Vandalism and new allegations tied to welfare scandal are latest developments in Governor’s race

Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 8:05 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -We’re just more than two months away from the statewide general election. The race for Governor keeps heating up.

Even before Tate Reeves and Brandon Presley were officially opponents, they’d already started taking aim at one another. Monday’s developments all center around the welfare scandal, and there’s a lot of finger-pointing from both sides.

”I’m calling on Tate Reeves to return the $1.7 million in campaign contributions.”

Brandon Presley says those dollars are all tied to the welfare scandal.

His allegations while standing in front of the Governor’s mansion for Monday’s press conference included: Tate Reeves accepted over $270,000 from Joseph Canizaro, who met with Brett Favre to build a Prevacus drug trial site and manufacturing plant on his land.

Presley says Reeves has received $1.2 million from University of Southern Mississippi donors, including lobbyists, benefactors, and USM Athletics Foundation members. And he added that Reeves has received $13,000 from the Loosers, who received over a million dollars in taxpayer money meant for working families to cut TV ads promoting Ted DiBiase.

This was Presley’s response when asked if any of those individuals he’s calling out are listed in the state’s civil lawsuit.

“I would point out that the Cannizzaro contribution of $300,000 was directly linked to the Prevacus development with Brett Farve,” noted Presley. “And then you can look at the Loosers who produced the ads that Ted DiBiase got millions of dollars to put out and to be a spokesman for. And so those are direct direct ties.”

Presley’s saying there’s a tie to the timing of when the independent investigator was fired after he subpoenaed the USM Athletic Foundation.

“The donations to Tate Reeves campaign from USM benefactors spiked by $244,000,” he said. “They had already given to each campaign over a million dollars while he was looking the other way and failing to perform any oversight during this welfare scandal.”

Reeves campaign responded.

“I guess now he’s trying to say that anyone who supports Southern Miss is somehow wrapped up in this kind of thing,” said Parker Briden, senior advisor to the Reeves campaign. “Look, it’s just shenanigans from a guy who’s trying to get his name off the ground and a campaign where he can’t talk about the issues.”

All this is coming the same day as the discovery of this vandalism at a Purvis store, with the same phrase that was found on a Hattiesburg business last month.

“This is what happens when you have a Democratic opponent who’s bringing in the craziest elements of the national Democrat Party to Mississippi,” added Briden. “The bottom line is Tate Reeves would have had to be a time traveler to be involved in this scandal. It all happened before he became Governor.”

We asked Presley about the vandalism, and he said his supporters have not been involved in it and it was the first he’d heard about it.

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