GRAY: Lt. governor still a potent power center

Reeves and Hewes offer distinctly different backgrounds, but neither wasted much time in his youth before seeking public office. Reeves, 36, had a background in finance when at the age of 28 he sought and won the treasurer’s office. The Florence (just south of Jackson) native is nearing the end of his second term.

Hewes, meanwhile, is a 49-year-old veteran of 20 years in the Senate. He’s already running on his experience, saying that it’s not a time for “on the job training.”

Reeves would be a rare lieutenant governor – there have been none in 40 years – to serve without previous legislative experience. But he’s well connected in Republican and business circles and is intentionally styling himself as a “watchdog” legislative outsider.

If a Republican is elected governor, which is likely, either of these men, if they have gubernatorial ambitions, will have to keep them in check for eight years. But both Reeves and Hewes have plenty of time, politically speaking.

In the meantime, the occupant of the lieutenant governor’s office will have plenty of opportunity to steer a significant share of the power in state government his way. That alone should be enough to get us to pay attention.

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Lloyd Gray