In an exclusive interview, Governor Phil Bryant said he would stand behind Republican Tate Reeves in the 2019 Governor’s election.
“One of the things a Governor does is have a really strong relationship with his Republican Lt. Governor. Tate Reeves and I have not only worked together for the last eight years but even before that when he was State Treasurer. I think he’ll do an excellent job as Governor and that is why I’m supporting Tate Reeves as the next Governor for the state of Mississippi,” said Governor Bryant.
So far, the Lt. Governor faces two other Republicans in the Primary, retired Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. and Representative Robert Foster. Also, on that ticket are Democrats Attorney General Jim Hood, and Velesha Williams.
The qualifying deadline is March 1 at 5:00 p.m.
Bryant went on to say that the stakes are high for this year’s Governor’s race and it is more important than ever to ensure that a Republican is elected.
“The appointment process is so important, and Democrats look at it a different way,” said Governor Bryant. “They simply have to abide by much of the movement that is on the left side of the political spectrum. The appointees of a Democratic Governor’s term would reflect more liberal political standards and that’s not good for the state of Mississippi.”
With the campaigns starting to pick up, Bryant said he plans to be just as involved in the statewide elections as he was in the U.S. Senate election for Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith last year.
“There’s no way to be ‘a little bit involved’ into a campaign, I don’t believe so,” said Bryant.” Once I’ve chosen someone that I am supportive of, I’m dedicated to it.”
In this particular instance, that involvement will be for Lt. Governor Tate Reeves. Bryant said he believes as Governor, he has the same rights as everyone else to get involved in a political race, particularly one in which the stakes are so high.
In regard to the national perspective, there are only three states whose Governors are being elected this year; Mississippi, Louisiana, and Kentucky.
In the past, President Trump has not shied away from getting involved in a primary. Governor Bryant said he has already been in contact with the campaign and the White House. In the event the President does make the decision to support a particular candidate and reach out for advice, Governor Bryant plans to share how important this election is to the state of Mississippi.
With the Primary the first step to the November election, Governor Bryant urges all candidates and supporters to join together regardless of the party outcomes.
“I think what you see when one candidate says, ‘If I lose in a primary, I won’t allow my voters to go back and support the winner,’ then we have an opportunity of dividing this party and losing to the Democrats,” said Bryant. He goes on to say he thinks Republicans have a chance to take all of the statewide offices if the party can come together in support of the candidates that move forward.
With his remaining days in the Capitol coming to an end, Governor Bryant shared his hopes for his successor and the direction they take Mississippi.
“I think they can take it even further, and do an even better job,” said Bryant. “My job is to get the ball down the field.”
He acknowledged that in order to take Mississippi to the next level, it would take more than the eight years he was able to serve as Governor. He believes in order to keep moving in a positive direction a Republican Governor is key.
According to Bryant, he believes if a Democrat is elected it will undo the conservative ideals that have been implemented over the years. He said over his time in the office, and even before, years have been spent applying a more conservative philosophy in the state; growing the economy, investing in local and international business, the second amendment, and protecting the right to life.
“That is why I’ll be out supporting a Republican Governor and all those statewide elected officials that I can help and want my help,” said Bryant.