National pundits relying on exit polling learned what we in Mississippi already know – the Mississippi Democratic Party is majority black and aging.
ABC, NBC and other outlets made swings through the Magnolia State on Tuesday for the Mississippi Primary. The tweets were all similar, calling Joe Biden’s win a huge blowout in Mississippi thanks to black voters and boomers.
Depending on who you follow, exit polling showed black voters made up nearly 65-70% of the Mississippi Democrat voters, supporting Biden at 83-87%. Nearly 70% of those voters were 45 years old and older, and close to 90% of those in that age group supported Biden. Nearly half considered themselves ‘moderate’ and were primarily concerned with health care, race relations and beating Donald Trump, pinning for a return to Barack Obama.
Turnout for Democrats was up compared to four years ago. In 2016, some 227,000 cast their ballot in the Mississippi Democrat Primary giving Hillary Clinton 83% over Bernie Sanders with 17%. In Tuesday’s 2020 election, with 1% of precincts still not reported, over 260,000 voters came out handing Biden an 81% win to Sanders’ 15%.
Other than the Presidential race, Democrats were also voting for their nominee for U.S. Senate. As anticipated, Mike Espy won that primary with 93% and will move on to face the incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, who was unopposed in the Republican Primary, in a rematch of 2018.
Throughout the day, Mississippi Democrat Chairman Bobby Moak told Y’all Politics turnout was “light to moderate,” referring to Spring Break, rain, and concerns over the coronavirus as deterrents for voters. By the end of the night, Moak changed his tune, saying, “Democrats appear to be outvoting Republicans in total numbers, and it looks like Democrats will hit that 2016 mark.”
Republican turnout was down from 2016 by nearly 175,000 voters when there was a competitive primary on the line. Tuesday’s turnout is not concerning, however, for Mississippi Republican Party chairman Lucien Smith who pointed to the lack of advertising in the presidential primary and non-competitive races down ballot.
“Thousands of Republican voters went to the polls today even in districts with non-competitive races. They did so because they believe in conservative principles and are committed to electing leaders who share them,” Smith told Y’all Politics. “They enthusiastically support President Trump and will show up again in November, with friends and neighbors, to solidify four more years of American greatness and to flatly reject the extremism of the Democratic Party.”
Voters in the Republican Primary only had two competitive races to decide, those being in Mississippi’s Third and Fourth Congressional Districts. Both races strongly favored the incumbents given the compressed campaign timeline making it difficult to raise name ID, fundraise and gain traction with voters. Primary results proved that out. Incumbent Congressman Steven Palazzo and Michael Guest trounced their primary challengers with Palazzo defeating three and winning with 67% while Guest hit 90% against one.
Palazzo will return to D.C. as South Mississippi’s U.S. Representative while Guest will face Democrat Dorothy Benford in November after Benford defeated Katelyn Lee 64% to 36%.
There was also a Republican Primary in the Second Congressional District but given the demographics the district is safely in the Democrat column as long as Congressman Bennie Thompson remains in office. Republicans Brian Flowers and Thomas Carey will meet in a March 31st runoff to decide who faces Thompson in the General Election. Thompson won the Democrat Primary taking 94% of the vote.
Both party candidates in Mississippi’s First Congressional District were unopposed. Incumbent Republican Congressman Trent Kelly will face Democrat Antonia Eliason on November 3rd.
President Trump won 99% on the Republican Primary vote and is expected to defeat presumptive Democrat nominee Biden in Mississippi at a similar margin to his 2016 win in the state. Trump took 58% over Clinton’s 40% in 2016 with a voter turnout total of 1.2 million Mississippians.