Mississippi voters will elect leaders for all eight statewide offices in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Those offices include governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer, state auditor, agriculture commissioner and insurance commissioner.
Use this guide to learn about candidates’ backgrounds and policy views.
Candidates for Governor
Why this office is important: The Mississippi governor is the head of state and the head of government as well as the commander-in-chief of the Mississippi National Guard. He or she enforces state laws and approves or vetoes bills the Mississippi Legislature passes and appoints leaders to hundreds of powerful positions and boards throughout state government. The governor also has the power to grant pardons except in cases of treason or impeachment.
Tate Reeves, incumbent Republican candidate for governor
Background: Incumbent Gov. Tate Reeves is a Rankin County, Miss., native and Mississippi College graduate. Before serving as governor, he served as lieutenant governor for two terms and treasurer for two terms.
Not long after he entered office, the COVID-19 pandemic began; Reeves implemented lockdowns early on and a statewide mask mandate, but later reversed COVID-19 restrictions even as Mississippi achieved the nation’s highest pandemic death rate in late 2021.
In 2022, he signed a bill giving Mississippi teachers an average $5,140 annual pay raise. He also signed a $524-million tax cut but has vowed to eliminate the state income tax altogether if reelected.
“If you earn income and you make a living in this state, we’ve cut your taxes,” Reeves said at the gubernatorial debate on Nov. 1.
Reeves has signed laws banning gender-affirming care for minors, including puberty blockers, and prohibiting transgender student athletes from participating on sports teams that match their gender identities. In 2022, the governor vetoed a bill that would allow formerly incarcerated people to vote.
Despite signing the 2020 bill that retired Mississippi’s old Confederate-themed state flag, Reeves has repeatedly drawn criticisms for designating April as “Confederate Heritage Month” each year since he entered office.
As lieutenant governor and Senate president, Reeves oversaw the passage of laws allowing public charter schools in the state and creating voucher programs that redirected state funds to pay for private school tuition for some special needs students. He also oversaw the passage of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, which kickstarted the case that overturned Roe v. Wade, and a six-week abortion ban a year later in 2019. During the debate on Nov. 1, he refused to say whether he would support criminalizing people who cross state lines to get an abortion.
- Opposes Medicaid expansion; instead proposes a Medicaid reimbursement reform plan
- Pledges to eliminate the income tax
- Does not support raising the minimum wage
- Opposes abortion rights
- Opposes gender-affirming care and sports participation for transgender minors
Brandon Presley, Democratic candidate for governor
Background: Nettleton, Miss., native Brandon Presley was raised by a single mother after his father’s murder on his first day of third grade. He is a second cousin of Elvis Presley and a graduate of Itawamba Community College and Mississippi State University.
Presley has served as a public service commissioner for the northern district of Mississippi since 2008. Before that, he was elected as Nettleton’s youngest mayor and served from 2001-2007. In March 2015, the commissioner helped with the groundbreaking for the largest solar power facility in Mississippi through a partnership with the Public Service Commission.
During his time as public service commissioner, Presley has pushed for broadband expansion across the state.
As a candidate for governor, he has focused heavily on expanding Medicaid, which he says will help 230,000 working Mississippians gain health-care coverage and could save rural hospitals in danger of closing. He has also vowed to eliminate Mississippi’s grocery tax, cut the car tag fee in half, raise the minimum wage and increase education funding.
“We need to get teacher pay to the national average to keep, attain and attract schoolteachers to Mississippi,” he said at the Mississippi governor’s debate on Nov. 1.
Presley says he is “pro-life” and opposes abortion, but that he would not support a law criminalizing people who go out-of-state to get abortions. Despite expressing concerns about parents’ rights to control their children’s health care, he has said he opposes gender-affirming surgeries for minors and would not repeal Gov. Reeves’ gender-affirming care ban for minors.
