Photo: Brandon Presley is welcomed by supporters at his Meet and Greet event Sunday evening in Southaven (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
Mississippi gubernatorial politics returned to DeSoto County in the past week, as both incumbent Republican Gov. Tate Reeves and Democratic challenger Brandon Presley made appearances on separate days at different locations in the county.
Gov. Reeves was first, making an appearance in Olive Branch on Oct. 26 to help KRONE North America celebrate the manufacturer’s 50th anniversary, in conjunction with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ (AEM) national grassroots campaign “I Make America.”
The German equipment manufacturer began its North American operations in 1973 and came to Olive Branch in 2020.
Reeves pointed out that KRONE North America impacts thousands of state residents by their presence in the Magnolia State.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Reeves told KRONE employees at a celebration event. “Equipment manufacturing space helps support 25,000 jobs across our state and it contributes over $2.5 billion to our economy.”
After his speech, Reeves said he has discounted recent polls saying the difference between him and Presley has tightened.
“I will tell you the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day,” Reeves said. “The people of DeSoto County and other conservatives, if we all go to vote, this won’t be a very close election. If you think Mississippi is a great place to live, work, and raise a family, I need you to go vote on Election Day.”
Meanwhile, Presley greeted supporters on Sunday evening, Oct. 29 inside Brown Missionary Baptist Church’s south campus on Swinnea Road in Southaven. It came at the end of a campaign day throughout the state he said had started in Pascagoula in the morning and ended in DeSoto County that evening.
Presley told backers he has a “sincere shot at winning,” pointing to his polling numbers.
“I’m not saying that because I want you to go vote,” Presley said. “I’m saying it to you truthfully, based on the research we have and the polling we have. This race is neck-and-neck.”
The outgoing Northern District Public Service Commissioner hit on familiar themes, saying Reeves is involved with the ongoing welfare scandal and is ignoring healthcare issues with his opposition to Medicaid in Mississippi.
Presley believes he can make inroads in DeSoto County, believing there are voters who have been ignored here, adding his campaign has an office in the county, a first for a Democratic candidate for governor.
Presley also believes he can work to get things done with the primarily Republican legislature, if elected, through cooperation.
“I view this as an opportunity to show leadership for the state, of getting things done and finding those sweet spots in public policy where Republicans and Democrats are able to work together,” Presley said. “I don’t run from that, I run to that. I will work better with a Republican legislature than Tate Reeves has worked with a Republican House and Senate, as governor.”