JACKSON—With his Southern Baptist pastor standing beside him at the King Edward Hotel in Jackson, Democrat Jim Hood conceded defeat in the race for Mississippi governor, reiterating his religiously inspired campaign theme of fighting for “the least of these” in policy areas like health care and education.
Nearby at the Westin, though, Republican Gov.-elect Tate Reeves seemed to soften his position on expanding Medicaid—which he has long opposed—as he celebrated his win on Tuesday night alongside a slate of fellow GOP victors.
“We’re going to work with the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the House on every issue that’s out there. We have every intention of working with them to ensure that we get good things done for the people of Mississippi,” said the the governor-elect, when Jackson Free Press reporter Seyma Bayram asked him if he would work with Lt. Gov.-elect Delbert Hosemann on expansion.
Expansion would open the program up to around 300,000 more Mississippians in working households that make too much for traditional Medicaid but not enough for federal subsidies or to pay for private insurance. On the campaign trail and during his time as lieutenant governor, Reeves outright rejected the idea, saying he was “against Obamacare expansion,” as he called it, referring to the fact that it is part of the former president’s signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act.
In January, Hosemann, a more moderate Republican, will replace Reeves as lieutenant governor, a position that includes executive powers and whose holder also serves as president of the Mississippi Senate. In that role, Hosemann will have the power to appoint committee chairs and to decide which legislation is prioritized—and which legislation dies.
Hosemann, who is currently the secretary of state, cruised to victory on Tuesday night with 60% of the vote against Democratic opponent Jay Hughes, an Oxford-area