Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves captured a second term Tuesday, defeating Brandon Presley, the second cousin of “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” Elvis Presley.
A majority of the few major surveys in the race showed Reeves leading his Democrat opponent in the deep-red state by only single digits. Only two out of the five surveys listed in the RealClearPolitics polling average had Reeves up by 11 points.
Democrats, with their well-financed candidate who had widespread name recognition, were excited in the home stretch of the relatively narrow race; Mississippi voted for former President Donald Trump nearly 58 percent to 41 percent just three years ago. Presley, the former mayor of small-town Nettleton and a state public service commissioner, campaigned as a populist Democrat against corruption while the state’s incumbent governor struggled to shrug off a lawsuit related to an alleged welfare scandal.
The Washington Post characterized the contest in the reliably red state as particularly “competitive.” The Cook Political Report shifted the Mississippi race from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican” in late October.
“Democrats acknowledge Presley is a long shot, but they are hopeful he can force Reeves into a runoff,” the Post reported. “If he does, the party will be looking to replicate their success in Georgia, where Democratic candidates have increased their margins of victory in recent runoffs.”
According to the Post, the Democratic Governors Association spent $5 million to defeat Reevses, “more than twice what it spent on the Democrat who ran for governor in 2019.” Reeves won his first term by only a five-point margin.