Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves has declined an invitation to participate in Republican gubernatorial candidate debate at Mississippi State University that will feature the other two GOP candidates expected to appear on the ballot.
The College Republicans organization at Mississippi State University on Saturday announced it will host a Republican primary debate in conjunction with the MSU Department of Political Science and Public Administration.
The debate will take place at 6:30 p.m. on April 2 on the MSU campus in Lee Hall’s Bettersworth Auditorium.
Gubernatorial candidates Bill Waller Jr., former chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, and State Rep. Robert Foster, of DeSoto, have agreed to participate in the debate, the group said via press release on Saturday.
Reeves, who many view as the Republican frontrunner in the governor’s race, declined to participate due to a scheduling conflict, according to the event’s organizers.
Chairman of the College Republicans at Mississippi State Adam Sabes said those planning the debate reached out to the Reeves camp, but were unable to agree on a date.
“We understand that Lt. Governor Reeves has a very busy schedule,” Sabes said. “We have done everything in our power to schedule an event that he would be able to attend.”
Jonathan Bailey, chairman of the debate committee, the organization hopes to represent the future of the state by holding the Republican debate.
“We desire to encourage discussion and civil debate among our leaders,” Bailey said.
All statewide primary elections will take place on Aug. 6 and The College Republicans said it wants to begin primary season by asking candidates to discuss the issues.
“We want to thank Justice Waller and Representative Foster, as well as their campaigns, for working with us to bring a well-needed discussion of issues and policy to our state,” Sabes said. “We hope that all of the candidates, including Lt. Governor Reeves, will seek to find opportunities to have serious conversations about improving our great state.”
The College Republicans at Mississippi State are a chapter of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans.
For more information about the College Republicans at Mississippi State or about the debate, please contact the chapter executive board at firstname.lastname@example.org.