WJTV and the Nexstar family of stations broadcast the first statewide gubernatorial debate of 2019 between Republican Lt. Governor Tate Reeves and Democrat Attorney General Jim Hood.  Two very different visions were on display and the debate did not disappoint.

Hood and Reeves had very different aims.  Reeves wants to make this race about Elephants and Donkeys (Republican and Democrats).  Hood wants to make this race about anything but party affiliation.

There were an array of issues that drew contrast.

There were questions on big picture issues such as Medicaid, where the candidates drew great contrast.  Hood remains resolutely for Medicaid expansion.  Reeves remains opposed.  Other issues discussed included the state flag, background checks for guns, the Castle Doctrine, the recent Chancellor search at Ole Miss, creation of an equal pay law over and above what federal law currently prescribes, infrastructure and medical marijuana.

Interestingly moderators Byron Brown and Greg Hurst really cornered both candidates over issues involving their own parties and endorsements.  For Reeves, Hurst hit Reeves on (1) not gaining the endorsement of Bill Waller from the primary and (2) for losing his own county of Rankin.  Reeves crafted his answer essentially saying that he was trying to earn the votes of all Mississippians.

Brown pushed Hood on his unwillingness to support Democrat AG nominee Jennifer Riley Collins, who has openly asked Hood for her fellow Democrat’s support.  Hood tried to take the position that he won’t get involved in anyone else’s campaign, but Brown persisted and at the 23:00 mark, he made Hood say that he would not endorse Riley Collins.

Reeves replied stridently, “I am for the Republican nominees in every race across Mississippi. See, it wasn’t that hard.”

Who won tonight's gubernatorial debate between Tate Reeves and Jim Hood For Governor #msgovdebate #mselex #msgov

Posted by YallPolitics on Thursday, October 10, 2019

The post debate coverage was compelling as well.  Reeves mostly stuck to his talking points.

Tate Reeves responds after the debate

Posted by WJTV 12 News on Thursday, October 10, 2019

Reminiscent of earlier this year when Hood refused to answer a question from a credentialed Capitol reporter, Hood was openly dismissive to a reporter from the Hattiesburg Patriot News.

Jim Hood responds after the debate

Posted by WJTV 12 News on Thursday, October 10, 2019