Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant hosted a meet and greet at his Lee County gubernatorial campaign office Monday evening.
It was designed to bring together volunteers and members of the community interested in his campaign.
"One thing about the Republican Party (of Mississippi) is that it is win-win no matter who you elect," said Mike Maynard, chairman of the Lee County Republican Executive Committee. "But I think Phil is the man for the job. I have known him a long time."
Bryant, who is considered the frontrunner in the Aug. 2 Republican primary, said being lieutenant governor under Gov. Haley Barbour for four years has been like being an assistant coach under Bear Bryant.
"It has been good, and there are a lot of good things happening in Mississippi," Bryant said. "We have done things that no other states have been able to do."
The lieutenant governor told the assembled group of several dozen supporters that he got into politics in 1986, leaving the corporate world following a meeting with then-President Ronald Reagan in the Roosevelt Room on a trip to Washington representing his company. Bryant was an insurance fraud investigator at the time.
"I came back, and I told my wife Deborah that I was not making a difference," Bryant said. "I had a job and a 401K and was climbing in the corporate world, but my life didn't mean much. Reagan had challenged us to keep the conservative values alive."
He ran unsuccessfully for Rankin County supervisor, then was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1991. Gov. Kirk Fordice appointed him state auditor in 1996 and he was elected to two full terms before winning the lieutenant governor's race in 2007.
Bryant faces three challengers in the primary -- Pass Christian businessman Dave Dennis, retired National Guard general and Pearl River County Supervisor Hudson Holliday and Moss Point businessman Ron Williams.
Bryant's Tupelo headquarters is located at 852 North Gloster St.