JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Polls will open for Mississippi’s 2023 General Election on Tuesday, November 7, and voters will cast their ballots on what may be the tightest governor’s race we’ve seen since 2019.

Much of the issues are the same, and much of the attacks are the same when you compare the 2019 gubernatorial race to this year’s race. What is different this year is the sheer amount of money being spent and raised from both candidates.

Democratic candidate Brandon Presley and incumbent Gov. Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) have spent a combined $21 million on this year’s race. Presley has led the fundraising efforts between the two candidates, brining in just more than $11 million and out-fundraising Reeves by $5 million since January 2023.

Presley has shattered fundraising efforts for a Democratic gubernatorial nominee, surpassing what former Democratic nominee Jim Hood collected by $5.6 million.

Presley has benefitted from high dollar out-of-state contributions, including a $5.8 million donation from the Democratic Governors’ Association.

Reeves has received $1 million from the Republican Governors’ Association and utilized his legacy campaign accounts.

When compared to 2019, $5 million more has been spent in total from both candidates. Both are using their millions to launch statewide engagement operations.

The question remains, will Brandon Presley’s financial momentum and voter outreach efforts be enough to pull off the upset in a Republican stronghold?

When it comes to the issues the candidates are running on, few things have changed. Raising teacher pay, Mississippi’s aging infrastructure and issues surrounding Mississippi’s healthcare remain key talking points.

Presley has pledged to expand Medicaid on day one if elected, while Reeves is unchanged from 2019.

“We can’t afford not to expand Medicaid. I believe that we have got to take these steps in Mississippi to not only help 230,000 working people get healthcare and save our hospitals and create 16,000 jobs, but also to bring in $1 billion worth of revenue to Mississippi,” said Presley.

“I have been opposed to Obamacare expansion in our state because I don’t believe that we need to add 300,000 able bodied Mississippians onto the welfare rolls. What they don’t tell you about Obamacare expansion is that of the 300,000 that would go on to the rolls, about 100,000 of those are currently, you know, own private insurance. And so, the reimbursement rates to the providers for that 100,000 people would actually go down,” said Reeves.

The candidate who prevails on Tuesday will take control of the state at a crucial time in its history. With dozens of rural hospitals in the state facing closure, the highest level of infant mortality in the country and 19% of the state in poverty, there is plenty of work to be done.

With recent gains in education, state and federal investments in healthcare and infrastructure, both candidates are focused on the future.

“At the end of the day, we have a very clear choice to make. Do we want to continue down the path of conservative leadership in which we stand up to the administration, that we tell them that we’re not going to take Mississippi in a direction that they’re trying to take America? Or are we going to go down that path where the Biden administration is going to tell our Democrat liberal governor what to do? I don’t think that’s going to be a very difficult choice for the people of our state,” Reeves stated.

“I think voters are just ready to turn the page on Tate Reeves. I hear that from Republicans. I hear it from Independents. Of course, I hear it from Democrats. And the coalition that we’re building is truly a coalition of of people across party lines. But Black Mississippians, white Mississippians, people from north Mississippi, central Mississippi and south Mississippi, and this is a coalition that is going to bring home a victory on November 7th,” said Presley.

On top of all of that, a runoff is still possible. Independent candidate Gwendolyn Gray has withdrawn from the race, but her name will be on the ballot. She has endorsed Presley, but she could still pull votes from both candidates.