A poll produced in partnership with the campaign for Mississippi governor of Democratic contender Brandon Presley shows the candidate tied with Republican Tate Reeves, the incumbent who will be going before voters to seek another term next year.
Mississippi is known as a heavily Republican state, with Donald Trump leading in their final results from the 2020 presidential election by over 16 percentage points. The job Reeves is doing faces disapproval from 54 percent, per the polling from Impact Research showing the tie with Presley, which was shared by Mississippi’s Daily Journal. In a prospective match-up for the general election, both Presley — who is a cousin of the late singer — and Reeves received 46 percent of the support. The data also showed a significantly higher level of name recognition for Presley, with 59 percent identifying the name as familiar — a critical boost for his bid. He started with about one-fourth recognizing his name, polling found.
Presley has a history in government, currently serving on a state regulatory body called the Mississippi Public Service Commission. Members of the commission are elected, and Presley’s district is in the northern part of the state. Reeves, meanwhile, is known nationally — like others in his political corner — for dismissive attitudes towards COVID-19, though he hasn’t transferred this approach into quite as much name recognition as neighboring Florida’s GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, now running for the GOP nomination for president in 2024.
Reeves was insistent upon distancing himself and ostensibly religiously aligned state residents from more extensive concern about the pandemic-causing virus. “We should take necessary precautions with respect to COVID, but we also understand that we do have everlasting life if we believe in Jesus, if we believe in God the father, and I certainly do,” the governor said at one point. He’d made substantially similar remarks at a private fundraiser, and now that COVID-19 has recently spiked again, he’s back at it. “The simple answer to the question being posed by ‘experts’ is no. We will not return to widespread masking or COVID rules,” Reeves said just recently. It’s unclear anyone in a position of substantial government power is seriously pursuing such a thing, however.