John Arthur Eaves baptized three of his four sons in the Jordan River, an event he highlights in a radio campaign ad. The candidate for governor of Mississippi thinks Roe v. Wade should be overturned, calls for reintroducing school prayer and wants limits on riverboat gambling — all hot-button issues among evangelical pastors. A baby-faced trial lawyer with a flair for self-promotion, Eaves is employing the same tried-and-true campaign tactics as many Republicans running in the South, the Midwest and other culturally conservative parts of the country.
But Eaves isn’t just any old run-of-the-mill evangelical candidate — he’s a Democrat. And he’s challenging not just any first-term governor, but Haley Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee and a Goliath in the GOP, with possible designs on the White House.