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Republican lt. governor enters Mississippi governor’s race

JACKSON (AP) — Second-term Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves entered the Mississippi governor’s race Thursday, saying he wants to protect taxpayers and oppose the values of “Hollywood and Washington, D.C.”

Reeves, 44, of Flowood, filed qualifying papers at the state Republican Party headquarters, ending months of speculation about his plans.
The current Republican governor, Phil Bryant, cannot seek a third term.

Republican state Rep. Robert Foster, 35, of Hernando announced last month that he’s running for governor. The Republican mayor of Petal, Hal Marx, said months ago that he intended to run, as well. But Marx, 50, said Thursday on social media that he will not run because his wife, Mindy, has been diagnosed with cancer.

Democrats who have already announced for governor are fourth-term Attorney General Jim Hood, 56, of Houston, and retired Jackson State University employee Velesha P. Williams 57, of Flora.

Reeves likely enters the race with more money than any candidate. The most recent finance reports, filed nearly a year ago, showed Reeves had $5.4 million to Hood’s $656,400.

Candidates started filing papers Wednesday to run for statewide, regional, legislative and county offices in Mississippi. The qualifying deadline is March 1, party primaries are in August and the general election is in November.

Republicans have held the Governor’s Mansion in Mississippi for all but four years since 1991, when Kirk Fordice was elected as the state’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction. Democrat Ronnie Musgrove was elected governor in 1999 but lost to Republican Haley Barbour in 2003.
Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter: http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus .