- Associated Press - Monday, April 29, 2019

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Candidates for Mississippi governor are asking supporters for cash as another campaign finance reporting deadline approaches.

Two former governors, William Winter and Ray Mabus, recently put their names on fundraising letters for fellow Democrat Jim Hood. The four-term attorney general is one of nine Democrats seeking the party nomination for the state’s highest office.

Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves on Monday released his second ad of the campaign season, showing campaign appearances where Reeves says he is “willing to say no” to lobbyists.

The two other Republicans in the governor’s race, former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. and state Rep. Robert Foster, are traveling the state.

Candidates face a fundraising deadline Tuesday, and they must file finance reports by May 10.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant cannot seek a third term. Party primaries are Aug. 6, and the general election is Nov. 5.

In a fundraising email Friday, Winter said Hood will work to establish prekindergarten programs statewide. Winter was governor 1980-84, and his signature achievement was the Education Reform Act of 1982, which for the first time required Mississippi schools to offer kindergarten.

“Every Mississippi child deserves a first-class education no matter where they live, and for too many years we have underfunded our public schools, underpaid our teachers, and shortchanged our children,” the Winter email said.

The Mabus email on Monday made a similar pitch for Hood.

“In this year’s race for governor, we have a real choice - to continue the same policies that have left Mississippi falling behind, or support Jim Hood, who will build a better state that works for everyone,” said the message from Mabus, who was governor 1988-92.

In Reeves’ new ad, he says “most politicians are scared to say no” to special interests.

“I will say ‘no’ when ‘yes’ is popular but too expensive,” Reeves says.

Four former Mississippi Republican Party chairmen said in an article published Sunday in the Clarion Ledger that they believe Hood will be the Democratic nominee for governor and they are backing Waller. Clarke Reed was GOP chairman 1966-76, Mike Retzer was chairman 1978-82 and 1996-2001, Billy Powell served 1993-96 and Jim Herring served 2001-08.

“Republicans have had several good candidates in the past for attorney general but none have defeated Jim Hood,” the former Republican leaders wrote. “It’s going to take the right Republican candidate who can bring conservatives and independents together in order to win in November.”

Foster said in a fundraising email Sunday that he traveled more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) to campaign last week.

“Not having the big lobbyist and special interest money doesn’t make it any easier, but it’s the support and donations from average people that keeps us above water … and moving forward,” Foster wrote.

Candidates’ most recent campaign finance reports were filed at the end of January, showing money raised through 2018.

Reeves reported $6.3 million, and Foster had $12,297. Waller retired from the state Supreme Court earlier this year. He started his gubernatorial campaign fund in late February and has not yet had to file a campaign finance report.

Hood has raised the most money among the Democratic gubernatorial candidates, with just more than $1 million.


Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter at http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus .

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