Mississippi Gubernatorial Spending and Messaging Analysis


Written by Sydney Beckham

In Mississippi, the race for the state’s top seat has become both costly and competitive. Incumbent Tate Reeves (R) is seeking re-election for a second term, facing an unexpected challenge from Democrat Brandon Presley, which has turned the typically Republican stronghold competitive. Just two weeks ago, Cook Political Report changed its rating of the race from Likely R to Lean R, and a recent poll reported Reeves leading Presley by one point.

The two candidates have spent over $18M across Mississippi markets. Reeves has spent $9.7M while Presley has spent $8.7M. There has not been any significant issue group spending. The last Mississippi gubernatorial general (2019) only saw $6.7M total. There has been a 168% increase in ad spending between the 2019 and 2023 Mississippi gubernatorial election. 

This is a bar chart of spending in Mississippi gubernatorial election

A recent ad from Tate Reeves’ campaign features a video of former President Donald Trump giving his endorsement to Reeves. In the ad, Trump claims “Joe Biden’s people are funding Brandon Presley’s campaign” and “it’s really bad for Mississippi”. Reeves has mentioned Trump in his ads before, specifically talking about his support of Trump’s border wall.

In August, Reeves’ campaign released an ad suggesting that Presley supports sex changes and puberty blocking drugs for children, “whatever radical liberals want”. Presley’s campaign responded with an ad claiming Reeves will “say anything to protect his good old boy network”. The ad also referenced Reeves’ alleged corruption scandal.

If neither candidate can receive 50% or more of the vote, both candidates will advance into a general runoff election, taking place on November 28th. If a runoff occurs, the state will likely see millions more in spending. 

For another 2023 election day blog, read our blog on Ohio’s abortion amendment here:

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