Mississippi voters elected Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves as their next governor on Nov. 5. Despite Mississippi’s traditionally conservative history, the National Review called the race “surprisingly competitive.” The New York Times’ results show that out of 862,209 votes, 52.1% were for Reeves, and 46.6% were for Hood.
Associate professor of political science Joseph Weinberg, Ph.D., said he believes Mississippi Democrats were more involved in this race than they have been in recent years. He said Democrats in Mississippi are more likely to show up for a candidate if they believe that the candidate has a shot.
“He’s sort of a conservative Democrat, and Republicans were not particularly excited about Tate Reeves,” Weinberg said.
Senior psychology major and vice president of College Republicans Roderick Jones said he is excited but not surprised about Reeves’ victory. He also said he believes Mississippians chose Reeves because he reflects Mississippi’s core values. Jones also said Reeves is forward about his beliefs and platform, and he looks forward to Reeves’ term as governor.
“He won’t waver from his beliefs, but I think that he will do his part listening and compromising because I think that Tate Reeves wants to help all constituents, not just our conservatives,” Jones said.
Though Jones and other college Republicans showed support for Reeves, many students at Southern Miss showed support for Hood.
Senior finance major Tatum Cave said he supported Hood in the race because he felt Hood had better plans to represent Mississippi.
“Jim Hood represented Mississippi and not himself, as I thought that Tate Reeves did,” Cave said.
Despite his hope that Hood would defeat Reeves for governor, Cave said he just wanted college students to get involved and make educated decisions.
Reeves won Forrest County 49.8% to 48.7%. But in other counties that hold universities, such as Ole Miss, Alcorn State, Mississippi State University, Mississippi College and Millsaps College, Hood won the popular vote.
Weinberg said college-aged people generally are more likely to vote Democrat than Republican. He said the excitement of Hood’s potential for governor possibly made college students more excited and willing to vote Democrat.
Weinberg and Caves said Hood’s more moderate liberal views made him more attractive to voters who typically would vote Republican. Hood stood on a pro-life and pro-gun platform, making him more likely to be a Democratic governor in Mississippi.
Weinberg said Hood was a candidate who made it likely for voters to cross party lines.
“I’m not looking for a political party for a governor. I’m looking for someone who has plans and wants to execute those plans for the better of everyone. And that was, I think, what Jim Hood represented, and Tate Reeves just lacked,” Cave said.
Despite it all, enough people voted Republican for Reeves to become governor. Reeves gave his acceptance speech late Tuesday night.
In his speech, Reeves said, “This victory does not belong to me. This victory belongs to you.”