Brandon Everitt Presley (born July 21, 1977) is an American politician who served as a member of the Mississippi Public Service Commission from the Northern District from 2008 to 2024 and mayor of Nettleton, Mississippi, from 2001 to 2007. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Brandon Presley
Presley in 2023
Member of the
Mississippi Public Service Commission
from the Northern district
In office
January 1, 2008 – January 4, 2024
Preceded byDorlos Robinson
Succeeded byChris Brown
Mayor of Nettleton
In office
Preceded byTommy Lee Riley
Succeeded byR. V. Adams
Personal details
Brandon Everitt Presley

(1977-07-21) July 21, 1977 (age 46)
Amory, Mississippi, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Katelyn Mabus
(m. 2023)
RelativesHarold Ray Presley (uncle)
Elvis Presley (second cousin)
Ray Mabus (cousin-in-law)
EducationItawamba Community College
Mississippi State University (BA)
WebsiteCampaign website

Presley has been described as a moderate,[1][2][3] populist[1][4] politician who holds conservative stances on issues such as gun control, taxes, and abortion.[4][5][6][7][8] He was the Democratic nominee for governor of Mississippi in the 2023 election, narrowly losing to incumbent Republican Tate Reeves by 3.24%.[9] He had the best performance for a Democratic candidate for governor since 1999.

Early life edit

Brandon Presley was born on July 21, 1977[10] in Amory, Mississippi, and raised in Nettleton. His father was an alcoholic and died when Brandon was eight years old, leaving him in the sole care of his mother.[11] His uncle, Harold Ray Presley, subsequently served as a father figure for him.[10] He studied at Itawamba Community College and Mississippi State University.[11]

Political career edit

Early activities edit

Presley described his politics as "Populist, FDR-Billy McCoy Democrat."[11] He managed the successful campaign of his uncle Harold for the office of Sheriff of Lee County when he was 16 years old.[12]

Presley ran for the office of Mayor of Nettleton in 2001 and won with 78 percent of the vote.[10] He was sworn-in as the mayor in July 2001. Aged 23 upon his assumption of the office, he was the youngest mayor in Mississippi's history.[12] He served until 2007.[13][14] As mayor, he crossed party lines to endorse the reelection campaign of George W. Bush in 2004.[15]

Public Service Commissioner edit

On June 15, 2007, Presley declared his campaign for the office of Public Service Commissioner for the Northern District of the Mississippi Public Service Commission.[16] He defeated two other candidates in the August Democratic primary[17] and defeated Republican Mabel Murphree in the general election.[18] He was re-elected in 2011, 2015, and 2019.[19]

Presley assumed office as Public Service Commissioner for the Northern District on January 1, 2008.[20] During his first year in office he advocated streaming the commission's meetings on the internet.[21] He has advocated bringing internet access to rural areas of Mississippi.[22]

Presley opposed the Kemper Project,[23] a large Mississippi Power "clean coal" electricity plant development in Kemper County, as residents in the Northern District were not served by Mississippi Power or would otherwise economically benefit from the project.[24] The project suffered from delays and cost overruns. In 2017, Presley became chairman of the Public Service Commission, which then forced Mississippi Power to terminate its plans for clean coal electricity generation at the Kemper facility.[25]

Presley, as well as the other two members of the Public Service Commission, opposes using Mississippi as an alternative site to Yucca Mountain for nuclear waste storage.[26]

In 2014, Presley succeeded Betsy Wergin of Minnesota to serve as chair of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' Committee on Consumer Affairs. The committee is charged with analyzing the role that state service commissions play in consumer protection within the energy and telecommunications industries.[27]

In the 2015 elections, Democratic state representative Cecil Brown was elected to represent the Central District. This gave the Democratic Party a majority on the Commission. Subsequently Presley was appointed to serve as chair of the commission.[28] In March, he presided over the groundbreaking of the largest solar power facility in the state. The project is a joint effort between the PSC, the United States Navy and Mississippi Power at NCBC Gulfport.[29] He was replaced by Chris Brown on January 4, 2024.[30]

2023 gubernatorial campaign edit

Following months of speculation, Presley announced his candidacy for governor of Mississippi in the 2023 election on January 12, 2023.[31] The same day, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi endorsed Presley.[32] Later that month, from a shuttered hospital in Newton, he delivered a response to incumbent governor Tate Reeves' State of the State address, advocating for the state to embrace Medicaid expansion and accusing Reeves of allowing rural hospitals to close.[21] On February 16, the Mississippi Democratic Party's executive committee voted to disqualify two minor candidates for the party's gubernatorial nomination for failing to follow ethics disclosures, leaving Presley the only qualified candidate in the Democratic primary.[33] On August 8, as the only Democratic candidate for governor on the ballot, Presley won the Democratic primary.[34]

Although Mississippi is considered a Republican stronghold, many analysts stated that Reeves was a vulnerable incumbent. The Cook Political Report changed the race from Likely Republican to Lean Republican in October after polls showed Presley within the margin of error in multiple polls.[35][36] In the general election, Reeves defeated Presley, albeit by a narrower margin than initially expected.[37][38]

