/Waller, Reeves debate boils down biggest question facing GOP runoff voters Who is the real conservative

Waller, Reeves debate boils down biggest question facing GOP runoff voters Who is the real conservative

Reeves is the long-presumed GOP frontrunner and has outraised Waller 10-to-1. He questioned whether Waller’s policies on infrastructure and health care are conservative. Reeves stated, “I don’t believe you could be for Obamacare expansion while being a conservative.” After he had left the televised stage, Reeves stated to reporters that he doesn’t believe it was possible for someone to be both a conservative and raise taxes. Waller supported his proposals during the debate on televised television and spoke with reporters afterwards to defend them and his brand of conservatism. “Being conservative doesn’t mean sticking your head in sand,” Waller said. Waller stated that being conservative means addressing problems and finding solutions. His (Reeves) platform is essentially soundbites — conservative or liberal. My platform is policy issues. I believe the people are interested to know the substance.” Mississippi voters will choose between Reeves or Waller in an August 27 runoff, since no candidate received more that 50 percent of the vote in Republican primary. Reeves was awarded 49% of the Republican primary vote, while Waller got 33%. Each man claimed a different conservative icon to represent their ideals as they jousted. Waller’s positions regarding a gas tax hike and what he calls Medicaid expansion were influenced by Vice President Mike Pence and former President Ronald Reagan. Reeves cited President Donald Trump. Robert Foster, a state representative, was 18 percent of those who voted for Waller. Foster traveled along Waller on Wednesday, and spoke to Mississippi Today in support of Waller after the debate had ended. Foster called Reeves’ assertion that Waller’s policies were not conservative absurd. It is not conservative to do nothing and have the worst system of health, education and infrastructure in the country. Reeves read his closing statements from a notebook while Waller spoke. If you want to move up the ladder on these major issues, then you have to begin trying to figure out how we can legally and rationally do so. Reeves spoke little about future-facing policy solutions in a preprimary debate. Instead, he focused on the economic gains made during his eight years of service as lieutenant governor. Waller was acquiescing several times. Reeves was adamant in his efforts to discredit Waller’s main platform principles. He also repeated a popular talking point that he is only the left-leaning conservative remaining in the 2019 governor’s race. My opponent Bill Waller was a good man. I respect him. Reeves stated that he doesn’t agree completely with his policies. “I believe Obamacare was a mistake. Judge Waller would expand Obamacare to add 300,000 Mississippians to the government rolls. Taxes are too high, I believe. Judge Waller would increase the gas tax to Mississippi families, which would cost them $500 per year. Judge Waller is the candidate for you if you want more Obamacare and higher taxes. Waller did not use WJTV’s notebook during the debate. Waller devoted his camera time to convincing viewers of possible solutions to closing hospitals, infrastructure, and public education. Waller, unprompted, uttered the phrase “I’m conservative” multiple times on the stage. He then reacted to Reeves’ subtle attacks by saying “that’s absolutely incorrect” when Reeves claimed that Mississippians would be more financially impacted by expanding Medicaid and that Mississippians would pay $500 per month for his proposed gas tax. Waller stated, “In the election just had, more that 50 percent of Mississippians supported my plan that we need assistance with health care and education.” It’s not what I want, and it’s not what the people want. There are more conservative options. By the way, the extra cost of an increased gasoline tax is $6.67 per month and not $500. My experience of 29 years in the military and 10 years as the head of a branch, makes me the ideal candidate for November. I also have the best conservative credentials to lead the state.”