of the total campaign contributions for 2018. Reeves’ campaign finances reports give a glimpse at the most sophisticated and successful fundraising effort in Mississippi history for state office. Reeves was able to raise $1.7 million in 2018 and have $6.7 million available for spending going into 2019. When Republican lobbyist Haley Barbour defeated the incumbent Democratic governor in 2003, Reeves raised $1.7 million. Ronnie Musgrove spent $11.3 million and Barbour raised $10.9million. According to a Mississippi Today analysis, $1.1million, or 63 per cent, of Reeves’ 2018 fundraising total was from major donations exceeding $5,000. Mississippi’s election law doesn’t limit the amount individuals or political action groups can donate to political campaigns. While corporations are restricted to $1,000 per candidate each year, corporations do not have a limit on the amount of donations they can make to political action groups. Sanderson and the Canizaros were the most prominent individual donors in 2018. They gave a combined $100,000. Marty Davidson, a Meridian resident and chairman of Southern Pipe and Supply donated $50,000. John Nau, who is the CEO of Texas’s Silver Eagle Distributors, which is the largest distributor of Anheuser–Busch products in America, also donated $50,000. Reeves was the recipient of several $25,000 donations in 2018. These included from Ridgeland attorney Robert Wells and Houston-based oil industry CEO Chuck Scianna. Also, Amory seed business owner Richard Wax. Reeves received $20,000 from Yates Construction CEO Bill Yates. Reeves was the recipient of large donations from corporations and PACs. Centene Corporation, the nation’s largest insurer of health, donated $50,000 to Reeves in 2018. Bully Bloc, an anti-Mississippi State University pro-political action committee, also donated $50,000. Reeves was given $35,000 by the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi PAC, while the Mississippi Healthcare Association PAC (and the Jones Companies LLC) each gave $25,000 to Reeves. Numerous PACs and corporations donated between $5,000 and $15,000 to Reeves in 2018, while dozens of others gave between $1,000 and $5,000. Reeves’ report suggests that Republican Party establishment are backing the lieutenant governor in an act of unity. The Republican State Leadership Committee PAC contributed $10,000 on Dec. 17. Gov. Phil Bryant, who has a term limit after this year, transferred any remaining campaign cash to a PAC prior to 2017’s state election law changes. Imagine Mississippi, Bryant’s PAC wrote a $5,000 check to Reeves late December 2018. In September, Mike Chaney, Republican Insurance Commissioner, presented $1,000 to Reeves’ campaign committee. Reeves was presented with a $5,000 check by David McRae, Madison attorney and Republican candidate for the position of state treasurer. Lucien Smith, the chairman of the Republican Party, gave Reeves a $1,000 cheque on the night of Bravo dinner. Joe Nosef, former chairman of the state GOP, wrote Reeves a $1,000 check one week after Hood announced his candidacy for governor. Jim Herring, another ex-chairman of the Republican Party, donated $1,000 to Reeves’ campaign in 2018. Terry Reeves, the founder of Climate Masters, a commercial HVAC company, donated twice to Reeves’ campaign in 2018. Climate Masters donated $1,000 to the Bravo dinner. Terry Reeves and Tate Reeves ran Brandon-based Reeves Real Estate. According to rumors, Tommy Duff, a Mississippi billionaire, was the likely Republican primary challenger in 2018. He wrote a $2,500 check Dec. 11. Knoxville resident Dee Haslam also donated $2,500. Reeves received $300 from an anonymous 2018 donor on Dec. 13. The entry does not include a mailing address, name or occupation of the donor. This is a violation of state campaign finance law which requires that a campaign list any identifying information for donors of $200 or more. Leah Rupp Smith is the communications director at the Secretary of State’s Office. She said that her office encourages candidates list the contributor’s name and address as well as occupation and employer in order to comply with the law requiring candidates to disclose donations exceeding $200. Smith asked additional questions to the state’s ethics commission. The agency was responsible for enforcing a 2017 state election-finance law. Mississippi Today spoke with Tom Hood, the executive director of the ethics committee, who said he was not involved in the proceedings and would not answer questions regarding the race for the governor. Hood is the brother to Attorney General Jim Hood who is running for governor as a Democrat. Tom Hood asked questions about Reeves’ filing to the assistant director of the commission, but claimed that the agency lacks authority to enforce campaign-finance regulations. Hood stated in a statement that “essentially, we can only fin people for late filing and ask a judge to make them file.” Hood stated that they do not have the authority to punish candidates who fail to file their reports or enforce (state) law. Most violations of campaign finance law are misdemeanors, and should be dealt with by an enforcement agency and a prosecutor.”_x000D