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Most Mississippi statewide officials are collecting more campaign cash than their challengers


JACKSON, Mississippi — Most of Mississippi's statewide elected officials are raising and spending more campaign cash than their challengers, according to finance reports filed before a Wednesday deadline.

Three Republican incumbents — Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann — each reported more than $1 million cash on hand through May 31, far outpacing their challengers.

The only incumbent being outraised and outspent by a challenger so far is Treasurer Lynn Fitch, who saw some of her top campaign staff members defect to the campaign of David McRae, her challenger in the Aug. 4 Republican primary.

Fitch reported having $106,313 cash on hand. McRae reported $334,008. He and his wife, together, put $200,000 into his campaign in May.

The only Democrat in statewide office, Attorney General Jim Hood, has just over $211,000 cash on hand. His Republican challenger, Mike Hurst, has almost $164,000. Hood and Hurst are unopposed in the primary, so they will compete in the Nov. 3 general election.

Incumbents typically start the race with more name recognition and a fundraising advantage.

Bryant, who's seeking a second term as governor, reported $2.7 million cash on hand through the end of May, which is more than 44 times larger than the other gubernatorial candidates' combined $61,578.

Reeves, seeking a second term as lieutenant governor, reported $2.6 million on hand, which is nearly 29 times larger than the other candidates in the race, combined.

Hosemann, seeking a third term as secretary of state, reported $1.1 million on hand. Democrat Charles Graham reported $100 cash on hand. The Reform Party candidate, Randy Walker, reported having no cash on hand.

Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter: http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus .

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