Meet the CandidatesMississippi News

Debate challenges in Governor’s, Secretary of State races

Photo: Brandon Presley speaks with a voter ahead of the Walls Fire Department political rally on Saturday, July 22. (Bob Bakken/

The two major candidates for Mississippi governor may be headed to a debate stage if both sides agree. 

Monday, Aug. 14, Democratic candidate Brandon Presley publicly challenged incumbent Republican Gov. Tate Reeves to a series of five debates across the state in advance of November’s general election.  

Presley said in Olive Branch on Wednesday, Aug. 9, the day after he was officially given the Democratic nod without opposition in the primary election, that he would debate Reeves “at any time, anywhere. We welcome the opportunity to debate. I’m certainly rarin’ to go for the debates.”

The Democratic candidate, in a video message posted on social media, said, “I am not afraid to face the people of Mississippi. Citizens are owed debates from candidates for Governor and I’ll debate anywhere, any time. Tate Reeves has been caught red-handed in the largest welfare scandal in state history and he doesn’t want to answer for his role in it.”

The Reeves campaign has not yet responded to Monday’s announcement from the Presley campaign. We’ll update this item when we do.  

Here’s the Presley announcement as posted on Twitter:  

On Tuesday, Aug. 15, Democratic nominee for Mississippi Secretary of State Shuwaski Young released the following statement regarding his challenge to debate incumbent Republican Michael Watson.

“Five days ago, I called on Michael Watson to debate me ahead of this critical general election. Like many Mississippians, I am disappointed in our election system. Michael Watson has enforced anti-voting policies, refused to update our outdated election systems with new technologies, and allowed his Republican friends to raise dark money unchecked.

“Facts are facts: Michael Watson has made it harder to vote, not easier.

“We can do better than Michael Watson.  Mississippians deserve answers for his failed term – and that’s why I have challenged Watson to debate me in the public square. Sadly, he has refused that challenge. He should answer for his record. Mississippians deserve no less before the general election.”

Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob is also heard on 95.3 The Rebel twice a week with sports updates and high school football play-by-play broadcasts in the fall. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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