Pine Belt voters sent message to Tate & Co.

By DAVID GUSTAFSON,

Plenty of people were upset with the results of Tuesday’s Republican runoff race between Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Chief Justice Bill Waller.

And frankly, they should have been.

However, one look at the results map shows that a majority of voters in both Forrest and Lamar counties chose Waller over Reeves and I assure you the lieutenant governor – and the rest of the state – noticed.

I like to think the Pine Belt is a bit more progressive than it lets on sometimes and voters sent that message loud and clear Tuesday night.

Of course, Reeves is already using scare tactics by painting Attorney General Jim Hood, his Democratic challenger, as some kooky liberal, which is hardly the truth.

Reeves, who has a reputation of being a bully who pouts and holds grudges against people who publicly disagree with him, will most assuredly borrow a page from President Trump by slinging mud, calling names, and straight-up lying about Jim Hood, who is, in fact, a conservative Democrat.

It's the same thing they did to U.S. Congressman Gene Taylor several years ago and look where that got us.

After the results came out last night, I took to social media to congratulate our Pine Belt neighbors for stepping up to the plate and sending that message.

One of the first people to respond was my friend Janet Mills, the honorable governor of the great state of Maine.

Janet and I became pals when I ran a group of newspapers in the western mountains of Maine and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.

Prior to being elected governor last fall, Mills served two terms as attorney general and she had the opportunity to get to know – and work with –  Jim Hood on more than one occasion.

In her own words, Hood “stood up for consumers, for healthy children and public safety and against child molesters. He's a consummate professional and a dedicated public servant. He'd be a great governor.”

And she should know because she’s a great governor, too.

Yes, she's a Yankee. But she's a smart Yankee and she knows what she's talking about. And so does Bill Waller. And he's no Yankee.

In his concession speech last night, Waller refused to mention Reeves by name, but the former conservative State Supreme Court justice didn't pull any punches about the lieutenant governor: “My opponent said that education was OK, that healthcare was OK, that the roads and bridges were OK,” Waller said.

And then he refused to say if he would support Reeves in the general election.

The fact of the matter is that none of those things are OK and when a man like Bill Waller stands up and says so, the residents of this state should take notice.

The Republicans will continue to have a stronghold on the state legislature for years to come and they will have the votes to overturn any threatened veto.

It's time to give someone else a chance to lead this state and Jim Hood has earned the opportunity.

Hood may be a Democrat, but first and foremost, he's a Mississippian. And he deserves your support come November.

Gustafson is the not-so-mild-mannered editor and publisher of The PineBelt NEWS.