In spite of Dennis' work in the state, most believe Bryant has a significant lead. If he makes it through the primary, he'll likely face either Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree or businessman Bill Luckett, the two Democrats in the race, in the general election.
Bryant is said to be focused on a straightforward conservative Republican platform, which he emphasized in the interview.
"I think conservative Republican candidates now are favored in our primary and that fits me well," Bryant said. "I've always been a social and fiscal conservative and that's the record we're going to run on."
He has also reached out to local Tea Party organizations, putting together a meeting with them during a legislative session last year.
Mississippi's economy, and specifically job creation, will be an emphasis of Bryant's campaign, he said. There, too, he plans to draw inspiration from Barbour.
"I want to create the most job friendly state in America," Bryant said. "That is our theme in every speech for the last year and even before that. Of course, Gov. Barbour has helped lead the way on that."