Mississippi is governed under the 1890 constitution. The bicameral legislature consists of 52 senators and 122 representatives, all elected for four-year terms. The governor is also elected for a four-year term. The state has two U.S. senators, four representatives, and six electoral votes. In 1991, Kirk Fordice was elected Mississippi's first Republican governor since Reconstruction; he was reelected in 1995. Democrat Ron Musgrove won the 1999 gubernatorial election but with less than a majority of the vote, which required the state house of representatives to confirm his win. Musgrove lost in 2003 to Republican Haley Barbour; Barbour won a second term in 2007. In 2011 Republican Phil Bryant was elected to succeed Barbour.
Institutions of higher learning in the state include the Univ. of Mississippi, at Oxford (which was also the home of writer William Faulkner) and at Jackson; Mississippi State Univ., at Mississippi State; the Univ. of Southern Mississippi, at Hattiesburg; Jackson State Univ., at Jackson; and Mississippi Univ. for Women, at Columbus.