Statewide candidates battle it out at Neshoba County Fair

Statewide candidates battle it out at Neshoba County Fair

NESHOBA COUNTY, MS - Every Neshoba County Fair has drawn a crowd since 1889, but it is especially busy on an election year like this one.

Several statewide candidates took the podium at the Fairgrounds pavilion Wednesday, including candidates for state auditor, attorney general and lieutenant governor.

Lt. Gov. candidate Tim Johnson (D) called for the expansion of Medicaid, claiming it would add 20,000 jobs to Mississippi's work force in addition to improving access to healthcare.

"For our leaders to turn their backs on billions of dollars that could flow into this state, (it) just doesn't make sense to me," Johnson said as his supporters in "Tim" shirts cheered him on.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said the expansion would be a "fiscal train wreck."

State auditor candidate Mary Hawkins Butler (R) was not the only one to talk about alleged misuse of campaign funds by an opponent. Attorney General candidate Mike Hurst (R) called for AG Jim Hood to answer to an alleged $209,000 in "unitemized disbursements" over the past few non-election years.

"The law is crystal clear," Hood said on campaign finance reports. "People can use money for non-campaign related issues. I've tried to get the legislature to change the law. Unfortunately, Governor Barbour vetoed the law."

Johnson also said voters who support fully funding education through Initiative 42 and also vote for Reeves would be "cutting off your nose spiting your face."

Reeves, on the flip side, said this year the legislature would fund $400 million more on public education than they did when he first took office in 2011.

Secretary of state, speaker of the house and all five candidates for governor will speak Thursday morning.