- Supports expanding Medicaid
- Plans to reduce the grocery tax
- Wants to cut car tag fees in half
- Pledges to raise the minimum wage
- Says he’s “pro-life,” but would not criminalize people who go out of state for abortions
- Would not repeal ban on gender-affirming care for minors
Gwendolyn Gray, independent candidate for governor
“I am proud to endorse Brandon Presley because he will be a governor who takes action for our people—including making sure our families have access to affordable health care by expanding Medicaid on day one, making sure government is in the hands of the people, and investing in public education so we can create opportunities here at home,” Gray said in a press release with Presley’s campaign in October.
Her name will remain on the ballot when voters go to the polls because of her late withdrawal.
Candidates for Lieutenant Governor
Why this office is important: The Mississippi lieutenant governor is the president of the Mississippi Senate and is the only state official who is part of both the legislative and executive branches of government. The lieutenant governor picks Senate committee members and can use his or her powers to advance or block legislation.
Delbert Hosemann, incumbent Republican candidate for lieutenant governor
Background: Incumbent Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann is a Warren County, Miss., native who served in the U.S. Army Reserves prior to attending law school at the University of Mississippi. Before his time as a politician, he was a lawyer at Phelps Dunbar, LLP.
Hosemann previously served as the secretary of state before being elected lieutenant governor in 2019. He helped Mississippi finally ratify the 13th Amendment, which outlawed non-carceral slavery after the end of the Civil War, while serving in that position. He also championed the 2011 referendum in which voters opted to make voter ID a requirement for casting a ballot in elections.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hosemann and the Legislature approved the use of $1.25 billion in federal relief funds to increase ICU-bed capacity, buy personal protective equipment, make a small business grant program and increase broadband access for rural communities.
Hosemann oversaw the passage of an average $5,140 annual pay raise for Mississippi teachers and has promoted expanding pre-K options. He has also spoken in favor of finding a plan to expand Medicaid that lawmakers in both chambers can agree on.
“We’re in the best financial state this state has been in,” Hosemann said at the Neshoba County Fair on July 26.
- Wants more infrastructure funding for state roads and bridges
- Supports some form of Medicaid expansion
- Backs increasing teacher pay
- Supports expanding education for pre-K students
- Wants to raise state employees’ pay
Ryan Grover, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor
Background: D. Ryan Grover is a native of Hattiesburg, Miss., who now lives in Oxford, Miss., and graduated from the University of Mississippi. He worked for the Oxford Transit System, served as public relations chair for the University of Mississippi’s College Democrats and helped set up the nonprofit Mississippi Votes. Grover founded the business consulting startup Tryangle Solutions in Oxford, Miss., in 2018 and works as a consultant.
He says he wants to make registering to vote and casting a ballot easier, expand Medicaid to cover more working Mississippians, lower business taxes to 4%, fight back against “brain drain” with good jobs and “modernize” Mississippi by integrating more technology into state government.
“And that’s really what it comes down to with me is just kind of creating a modern Mississippi, one where technology really helps, you know, provide transparency, provide efficiency and overall, make the life of Mississippians better,” he told the Mississippi Free Press in an interview on Oct. 12.
- Wants to make voting and registering to vote easier
- Supports expanding Medicaid
- Plans to integrate technology into the state government
- Proposes lowering business taxes to 4%
- Hopes to provide good jobs to prevent “brain drain” among young, educated Mississippians
Candidates for Attorney General
Why this office is important: The Mississippi attorney general serves as the State’s lawyer and defends its interest in court. He or she cannot pass legislation but can use the office’s influence to pursue legislative goals. The attorney general can also start investigations for cases and prosecute people or entities on behalf of the State.
Lynn Fitch, incumbent Republican candidate for attorney general
Background: Incumbent Attorney General Lynn Fitch is from Marshall County, Miss., and got her bachelor’s and juris doctor at the University of Mississippi. Before becoming attorney general, she was the state treasurer for two terms. She is the first woman to serve as Mississippi attorney general and the first Republican elected to the position since 1878.
Fitch took the abortion case that resulted in the overturning of Roe v. Wade to the U.S. Supreme Court as she defended Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. After that ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, she certified Mississippi’s 2007 abortion trigger ban, outlawing all abortions in the state “except in cases where necessary for the preservation of the mother’s life or where the pregnancy was caused by rape.” No rape exceptions are allowed after about six weeks.