Personal life edit

Presley is a second cousin of Elvis Presley.[39][11] He lost 216 pounds (98 kg) during 2013 and 2014.[23] Presley married Katelyn Mabus, who is a cousin of former Mississippi governor Ray Mabus, in August 2023.[32][40]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Browning, William (March 10, 2023). "This Populist Democrat (and Distant Cousin of Elvis) Could Become Mississippi's Next Governor". The New Republic. ISSN 0028-6583. Retrieved July 12, 2023.
  2. ^ Reimann, Nicholas. "Democrat Brandon Presley—Cousin Of Elvis—Close To Mississippi's Republican Governor In Recent Polls". Forbes. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  3. ^ Vance, Taylor (August 4, 2023). "Rep. Thompson touts Trump indictments while Presley focuses on Mississippi welfare scandal". Mississippi Today. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  4. ^ a b Pittman, Ashton (January 12, 2023). "Brandon Presley Launches Populist Campaign for Mississippi Governor". Mississippi Free Press. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  5. ^ Jacobs, Ben (August 3, 2023). "A Democratic governor in Mississippi? Here's how it could happen". Vox. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  6. ^ Vance, Taylor (June 23, 2023). "Democrat Presley urges Gov. Reeves to call special session on cutting grocery tax". Mississippi Today. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  7. ^ Zito, Salena (August 26, 2018). "Elvis' cousin worries that other pro-life Democrats have left the building". Washington Examiner. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  8. ^ Skelley, Geoffrey (August 8, 2023). "Could A Democrat Actually Win Mississippi's Governorship?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  9. ^ "2023 Statewide Recapitulation Sheet" (PDF). Mississippi Secretary of State. Retrieved November 24, 2023.
  10. ^ a b c "Presley kicks off campaign for PSC". The Winston County Journal. June 6, 2007. p. 2A.
  11. ^ a b c d Perlis, Wicker (January 12, 2023). "What you need to know about Mississippi governor candidate Brandon Presley as he announces". The Clarion-Ledger. Retrieved January 12, 2023.
  12. ^ a b Harden, Clay (July 9, 2001). "Sheriff Presley: '... a good man'". The Clarion-Ledger. pp. 1A, 4A.
  13. ^ "Lee county wrapu-up".
  14. ^ "UPDATE:R.V. Adams wins Nettleton mayor seat".
  15. ^ Elkins, Ashley. "Democratic officials back Bush re-election". Daily Journal. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
  16. ^ "Presley seeks Public Service post (Paid Political Announcement)". The Charleston Sun-Sentinel. July 5, 2007. p. 10.
  17. ^ Mazurak, Jack (August 8, 2007). "Bentz beats 'Two Bits' in state race". Hattiesburg American. p. 5A.
  18. ^ Mazurak, Jack (November 7, 2007). "Posey set for win against Barbour". The Clarion-Ledger. p. 12A.
  19. ^ "Northern District Commissioner". Mississippi Public Service Commission. Retrieved February 10, 2023.
  20. ^ Risher, Wayne (January 18, 2008). "Desoto next stop for PSC's Presley". The Commercial Appeal. pp. B1–B2.
  21. ^ a b Browning, William (March 10, 2023). "This Populist Democrat (and Distant Cousin of Elvis) Could Become Mississippi's Next Governor". The New Republic. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  22. ^ "Brandon Presley works to close internet gap". WTVA News. July 9, 2013. Retrieved September 26, 2013.
  23. ^ a b Geoff Pender (July 19, 2014). "Pender: Who's running for what in '15". The Clarion-Ledger. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  24. ^ McGarity 2019, p. 263.
  25. ^ McGarity 2019, pp. 264–265.
  26. ^ Pender, Geoff (August 19, 2014). "Presley to Obama: Mississippi doesn't want nuclear waste". The Clarion-Ledger. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  27. ^ "PSC member Brandon Presley takes national post". The Clarion-Ledger. March 9, 2014. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  28. ^ "Presley, at helm of utility regulator, could get his chance". The Meridian Star. January 5, 2014. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  29. ^ Williams, Darrin (March 2, 2014). "Solar power breaking new ground in South Mississippi". Sun Herald. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  30. ^ Ulmer, Sarah (January 5, 2024). "All new Public Service Commissioners sworn in". Magnolia Tribune. Retrieved January 8, 2024.
  31. ^ Ganucheau, Adam (January 12, 2023). "Democrat Brandon Presley is running for governor". Mississippi Today. Retrieved January 12, 2023.
  32. ^ a b Emily Wagster Pettus (January 12, 2023). "Democrat Brandon Presley joins race for Mississippi governor". ABC News. Associated Press. Retrieved April 17, 2023.
  33. ^ Harrison, Bobby (February 17, 2023). "Democrats disqualify Brandon Presley's primary challengers for governor". Mississippi Today. Nonprofit Mississippi News. Retrieved February 17, 2023.
  34. ^ Harrison, Bobby; Vance, Taylor (August 9, 2023). "Republican Gov. Tate Reeves easily wins primary, makes November battle with Democrat Brandon Presley official". Mississippi Today. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  35. ^ McEwen, Michael. "If Democrat Brandon Presley wins in Mississippi, it would buck 20 years of precedent". NPR. Retrieved November 24, 2023.
  36. ^ Dorman, John L. "How Democrat Brandon Presley could win the Mississippi governor's race and pull off one of the biggest political upsets of 2023". Business Insider. Retrieved November 24, 2023.
  37. ^ WLBT Staff (November 7, 2023). "Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves wins 2nd term, defeating Democrat Brandon Presley". Retrieved November 24, 2023.
  38. ^ Vance, Taylor; James, Julia (November 7, 2023). "Gov. Tate Reeves defeats Brandon Presley to secure final term as governor". Mississippi Today. Retrieved November 24, 2023.
  39. ^ "Elvis Cousin Says He Won't Run for US Senate in Mississippi". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  40. ^ Martin, Allie (October 31, 2023). "Campaign conversations: Brandon Presley talks politics, family, and more". Retrieved November 24, 2023.

Works cited edit

External links edit

Political offices
Preceded by
Dorlos Robinson
Member of the Mississippi Public Service Commission
from the Northern district

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Mississippi
Most recent