The GOP race for governor will be decided in a little more than a week each candidate is trying to make the case that he’s the most conservative, but Bill Waller Jr., once ran as a Democrat.
What does that mean?
In Mississippi it’s not unusual to see party switching.
In 1982, Justice Waller Jr., ran as a Democrat for Hinds County Chancery Judge now he’s running as a conservative Republican.
“In 1982, I ran as a democrat for chancery judge and back then pretty much everyone was a Democrat,” Waller said.
Waller’s father Bill Waller Sr., was a popular Democrat governor.
Political Science professor at Millsaps College, Dr. Nathan Shrader, says this does not mean the race is over for Waller.
“I don’t think it’s a nail in the coffin of the waller campaign by any stretch,” said Shrader.
Recently Mississippi has seen a number of Democrats switching to the Republican party. namely Sen.Cindy Hyde-Smith a former Democrat now Republican.
Lt. Governor Tate Reeves endorsed her candidacy for Senate.
“Senator Hyde-Smith is probably a very clear example of this,” he said. “Ran several terms as a democratic member of the legislature before becoming a Republican being elected AG Commissioner and now the US Senate.
Waller is arguing leaders of the Republican party from past and present are endorsing his bid.
Reeves says he’s not surprised, and has tried to paint Justice Waller as someone with liberal policies.
“I know Bill he’s a good man but the fact of the matter is you cannot be for Obamacare expansion in Mississippi and you cannot be for raising taxes in Mississippi and claim to be a conservative,” Reeves said alluding to Waller’s stances on a usage tax and healthcare.
Dr. Shrader says Mississippi leads in some ways among those that switch parties.
“In terms of sitting members of the state legislature who in the last decade have changed parties and I believe from the numbers that I have looked at Mississippi is probably the leader in the nation of sitting elected officials jumping from one party to the other.”
Justice Bill Waller Jr., served 21 years as a nonpartisan on the Mississippi Supreme Court.