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Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves in Jackson on April 19, 2023.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves in Jackson on April 19.Rogelio V. Solis / AP file

Brandon Presley hits Tate Reeves over welfare scandal in new ad

A new ad from Brandon Presley's campaign hits GOP Gov. Tate Reeves over, "millions ... steered from education and job programs to help his rich friends."


In a new ad launched Tuesday, Democrat Brandon Presley's campaign for Mississippi governor highlights Gov. Tate Reeves', R-Miss., links to a welfare fraud scandal that rocked the state last year.

"Under Tate Reeves, millions were steered from education and job programs to help his rich friends," a narrator in the ad, shared first with NBC News, says.

The ad then highlights several of the items that were paid for using funds taken from state welfare coffers, like a personal trainer and a University of Southern Mississippi volleyball stadium promoted by former NFL quarterback Brett Favre.

Reeves has previously denounced the welfare scandal, saying last year, that "there are a lot of other state agencies, and certainly, federal entities, that are looking at the criminal side of things, and we are cooperative in that regard because our responsibility and our goal [is] to recover every single dollar that was wrongfully spent, and we are going to be aggressive in doing so."

This is Presley's first ad attacking Reeves, since Presley, a state public service commissioner, announced he would run against Reeves in January. A recent Morning Consult poll found that just 42% of Mississippi voters approve of the job Reeves is doing.

It coincides with an announcement Tuesday from the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) that they are spending $750,000 to help Presley's campaign.

Though the group primarily backs incumbent governors seeking re-election, the DGA's Executive Director Meghan Meehan-Draper pointed to the group's "proven track record of winning" against incumbent Republican governors in the past as a reason for their investment in this race.

They are not the only national group to bet on the governor's race, as the Mississippi Strong PAC, a group linked to the Republican Governors Association, gave $500,000 to Reeves' campaign earlier this year.

Presley's campaign did not say how much they would spend to run the anti-Reeves ad on TV, but they have reserved over $250,000 worth of TV ad space, beginning on Tuesday, per AdImpact, an ad tracking firm.