Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, has won reelection, CBS News projects, fending off a hard-fought challenge from Democrat Brandon Presley.
Reeves will serve a second term in office with his victory, which extends Republicans' two decades of control of Mississippi's governorship.
Presley, a second cousin of Elvis Presley, campaigned on expanding Medicaid in the nation's poorest state, and on supporting the state's sweeping abortion ban. Presley has been a member of the Mississippi Public Service Commission since 2008, and before that, served as mayor of Nettleton, Mississippi. Presley was born days before Elvis Presley's death in 1977.
Why was Tate Reeves vulnerable?
Reeves, running for a second term, has been dogged by scandal. At least $77 million in federal funds intended for Mississippi's poor were either misspent or given to wealthy and connected Mississippians in the years between 2017 and 2020, when Reeves was lieutenant governor, according to the state auditor's office. Reeves has denied any wrongdoing.
The former director of the state's welfare agencyin a conspiracy to misspend the millions of dollars in the largest public corruption case in the state's history. Presley hasn't shied away from blasting Reeves over the matter.
But under Reeves' leadership, Mississippi boasted a $4 billion surplus in 2022.
Presley campaigned on expanding Medicaid as soon as possible in the state with the lowest per capita income and highest poverty rate, while Reeves has insisted he'll push for better jobs that offer health insurance.
"Expanding Medicaid in Mississippi would create 16,000 good paying healthcare worker jobs – and keep 220,000 working Mississippians healthy. Let's get it done," Presley tweeted Monday.
A statewide Democratic win in Mississippi would go against the grain of the state's conservative composition.
Reeves won the governor's mansion in 2019 with 52.1% of the vote, for Democrat Jim Hood's 46.6% of the vote, a relatively close election in Mississippi. In 2020, Donald Trump won 57.6% of the vote to Joe Biden's 41.1%.
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