Presley campaign launches its first TV ad in governor’s race

Jul. 11—Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brandon Presley’s campaign launches its first television ad today.

Political advertising tracking firm AdImpact reported the Presley campaign spent $110,000 to run its new ad on Mississippi TV stations starting July 11. Presley campaign communications director Michael Beyer declined to comment on exact spending.

Presley, former Nettleton mayor and current Northern District Public Service Commissioner since 2008, is running unopposed for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination on the Aug. 8 primary ballot. (Two other candidates filed for the race, but the state party ruled they did not qualify.) In the Nov. 7 general election, he will likely face Gov. Tate Reeves, who has one poorly funded Republican primary challenger, John Witcher.

The Reeves campaign began running TV ads in May.

The incumbent governor entered the race with several million dollars carried over from past campaigns. He has led Presley in both new contributions and total cash on hand in every campaign finance filing so far. For the month of June, the Reeves campaign reported over $1 million in new contributions and over $9.6 million cash on hand. Presley’s campaign reported over $500,000 in new contributions and over $1.85 million cash on hand.

Presley’s new 60-second ad shows him speaking to the camera in Nettleton, where he was mayor from 2001 to 2007. Presley claims that as a public service commissioner since 2008, he has kept utility companies from raising rates and helped expand high-speed internet access.

Presley has made internet access a feature of his campaigns for years. Publicly available records from Meta show sponsored Facebook ads from his campaign promoting rural broadband expansion dating as far back as May 2020. Gov. Reeves signed a law this April approving a new state office to spend federal money on broadband expansion.

In the new ad, Presley says as governor, he would eliminate the grocery tax, reduce car tag fees, expand Medicaid and jail corrupt politicians. Presley has made ethics a focus of his campaign and has repeatedly criticized Reeves for alleged ethics lapses, including ties to people involved in the state’s ongoing welfare scandal involving the misuse of funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

The governor has been neither criminally charged nor sued in civil court related to the scandal.

In a statement, Presley campaign manager Ron Owens called Reeves “knee-deep in the largest public corruption scandal in state history” and said Presley plans to “clean up state government so Mississippi can put corrupt politicians where they belong — in jail.”

Reeves’ campaign did not comment on ethics allegations. In response to a Daily Journal inquiry, spokesperson Elliott Husbands instead said “Brandon Presley has already admitted that he supports legalizing sex change procedures on children and taken support from far-left Democrats. He doesn’t have to keep pretending to try and win.”

On Monday, the Reeves campaign announced a new 30-second TV ad about transgender youth sports rules.

Both the Reeves and Presley campaigns have previously released campaign videos on social media. Presley posted a video online when he announced his campaign in January. Reeves shared one in May.

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