Fitch previously joined other Republican attorneys general across the nation in signing onto a doomed legal effort to overturn the 2020 election after Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump. Fitch has argued that she should have access to information on Mississippians who obtain out-of-state abortions. As attorney general, she has led arguments in support of maintaining Mississippi’s felony voter disenfranchisement laws, a relic of the State’s 1890 Jim Crow constitution.
In July 2023, Fitch asked a court to reverse the conviction of a Jackson police officer who was charged with manslaughter in the 2019 death of George Robinson. She portrays herself as “tough on crime” and pro-police.
“We are taking down those criminals, we’re putting them away and we’re making Mississippi safer for you,” Fitch said at the Neshoba County Fair on July 26.
- Focuses on fighting human trafficking
- Aims to defend families from online criminals
- Opposes transgender rights protections
- Opposes abortion rights
Greta Kemp Martin, Democratic candidate for attorney general
Background: Tishomingo County, Miss., native Greta Kemp Martin is the daughter of longtime Tishomingo County Sheriff Mike Kemp. She is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and Mississippi College’s School of Law. Martin serves as the litigation director for Disability Rights Mississippi.
Martin has argued for creating a “conviction integrity unit” in the attorney general’s office that would examine potential wrongful convictions. She has also proposed establishing a fair labor division in the department and said she believes incarcerated people should regain voting rights.
“I also stand alongside Mississippi workers, … members of the LGBTQ+ community, the disability community and formerly incarcerated individuals, all of whom have been repeatedly let down by state leaders,” Martin said at a press conference in Jackson, Miss., on Oct. 24.
- Wants to investigate wrongful convictions
- Plans to establish a fair labor division
- Believes formerly incarcerated people should regain voting rights
- Would not prosecute Mississippians for abortions in cases of rape, incest or harm to the mother
Candidates for Secretary of State
Why this office is important: The Mississippi secretary of state trains poll workers and monitors all election results. The office enforces business regulations, oversees public land and publishes state documents. The office is in charge of handling campaign finance reports from candidates and political action committees.
Michael Watson, incumbent Republican candidate for secretary of state
Background: Incumbent Secretary of State Michael Watson grew up in Pascagoula, Miss., and earned a bachelor’s and juris doctor degree from the University of Mississippi. He was a Mississippi state senator for the 51st district from 2007-2019 before he became secretary of state.
As a senator, he helped pass Mississippi’s voter ID law. As secretary of state, Watson supported a “ballot harvesting” ban that Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law, prohibiting people from gathering and transmitting ballots on behalf of others in many cases. He has expressed support for allowing online voter registration, but lawmakers have not advanced any such legislation. Despite rumors he would run for governor, he opted to run for reelection for his current office.
“While I believe Mississippi would be more prosperous with better leadership at the top, leadership that fostered teamwork as opposed to micromanagement, leadership that cared more for Mississippi than politics, I’m not at peace leaving the work we’ve started here at the Secretary of State’s office because there’s a lot more to be done,” Watson said in a statement announcing his run for reelection on Jan. 25.
- Supports voter ID law
- Promises to properly manage state land
- Says he wants to foster business development
- Supports online voter registration
Ty Pinkins, Democratic candidate for secretary of state
Background: The son of a tractor driver in the Mississippi Delta, Ty Pinkins grew up on cotton farms in Rolling Fork, Miss. He served in the U.S. Army for 20 years, went on three combat tours in Iraq and received a Bronze Star. The decorated veteran then went to law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Pinkins founded a nonprofit organization that mentors young people in low-income communities and works to ensure equal representation.
The Democratic Party selected him as its nominee after the prior nominee, Shuwaski Young, withdrew in August citing health issues. Pinkins has endorsed no-excuse early voting and expanded absentee voting options, restoring voting rights to formerly incarcerated people who have served their time, adopting same-day voter registration and implementing online voter registration.
“Mississippi is tragically the toughest state to cast a vote in,” he said at a press conference on Sept. 20. “… The journey to the ballot box should be our proudest march—a commitment to democracy—but today it’s a maze crafted deliberately by Michael Watson and his allies.”
