GOP's Reeves, Bryant hold most campaign cash

By Jack Elliot Jr./The Associated Press

JACKSON — Two months out from the
Republican primary, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant says he has more than $1.7 million in the bank and still has the most campaign cash in the governor’s race.

Friday was the deadline for candidates to report how much they raised and spent the first five months of the year. Party primaries are Aug. 2, and the general election is Nov. 8.

Among other Republican candidates in the governor’s race, Dave Dennis of Pass Christian had $417,108 and Hudson Holliday of Pearl River County appeared to make the biggest jump with a reported $516,784. Closer inspection showed he gave his own campaign $500,000. Ron Williams of Moss Point filed a report showing no cash on hand as of April 30.

Republican Gov. Haley Barbour is limited to two terms and could not run again this year.

Bryant was state auditor for 10 years before winning the open race for lieutenant governor in 2007. His campaign spokesman, Quinton Dickerson, said in a statement that the finance report clearly showed that “people believe experience matters and a proven record of conservative leadership is what we need in our next governor.”

Dennis is a contractor and has served on the Federal Reserve Board.

“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. They are tired of politics as usual and their generous support is making this campaign possible. I’ve very thankful to all of them,'” Dennis said in a statement.

In the Democratic primary for governor, Bill Luckett of Clarksdale held $451,522 and Mayor Johnny DuPree of Hattiesburg had $98,790.

In the race for lieutenant governor, State Treasurer Tate Reeves of Flowood reported $1.78 million cash on hand as of May 31. His opponent in the Republican primary, Sen. Billy Hewes of Gulfport, had $747,834. No Democrat is running for lieutenant governor.

Hewes is an insurance agent and real estate broker. He has been in the Senate nearly 20 years and was chosen by his colleagues for this four-year term as president pro tempore, second only to the lieutenant governor in the 52-member chamber.

Reeves, who has served two terms as state treasurer, said in a statement that his campaign has received contributions from all 82 counties in the state.

“Our success is entirely due to the strong level of grass-roots support we enjoy across the state,” he said in the statement. “My wife Elee and I are grateful to the thousands of donors and volunteers from every corner of Mississippi who are enthusiastically giving of their time, talents, prayers and hard earned money to help us win this election.”

Click video to hear audio