Home State Wide Final election results: 2023 was the closest Mississippi governor’s race since 1999

Final election results: 2023 was the closest Mississippi governor’s race since 1999


Incumbent Gov. Tate Reeves garnered 50.9% of the vote in winning reelection on Nov. 7 — the closest Mississippi governor’s race since 1999.

Reeves garnered 418,233 votes (50.9%), Democrat Brandon Presley received 391,614 (47.7%) and independent Gwendolyn Gray received 11,153 votes (1.4%), according to final county-by-county voting totals posted this week by the secretary of state’s office.

Reeves beat Presley by 26,619 votes — a considerably tighter margin than the governor’s race four years ago, when Reeves defeated Democrat Jim Hood by 45,028 votes to win a first term in the Governor’s Mansion.

The secretary of state’s office did not receive the final results from all 82 counties until this week. Counties have a certain time period after the election to count late-arriving mail-in ballots and affidavit ballots. In the coming days, Watson will certify the results, but the final totals already can be found on the secretary of state’s website.

A Democrat has not won the governor’s mansion in Mississippi since 1999, when Ronnie Musgrove prevailed with a plurality of the vote. Musgrove received 49.6% that year compared to 48.5% from Republican Mike Parker.

In 2019, Reeves won his first term as governor by defeating then-Attorney General Jim Hood 51.9% to 46.8%. While the percentage difference was closer in the 2023 election, Hood won more total votes in 2019 than Presley did this year. Hood received 414,368 votes in 2019, while Presley received 391,614 votes in 2023. In 2019, 63,911 more people voted than this year.

Presley narrowly captured three counties in 2023 that Hood did not win in 2019. Those counties were Lowndes, Grenada and Forrest. The 2023 election marked the first time since 1979 for a Democrat to win Forrest County. But Presley also lost two counties in 2023 that Hood won in 2019. Four years ago, Hood won the counties of Madison and Lafayette. Both those counties flipped to Reeves in 2023.

Those counties, along with Hood’s home county of Chickasaw and Oktibbeha, are the only majority white counties to vote for the Democrat in either election.

RESULTS: Mississippi statewide election 2023

Reeves will be the first Mississippi governor elected to a second term with a smaller percentage of the total vote than he received in winning his first term. It is important to note, though, that Reeves is only the fourth governor elected to consecutive terms. Mississippi governors have only been allowed to serve two terms since the late 1980s.

Also, Reeves received a much smaller percentage of the vote than the winners of the other seven statewide offices — all Republican.

For instance, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, in winning reelection, won 490,956 votes or 60.7% of the total. The Democratic candidates for the other seven statewide posts ran lower profile and lower budget campaigns than their Republican opponents.

Presley, a four-term public service commissioner for the northern district, ran an aggressive campaign, outraising Reeves in 2023. The incumbent, though, came into the election year with a massive campaign war chest that dwarfed that of Presley.

In the first year in which a gubernatorial race could possibly have gone to a runoff, Reeves avoided that historic scenario by just 15,466 votes. Under a new state law, if no candidate for statewide office garners a majority vote, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff.

Reeves ultimately prevailed by running up large margins on the Gulf Coast, in Presley’s home area of northeast Mississippi, and in certain areas of east Mississippi.

Presley garnered 54,006 votes in Democrat-rich Hinds County compared to 13,634 for Reeves. But despite Presley’s much ballyhooed get-out-the-vote effort in Hinds, Hood still garnered 2,125 more votes in Hinds in 2019 than did Presley in 2023.

Overall, the vote total in Hinds was down 4,182 in 2023 compared to 2019. It is difficult to say whether Hinds County election problems in 2023 caused fewer people to cast ballots. But Hinds had problems with long lines and with some precincts running out of ballots for extended periods of time.

Final results from other statewide races

Lieutenant governor:

Republican incumbent Delbert Hosemann: 490,956

Democrat Ryan Grover: 317,347

Attorney general

Republican incumbent Lynn Fitch: 470,270

Democrat Greta Kemp Martin: 339,948

Secretary of state

Republican incumbent Michael Watson: 481,895

Democrat Ty Pinkins: 328,067


Republican incumbent David McRae: 472,705

Democrat Addy Lee Green: 337,008


Republican incumbent Shad White: 474,313

Democrat Larry Bradford: 334,418

Insurance commissioner

Republican incumbent Mike Chaney: 480,514

Democrat Bruce Burton: 329,214

Agriculture commissioner

Republican incumbent Andy Gipson: 467,901

Democrat Robert Bradford: 342,172

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