Democratic Candidates Challenge Republican Opponents to Debates

Side by side closeup of two men
Democratic candidate for Secretary of State Shuwaski Young, pictured left, challenged his Republican opponent incumbent Michael Watson to a debate in a press release on Aug. 15, 2023. Democratic candidate for governor Brandon Presley, pictured right, has repeatedly asked incumbent Gov. Tate Reeves to debate. Photos by Shuwaski Young campaign / AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Two Mississippi Democratic candidates want to debate their Republican opponents ahead of the Nov. 7 primary election this year.

Democratic candidate for governor Brandon Presley challenged Gov. Tate Reeves to five debates. He even said he would meet the Republican at his deer camp, referencing when Reeves said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he wanted to debate California Gov. Gavin Newsom about gun laws.

“We want to do five debates throughout the state,” Presley told reporters recently in Greenwood, Miss. “I think that’s fair regionally in Mississippi, and then to have one overall debate … The people in Mississippi deserve that. We’re ready to go any place, anytime.”

WLBT’s Courtney Ann Jackson reported on Aug. 17 that Reeves would take his opponent’s challenge.

“We’ll do debates,” the governor said. “I’ll tell you that four years ago we debated our opponent. I’m sure we’ll debate in the coming weeks. Our teams will have to work out the details on that, but I’m fairly confident that we’ll debate this.”

Reeves debated Democratic candidate for governor Jim Hood twice in 2019.

The Mississippi Free Press reached out to Reeves’ office on Tuesday for a statement but did not receive a response by press time.

Incumbent Republican Secretary of State Michael Watson will not debate his opponent Shuwaski Young, the Democrat wrote in a press release on Aug. 15.

“We can do better than Michael Watson,” Young said. “Mississippians deserve answers for his failed term—and that’s why I’ve challenged Michael Watson to debate me in the public square. Sadly, he has refused that challenge. He should answer for his records. Mississippians deserve no less before the general election.”

Watson has not made any public remarks about debating Young. The Mississippi Free Press attempted to contact Watson on Tuesday but did not receive a response prior to this writing.

The secretary debated his GOP opponent Sam Britton in 2019 when they were running for office. Watson spoke at a forum with his Democratic candidate Johnny Dupree in 2019 at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Anyone who wishes to cast a ballot in the November election must be registered 30 days in advance. Voters should bring an accepted form of voter ID to the polls, or they may have to cast an affidavit ballot. Those without an accepted form of ID can obtain a free voter ID from their county circuit clerk’s office.

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