- Wants to restore voting rights for formerly incarcerated people
- Endorses no-excuse early voting and absentee voting
- Supports same-day voter registration and online voter registration
- Hopes to restore the ballot initiative
Candidates for State Treasurer
Why this office is important: The Mississippi state treasurer keeps up with financial records and oversees public bond issues. He or she reviews and approves contracts for fuel, paper, printing and stationery for the Legislature and state agencies.
David McRae, incumbent Republican candidate for state treasurer
Background: Incumbent Mississippi State Treasurer David McRae is from Rankin County, Miss., and is the great-grandson of the founder of McRae’s department store. He graduated from Southern Methodist University and got his juris doctor at Mississippi College.
Under his leadership, the state treasury and the Mississippi Department of Human Services teamed up to return $1.7 million in unclaimed money to families with unpaid child support.
“I promise to continue using our state dollars efficiently and effectively and maintain our strong credit rating,” McRae said at the Neshoba County Fair on July 27.
- Prioritizes fiscal responsibility
- Aims to modernize state government
- Plans to give more money to Mississippians through unclaimed property
Addie Lee Green, Democratic candidate for state treasurer
Background: Addie Lee Green graduated from the Jackson Public School system and Jackson State University. She was an alderwoman in Bolton, Miss.
Green unsuccessfully ran for treasurer in 2019 after losing elections for public service commissioner in 2008 and 2011. She says she supports Medicaid expansion, raising the minimum wage to $15/hour and improving public education. The state treasurer does not have the authority to implement such policies, however.
“It isn’t about the state treasurer; it is about your health care in all divisions of Mississippi,” Green said at the Neshoba County Fair on July 27.
- Wants to improve education
- Supports Medicaid expansion
- Wants to open up service stations to help people find information
- Supports raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 hourly
Candidates for State Auditor
Why this office is important: The Mississippi State auditor investigates and reports on the spending of public funds. The office audits state agencies, county governments, school districts, colleges, universities, community colleges and vocational schools. The auditor does not have prosecution powers, however.
Shad White, incumbent Republican state auditor
Background: Incumbent State Auditor Shad White is from Sandersville, Miss., and has degrees from the University of Mississippi, St. John’s College and Harvard University. He was the policy and research director for former U.S. House Rep. Alan Nunnelee’s campaign for Congress.
Former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant hired White as director of policy in his office when he served as lieutenant governor and later appointed him to the auditor position in July 2018 following former State Auditor Stacey Pickering’s resignation. White won election in 2019.
He is the first millennial to serve in statewide office in the Deep South and has served in the U.S. Air Force since 2020.
While serving as state auditor, White began investigating what turned out to be the largest public fraud scandal in Mississippi’s history with the misspending of $77 million Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds. He announced the first arrests in the scandal in February 2020 alongside Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens, a Democrat.
In 2020, he launched an investigation into a University of Mississippi professor for taking part in an anti-racism strike and has since criticized the availability of anti-racism books in school libraries. On social media, the auditor has been critical of spending taxpayer dollars on degrees for college students majoring in “urban studies” and “women’s studies.”
“Honestly, I have no idea why Mississippi taxpayers should pay (money) to educate an urban studies or women’s studies major. These programs are basically indoctrination factories. How about nursing, managerial economics, mech engineering instead,” White wrote in a Twitter post on Sept. 12.
- Pledges to recover misspent taxpayer dollars
- Says he wants to increase government efficiency
- Investigating DEI programs at colleges and universities
Larry Bradford, Democratic candidate for state auditor
Background: Panola County, Miss., native Larry Bradford previously served as the mayor of Anguilla, Miss. After a devastating tornado hit the nearby town of Rolling Fork, Miss., in March 2023, Bradford paused his campaign for state auditor to help pass out Federal Emergency Management Agency supplies to residents.
He later resumed his campaign, arguing that the state auditor’s office should use its powers to help small towns more. He also says he wants to increase transparency about efforts to recover misspent welfare funds.
“If your problem is important to you, it should be important to me,” Bradford told the crowd at the Neshoba County Fair on July 27.
