By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Phil Bryant and Tate Reeves, facing the final two months of campaigning for the Aug. 2 party primary elections, have sizable cash advantages over Republican opponents.
State Treasurer Reeves, campaigning for lieutenant governor, has $1.8 million cash on hand, according to his campaign finance report filed Friday, the deadline for reporting May contributions and expenditures.
Reeves’ Republican opponent, Senate President Pro Tem Billy Hewes of Gulfport, has $747,834 in cash on hand.
Hewes raised $115,430 in May and has spent $937,379 for the year. Reeves raised $163,395 during May and has spent $888,740 for the year.
Reeves’ largest contribution during the month – $25,000 – was made by James Barksdale, an Internet pioneer and philanthropist. Hewes’ biggest donation – $20,000 – came from Ted Cain, a Gulfport businessman.
Bryant, the current lieutenant governor running to succeed Gov. Haley Barbour, has $1.7 million cash on hand and raised $238,761 during the month. Gulf Coast businessman Dave Dennis – considered his main opponent in the Republican primary – has $417,108 cash on hand and raised $103,883 during the month.
“Wherever we go across the state, people tell us how refreshing it is to see someone from the private sector with proven job creation experience running for governor,” Dennis said in a news release. “They are tired of politics as usual and their generous support is making this campaign possible.”
Dennis has a fundraiser scheduled for Monday in Tupelo.
Quinton Dickerson, a spokesman for Bryant, said the campaign “continues gaining momentum as demonstrated by May’s campaign finance report as well as several recent endorsements from pro-business groups in Mississippi. It’s clear that people believe experience matters and a proven record of conservative leadership is what we need in our next governor.”
Other Republican candidates for governor had surprisingly large campaign warchests. Ron Williams of Moss Point raised $375,495 for the year, apparently from his own money. Hudson Holliday of Pearl River County reported raising $520,450 for the month – $515,000 from himself.
In the Democratic race for governor, Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree raised $42,647 for the month and has $98,790 in cash on hand. Clarksdale businessman/attorney Bill Luckett has $451,522 in cash and raised $61,769 during the month.