Reeves, Hood clash on teacher pay, roads, health care

Tate Reeves and Jim Hood will square off in the Mississippi race for Governor. The election will be held on November 5.

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi's Republican lieutenant governor and Democratic attorney general debated teacher pay raise plans, road building and health care as they clashed for the first time in the governor's race.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Attorney General Jim Hood met Thursday at the University of Southern Mississippi in a debate sponsored by Jackson television station WJTV.

Hood argues Reeves had his chance to make improvements during his eight years as lieutenant governor and that voters shouldn't let him stay in office.

Reeves says he's pushing feasible plans and Hood wants to raise taxes.

The two traded charges over an aborted plan to build a road to Reeves' Flowood subdivision. Hood says evidence shows Reeves pushed the road, while Reeves says Hood abused his office to investigate his political opponent.

Meanwhile, a contested Republican primary and runoff dented Reeves' cash cushion, but he still has more campaign money than Hood.

Reports filed Thursday show Reeves used $3.2 million from his once-towering cash pile to support $5.8 million in spending as he fought off state Rep. Robert Foster and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller, Jr., to claim the GOP nomination.

But Reeves still raised $2.6 million from July through September and has $3.3 million on hand.

Hood raised $2.1 million during the period, including $1 million from the Democratic Governors Association. Hood spent nearly $2.3 million, leaving him with $1.3 million for the stretch run to the Nov. 5 general election.

The two will debate again Monday, Oct. 14, in Columbus, starting at 7 p.m. The debate is hosted by WCBI-TV. Supertalk Mississippi (locally, 103.3 FM) and MPB Radio (locally, 88.1 FM) will also air the debate.