JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s a race to be elected as the Republican nominee for Governor, and it’s morphing into a race about who’s the most conservative choice. “Conservative” seems to be a buzzword in the primary.
“Rushing to embrace conservatism but maybe define it the way they want it to be defined or the way they perceive Mississippi voters as defining conservatism," said Dr. Nathan Shrader, a professor at Millsaps Department of Government and Politics. "Which right now looks like a sharp adherence to these culture war issues.”
Most recently, Robert Foster invoked the “Billy Graham Rule” in response to a ride-along request from a female journalist. That rule being that he wouldn’t be alone with a woman other than his wife. Bill Waller, when asked, said he follows that same rule in personal and professional life.
“I’m not necessarily surprised that this is where this race is at this moment," added Shrader. "Maybe this is not the issue that I expected us to be talking about. But you’re looking at a competitive Republican primary in a state with a conservative Republican party. They are going to try to one up one another to prove they are the true conservative candidate.”
Meanwhile, Tate Reeves has taken on issues with his ads like the one supporting “In God We Trust” on the state license plates and highlighting Mississippians values are different than those of “Hollywood and coastal elite."
“Those other two candidates may be trying to eat into the support that maybe Tate Reeves has already cultivated on those culture war issues,” noted Shrader.
While it does follow a national trend for GOP races, Shrader says there is one concern.
“This does shortchange the other issues that affect Mississippians on a daily basis,” he said.