Republican wins Mississippi governor race

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) will ascend to the state's top job after winning a contentious and competitive race for governor in one of the most conservative states in the country.
 
With 93 percent of precincts reporting, Reeves led Attorney General Jim Hood (D) by a 53 percent to 46 percent margin. The Associated Press projected Reeves would win the race.
 
While Mississippi has long been conservative, it has only recently become a reliably Republican state, as ancestral Democrats abandon their old party. Reeves will be the third consecutive Republican governor; Democrats have controlled the governor's mansion for only four of the last 25 years.
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Still, Reeves faced a close race against Hood, the state's longtime attorney general and one of the few remaining Democrats to hold statewide office in a Southern state.
 
Reeves got off to a rough start in the general election after being forced to compete in a runoff against a conservative rival. Reeves outspent that candidate by a wide margin, and he maintained a cash advantage over Hood throughout. But he faced questions about whether he could bring together a Republican coalition that had not yet fallen in love with him.
 
Reeves did his best to nationalize the race, bringing in both President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment MORE and Vice President Pence and running advertisements that associated Hood with national Democratic leaders like Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerIlhan Omar blasts Pete King as an 'Islamophobe' after he announces retirement: 'Good riddance' Top Senate Dem: Officials timed immigration policy around 2020 election Senate fight derails bipartisan drug pricing bills MORE (N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats sharpen their message on impeachment Congress hunts for path out of spending stalemate Siren song of impeachment lures Democrats toward election doom MORE (Calif.).
 
Hood, meanwhile, used his office to give himself a leg up. Hood opened a lengthy investigation into Reeves's involvement in a road project near his home and personally wrote a report that came out just weeks before the election. He refused to recuse himself, and his campaign wasted almost no time using the report — which did not accuse Reeves of substantial wrongdoing — in televised campaign ads.
 
Hood tried to fashion himself as a down-home Democrat, using advertisements to talk about his hunting and fishing habits and his gun. But he quietly used one of the nation's most popular Democrats, former President Obama, to help bolster African American turnout. Obama recorded a robocall on Hood's behalf that went out Monday night, just hours before the polls opened.
 
But it wasn't enough, and on Tuesday Hood appeared headed for defeat. Republicans appeared on pace to hold the lieutenant governor's office — and to win the attorney general's office, now that Hood is out of the way.