JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Democratic nominee for Mississippi governor said Tuesday that his Republican opponent should stop running a "phony" campaign commercial about supporting public education.
Attorney General Jim Hood criticized Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves for filming part of the commercial at the private New Summit School in Jackson.
The ad that started airing Friday promotes Reeves' proposal to increase public school teachers' pay by about $4,000 to reach a Southern average.
"Most teachers don't do it for the money, but we've gotta pay them more," Reeves says in the commercial as he looks at the camera.
Hood has also said he wants to increase Mississippi teacher pay. Hood said during a news conference at his campaign office Tuesday that taking inflation into account, teachers are making $900 less now than when Reeves took office.
"It makes my blood boil," Hood said of the Reeves ad. "You know, for somebody who hasn't done anything for public education for the past eight years to go to a private school talking about public education and teacher pay — he's not funded public education or given teachers raises."
Hood also said: "It's just a ... phony kind of commercial in an election year, where you come up with all these plans and he's had an opportunity and done nothing."
The Democrat called for Reeves to take the commercial off the air. A Reeves campaign spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Records show both Reeves and Hood have received campaign donations from top people at New Summit School. During a debate Monday, Reeves asked if Hood would return the campaign donation. Hood said he didn't steer $1 million in state money to a company affiliated with the school, as Reeves did through state budget earmarks.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump again tweeted his support of Reeves, as he initially did Oct. 3.
....He loves our Military and supports our Vets! Get out and Vote for Tate Reeves on November 5th. He has my Complete and Total Endorsement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2019
"Tate is strong on Crime, tough on Illegal Immigration, and will protect your Second Amendment," Trump wrote in one tweet. He continued in another: "He loves our Military and supports our Vets! Get out and Vote for Tate Reeves on November 5th. He has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"
Mississippi's current Republican governor, Phil Bryant, is prohibited by state law from seeking a third term. Two other candidates — independent David Singletary and the Constitution Party's Bob Hickingbottom — are running low-budget campaigns for governor.