EXCLUSIVE: One Democrat hoping to unseat an incumbent Republican governor in a deep-red state is breaking with his party in a new ad released Tuesday that involves him taking a literal saw to some of the state's tax schemes.
The ad, titled, "Buzzsaw," shows Democratic Mississippi gubernatorial candidate Brandon Presley, the second cousin to famed rock-n-roll legend Elvis Presley, using a large reciprocating saw to cut a car in half.
The display of American grit appears aimed at wooing the state's largely conservative voters by going after taxes Presley says are taking money out of their pockets that they could be using to just survive.
"These days it feels like everything is costing more. I know what working people are going through because growing up, my family scraped just to get by. It's why, as mayor of my hometown, I balanced budgets and cut taxes, and why, as governor, I'll finally axe the grocery tax," Presley says in the ad.
"And how about this: I'll take a saw to the cost of car tags and cut ‘em in half, because you should have more money to spend on what matters to you, not sending it back to the government. It’s that simple," he says.
The six-figure TV buy will begin running across the state on Tuesday.
"Mississippians are ready for a leader like Brandon Presley who isn’t afraid to take a buzzsaw to taxes kicking working families in the teeth," Presley campaign manager Ron Owens said in a statement.
"Tate Reeves has had 12 long years to cut taxes for working families, including high car tag fees and the highest-in-the-country grocery tax, and he hasn't lifted a finger because unless you can write him a campaign check, Tate Reeves doesn’t care about you," he added.
Presley, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, has served as a member of the Mississippi Public Service Commission since 2008, and before that as mayor of Nettleton, Mississippi, from 2001 to 2007.
According to a report by The Clarion-Ledger, a local newspaper in Jackson, Presley describes himself as a "Populist, FDR-Billy McCoy Democrat," and is known across the state for his bipartisanship. He has even endorsed candidates across the aisle, including former Republican President George W. Bush in 2004.
Presley is expected to face Republican Gov. Tate Reeves, who is seeking a second term, in the general election on Nov. 7.
Early polls have shown Reeves with a consistent lead over Presley, but with some suggesting a closer than expected race in the deeply conservative state. Reeves held just a four-point lead, 43%-39%, in a January Mississippi Today/Siena College poll.
The same poll conducted in April showed Reeves' lead extend to 11 points, 49%-38%.