DECISION 2019 PROFILE: Bill Waller Jr.

Mississippi's former chief justice has forced a Republican runoff election for the state's highest elective office.

Posted: Aug 26, 2019 5:54 PM
Updated: Oct 2, 2019 1:29 PM

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) — Bill Waller Junior is making noise in his bid to become Mississippi's next governor.

The Republican running statewide for the very first time forced Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves into a runoff Tuesday for the GOP nomination. 

And he's positioning himself as the Republican who can beat Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood in the November general election.

"The people of Northeast Mississippi want a conservative Republican in the governor’s mansion," Waller said. "And I’m the most electable conservative Republican in the race.”

With infrastructure as the primary focus of the candidate's campaign, Waller also plans to expand Medicaid, raise the gas tax to fix roads and bridges and increase teacher pay. 

“I think we’ve got a crisis right now," Waller said. "We’ve got over a thousand teacher vacancies we couldn’t fill last year.”

Raising taxes is not something any candidate wants to propose, but Waller said it should be on the table for roads and bridges, especially since the people using them are the ones who would be paying for the improvements. 

While his opponent mentions President Trump, Waller has highlighted another Republican icon when it comes to where he stands.

“Everyone in Northeast Mississippi recognizes a need to do something, and we want to do the plan Ronald Reagan did," Waller said. "We’ve got conservative plans.”

Expanding Medicaid is not a popular position with Republicans who have been running state government because the state would have to put up some money to go along with the extra federal funds.

Still, Waller has come down strong in favor of making such a move, and the Center for Mississippi Health Policy makes a case for it.

The non-profit, nonpartisan group predicted that Medicaid expansion could bring health coverage to as many as 300,000 uninsured residents and provide up to 9,000 jobs. 

“I’ve got the pragmatic conservative plans for education including teacher pay, career in education for health care," Waller said. "We need to support the North Mississippi Medical Center. They need to be staffed adequately, and they can’t do that right now, and we can do it without taxpayer money.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 80°
Columbus
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 76°
Oxford
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 70°
Starkville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 72°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather