Coast fields viable contenders for state’s top jobs

With midterms over and the new year approaching, campaigning for 2011 statewide elections is about to ramp up and the Coast, for the first time in modern history, has two viable candidates for the top two statewide offices, governor and lieutenant governor.

Businessman Dave Dennis of Pass Christian is running for governor and state Sen. Billy Hewes III of Gulfport for lieutenant governor, both as Republicans.

“Formal” candidacy announcements aside, both have been crisscrossing the state campaigning, fundraising and getting their names out via the upstate media this year. But both are expected to face serious opposition in the August GOP primary. Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, formerly a longtime state auditor, is actively campaigning and raising money for a gubernatorial run and second-term State Treasurer Tate Reeves is doing likewise for lieutenant governor. Both hail from the Jackson area, and both have name recognition from past statewide elections, especially Bryant, who served as state auditor from 1996 to 2008.

Sun Herald