JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Bill Waller Jr., a former chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, will not run for governor this year against incumbent Tate Reeves.
Waller ran for governor in 2019 before losing to Reeves in a Republican primary runoff. On Jan. 3, he told The Associated Press that he was “strongly considering” mounting another gubernatorial campaign to challenge Reeves this year, citing concerns over population decline, hospital closures and “corruption” related to a welfare scandal that has roiled the state.
“After talking with my family and supporters, and after much prayer and soul searching, I have decided not to run for governor,” Waller said in a statement to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and Mississippi Today.
Reeves has already filed to seek reelection. The only other person to file paperwork in the Republican primary is John Witcher, a doctor who leads a group of physicians opposed to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Brandon Presley, the state’s northern district public service commissioner and a distant cousin of Elvis Presley, is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor. Presley will face at least one candidate in the Democratic primary. Gregory Wash ran a low-budget race for governor in 2019 and has filed to run again.
Mississippi, Louisiana and Kentucky are the only states electing governors this year.