- Associated Press - Thursday, October 3, 2019

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - President Donald Trump has tweeted that he’s giving his “Complete & Total Endorsement” to the Republican nominee for Mississippi governor, Tate Reeves. In response, Democratic nominee Jim Hood says Reeves is responsible for “the swamp” in Mississippi’s capital.

Reeves is the lieutenant governor and Hood is the attorney general. In the Nov. 5 election, they face two candidates who are running low-budget campaigns.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant is barred by state law from seeking a third term, and he endorsed Reeves months ago.

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Trump wrote in two tweets Wednesday night: “Tate is strong on Crime, tough on illegal immigration, and will protect your Second Amendment. … He loves our Military and supports our Vets! Democrat Jim Hood will never give us his vote, is anti-Trump and pro-Crooked Hillary. Get out and Vote for Tate Reeves on November 5th. He has my Complete & Total Endorsement!”

Reeves tweeted in response : “Thank you Mr. President! The Democrats are out-of-control and Jim Hood is completely with them. We have to stand together for the future of our great state.”

Hood was a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention but did not go. Hillary Clinton received the support of the Mississippi delegation, was the Democratic nominee for president and lost to Trump in the general election.

Hood campaign spokeswoman Margaret Ann Morgan confirmed Thursday that Hood voted for Clinton in 2016.

Hood said in a statement that he will work with Trump to outlaw some vaping products “and other issues that help Mississippi.”

“I can’t do anything about the swamp in Washington, but I can drain the swamp in Jackson Tate Reeves created,” Hood said. “I will stop insider deals like Tate getting caught coercing the Mississippi Department of Transportation to spend our money for a road to the 27 houses in his gated subdivision.”

The attorney general’s office released an investigative report last month that said Reeves sought to improperly influence the transportation department to build a frontage road near Reeves’ neighborhood by Mississippi Highway 25 in Flowood. The frontage road was never built. Reeves campaign spokesman Parker Briden said the report was a “political dirty trick” that proved no wrongdoing.

Hood’s campaign tweeted Wednesday that Hood won strong support in his home precinct in Chickasaw County the Democratic primary, and Reeves lost close to home in Rankin County in the Republican primary and runoff, adding: “Someone once told me: ‘Your homefolks know you best.’ … Character & honesty matter.”

Briden said Thursday that the best response to the Hood tweet was one from Reeves that showed the Republican campaigning Wednesday in Hood’s northern Mississippi hometown of Houston.

The Trump endorsement of Reeves came a day after former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush appeared at a fundraising event for Reeves in Belden, which is also in north Mississippi. Bush was among the Republicans who lost to Trump for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

Briden did not immediately respond to a question about whether Trump will travel to Mississippi to campaign for Reeves. The president’s schedule is usually announced shortly before events take place.

Trump traveled to Mississippi in 2018 to campaign for Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith, who had been appointed to the Senate by Bryant after longtime Republican Sen. Thad Cochran retired. Hyde-Smith had to run in a special election to fill the final months of the six-year term Cochran started, and she defeated Democrat Mike Espy, a former congressman and former U.S. secretary of agriculture.


Follow Emily Wagster Pettus: http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus .

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