NESHOBA COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) -The Neshoba County Fair is kind of like a crash course in Mississippi politics. Today’s lesson: the gubernatorial race. Most of the speeches follow the same bullet points you’ve likely seen in ads and push cards ahead of election day. But there are usually a few jabs and surprises mixed in. Republican Bill Waller took the opportunity to announce a new plan for improving the state’s highways.
“A highway system for the future," said Bill Waller as he held up a color-coded map. "We’ll let professionals decide based on needs and population and no politics. We’re going to do it based on needs.”
Republican Robert Foster says he’s not focused on the recent poll numbers putting him in third place in the race.
“We’ve seen a lot of internal polling that shows a completely different scenario," Foster explained. "I think this race is going to be one of those races that’s going to be very unpredictable and it’s going to be a very big surprise for some people on August 6.”
Tate Reeves drove home that he is the only candidate opposed to both raising the gas tax and expanding Medicaid. And he used what’s becoming a repeat phrase to describe why he’s talking more about Hood than his GOP opponents.
“Our political enemy is the liberal policy ideas of the party of Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Jim Hood,” said Reeves.
Jim Hood cautioned the crowd to watch out for the partisan labeling and noted that he’s prepared to work with a conservative legislature.
“No crazy laws or liberal stuff is going to get passed in the legislature," said Hood. "So you ask him, what are you talking about liberal and all the Washington stuff? I mean, that’s got nothing to do with what would happen here in Mississippi. And what that legislature will pass and what I’ll sign as Governor.”
And one of Hood’s primary challengers, Robert Shuler Smith saying he’s not calling anyone the front-runner yet.
“I’ve spoken to the people and the people are very excited that they have a choice for somebody who’s going to represent the interests of communities and not a few people and not a few corporations,” Shuler Smith said.
The primary election will be held August 6.