JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Republican race for Governor isn’t a done deal. Tate Reeves and Bill Waller Jr. are heading to a runoff in three weeks.
Tate Reeves carried the majority of the counties but Bill Waller, Jr. was able to win some of the more populous counties including Hinds, Madison and Rankin. But it’s a clean slate as they go head to head in round two.
The next three weeks are expected to ramp up in intensity for the GOP Governor’s race runoff. But how much?
“The tough decision now on both sides is how far will Republican voters allow you to go in attacking the others?" explained Millsaps Department of Government and Politics chair Dr. Nathan Shrader. "Because they’re going to have to do something to set each other apart.”
Reeves had more pointed criticisms for Waller Wednesday.
“I respect Justice Waller," said Reeves. "He is a good man. But he’s not a conservative.”
He says he’s viewing this as a job interview for the leader and fighter for the party and conservative values.
“Honestly if you want higher taxes and you want more Obamacare in Mississippi," added Reeves. "There are two choices now for you in Mississippi. You can choose Jim Hood or you can choose Bill Waller.”
Waller noted differences on positions ranging from education, economy, health care and roads and bridges.
“That’s what separates me from Tate," said Waller. "And I think majority of Mississippians are going to be focused on moving this state ahead.”
Waller knows he splits with Reeves on the Medicaid expansion and gas tax issues.
“People I think given the road situation the way it is, I think people are not going to accept that," Waller said. "I think people that live in communities where the hospital’s at risk of closing---they’re not going to accept that.”
And then there’s the Robert Foster factor.
“Do they go with the more conservative candidate on the social issues like Tate Reeves has or do they go with the person who is the anti-Tate Reeves?" questioned Shrader. "What is the motivating factor?”
Waller and Reeves tell us they spoke with Foster Wednesday and both seem to be jockeying for his supporters’ votes.
The runoff will be held Tuesday, August 27.