By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS
JACKSON — Second-term Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves continues to have the strongest fundraising effort among the candidates running for Mississippi governor, according to new finance reports filed Friday.
Reeves had about $6.7 million in his three campaign funds at the end of April. Fourth-term Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood, also running for the state’s top job, had almost $1.2 million available to spend.
Friday was the deadline for Mississippi statewide, regional and legislative candidates to report how much money they have raised and spent through April 30.
One of Reeves’ Republican primary opponents is Bill Waller Jr., who retired early this year as chief justice of the Supreme Court and then started raising money to run for governor. Waller collected nearly $583,000 in March and April.
Republican state Rep. Robert Foster had nearly $19,000 in his campaign fund for governor after the first four months of the year.
Nine Democrats are running for governor, and reports filed by Friday showed Hood has far outpaced the others in fundraising. The next closest were Velesha P. Williams, a former Jackson State University administrator who has raised just over $18,000 and has spent most of it; and Robert Shuler Smith, the current Hinds County district attorney, who has raised nearly $11,400 and has also spent most of it.
Reports were not available late Friday for three of the Democrats.
Party primaries are in August, and the general election is in November.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant cannot seek a third term. The last time Mississippi had a governor’s race without an incumbent was 2011, when Bryant won his first term after serving one term as lieutenant governor and a dozen years as state auditor.