Reeves defeats Hewes in GOP primary for Lt. Gov - - Jackson, MS

Reeves defeats Hewes in GOP primary for Lt. Gov

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - State Treasurer Tate Reeves of Flowood defeated state Sen. Billy Hewes of Gulfport on Tuesday in the hard-fought Republican primary for Mississippi lieutenant governor.

Reeves, 37, will more than likely hold the office for the four-year term that begins in January. No Democrat is running for lieutenant governor in the Nov. 8 general election. A Reform Party candidate could be on the ballot, but the party has never won a statewide race in Mississippi.

"I'm honored by the support that we've received all over the state of Mississippi," Reeves said in a telephone interview Tuesday night. "It's been a tough campaign. Sen. Hewes ran a good campaign - fought very, very hard. Now, it's about bringing people in our state together to govern because that's what the voters all across the state of Mississippi expect."

Reeves said he wants to work with Republicans and Democrats to bring jobs to the state.

Hewes, 49, could not immediately be reached Tuesday night. He has been in the Senate 20 years and was elected by his colleagues four years ago as the chamber's president pro tempore - second in command to the current lieutenant governor, Republican Phil Bryant.

Bryant on Tuesday won the Republican nomination for governor.

The lieutenant governor presides over the 52-member state Senate, appoints the Senate committee chairmen and assigns bills to committees. Those powers can determine which policy proposals survive.

Reeves and Hewes spent the past few weeks bickering over each other's records in public office, including how much of a role each has played in increasing Mississippi's long-term bond debt.

Reeves entered the lieutenant governor's race with more name recognition and he raised more campaign cash than Hewes.

Hewes ran an aggressive campaign, releasing a detailed list of legislative proposals that includes drug testing for welfare recipients. He also revealed a list of senators he wanted to appoint to important committee chairmanships.

Rival factions of the Reform Party want to run a candidate for lieutenant governor. The state Election Commission in the next few weeks could consider which Reform candidate will represent the party in November.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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