With less than a week until the before the Mississippi lieutenant governor's race is decided, supporters of Billy Hewes and Tate Reeves made the pavilion at the Neshoba County Fair look and sound more like the bleachers at a football game.
Between cheers, Hewes and Reeves wasted no time taking jabs at one another.
Hewes, a five-term state senator from Gulfport, says that
because Reeves has never served in the legislature, Reeves is like someone who wants to fix a car but has never set foot in a garage.
Reeves, two-term state treasurer from Flowood, says Hewes has
voted for too much debt during 20 years in the Senate.
"Right here our debt is over $3.7 billion," said Reeves. "In the 12 years before Haley and I got elected, it grew from $500 million to $3.2 billion. Now my opponent voted for most of that debt, and that's probably why he doesn't talk about it too much."
"While Mr. Reeves calls himself a watchdog regarding our state debt, he intentionally fails to tell you that the bond debt that the legislature debated and that Governor Barbour reviewed and signed is the same debt Mr. Reeves voted for 99 percent of the time as a member of the bond commission," Hewes said.
Trading barbs is nothing new for either candidate. Both have been airing, and responding to, attack ads on television and radio throughout the campaign.
"Career politician; that's a term that my opponent tries to stick me with," said Hewes. "And it sounds real funny coming from a guy who's already served eight years and doesn't want to give up his political career yet."
"Senator Hewes loves to point out that I have absolutely no experience in the legislature," said Reeves. "He is right about that. I have no experience increasing our state's debt 91% from 1991 to 2004. That was him."
This race will be decided in the Aug. 2 primary. But Wednesday both men left the stage with supporters feeling like they were in the winner's corner.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.