- Aims to be more transparent about TANF case
- Wants to help small towns
Candidates for Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce
Why this office is important: The agriculture commissioner promotes and regulates state agricultural businesses and products.
Andy Gipson, incumbent Republican candidate for agriculture commissioner
Background: Incumbent Commissioner Andy Gipson is from Flowood, Miss., and got his bachelor’s and juris doctor from Mississippi College.
He served as a Mississippi state representative from 2008 until 2018, when then-Gov. Phil Bryant appointed him to serve as agriculture commissioner to replace Cindy Hyde-Smith after she became a U.S. senator. As a representative, Gipson helped pass bills that allowed people to carry guns in more public places.
During his time as commissioner, his office has renovated the Mississippi State Fairgrounds, the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum and the Mississippi Coliseum.
“Agriculture is the No. 1 economic driver in our state. It’s the No. 1 employer,” Gipson said at the Neshoba County Fair on July 26.
- Plans renovations for state agriculture buildings
- Wants to invest in agriculture and the food supply
- Hopes to get a farmers market in every community
- Promises to help livestock facilities
Robert “Brad” Bradford, Democratic candidate for agriculture commissioner
Background: Fourth-generation farmer and Isola, Miss., native Robert “Brad” Bradford served in the U.S. Army Reserves before graduating from Alcorn State University. The farmer has been the Adams County emergency management director for nine years.
“Being a fourth-generation farmer, I understand what small farmers go through. And we’ve got to get back to it,” Bradford said at the Neshoba County Fair on July 26. “As emergency management (director), I understand everything starts small and works its way up.”
He has worked to help people in natural disasters and says the Mississippi agriculture commissioner needs to understand how to help farmers who have gone through tragedies.
- Hopes to help small farmers
- Wants to boost marketing in the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce
- Wants to increase diversity in MDAC staff
Candidates for Insurance Commissioner
Why this office is important: The Mississippi insurance commissioner regulates insurance companies in the state and protects consumers. He or she makes sure that the companies follow laws and regulations and ensures that insurance is available for Mississippians. The commissioner can ask certain insurance companies to stop doing business in the state if the commissioner believes the insurer is not benefiting Mississippians.
Mike Chaney, incumbent Republican candidate for insurance commissioner
Background: Incumbent commissioner Mike Chaney is from Tupelo, Miss., and graduated from Mississippi State University. He is a U.S. Army veteran and served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969.
Before winning his first election as insurance commissioner, Chaney was a Mississippi state representative for seven years and a state senator for eight years. He was the chairman of the Senate Education Committee and co-wrote the Mississippi Adequate Education Program when he was a state senator in 1997. Chaney has been the insurance commissioner since 2008.
Under his leadership in 2021, the Mississippi Insurance Department recovered more than $3.8 million of Mississippians’ money. He has long supported expanding Medicaid.
“Insurance touches everybody’s life. From the time that you are born to the time you die, insurance is going to be something that affects your life between those two terms,” Chaney said at the Neshoba County Fair on July 26.
- Plans to regulate pet insurance
- Hopes to reduce deaths by fire
- Supports Medicaid expansion
- Wants to reform the bail-bond industry
Bruce Burton, Democratic candidate for insurance commissioner
Background: Bruce Burton is a Shaw, Miss., native who currently lives in Belzoni, Miss. He has degrees from Alcorn State University, Delta State University, Southern University and Jackson State University. The candidate owns Burton Law Firm and works with Southwest Mississippi Legal Services.
Burton unsuccessfully ran for Mississippi public service commissioner in 2019 and as a court of appeals judge for Mississippi’s fourth district in 2022.
No policy positions are publicly available.
Social Media: Facebook
Mississippians will vote for statewide, legislative and regional offices on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. Any eligible registered voter who registered in person by Oct. 9 or had their voter registration application postmarked by Oct. 10 can cast a ballot in the general election.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Contact your local circuit clerk or election commissioners for polling place information. Voters must bring an accepted form of voter ID to the polls. For more information, visit sos.ms.gov/yall-vote.