State of the Day – Mississippi

Junior Senator – Roger Wicker (R)

1994: Sen. Trent Lott (R) 69%, Ken Harper (D) 31%
2000: Sen. Trent Lott (R) 66%, Troy Brown (D) 32%
2006: Sen. Trent Lott (R) 64%, Erik Fleming (D) 35%

Senator Wicker was appointed by Haley Barbour to fill the vacancy caused by Trent Lott’s resignation, pending a November special election to fill the final four years of Lott’s term. This has turned into a disaster for Republicans. They lost Wicker’s House seat in a special election, and now Wicker finds himself in a huge dogfight with Ronnie Musgrove, who looks like Wicker’s long lost identical twin.

Musgrove has greater name recognition than Wicker from his time as Governor, and has been running as an extremely conservative Democrat. He has polled essentially even, sometimes ahead, of Senator Wicker. Musgrove does have some problems. He lost his 2003 reelection bid easily and has far less money than Wicker. Mississippi also generally favors Republicans in Senate elections, but it has not had a competitive race in a while. This is technically an all-party primary, so the candidates will not have their party identification on the ballot. This could make it slightly easier for Musgrove to run away from his party. An increased black turnout may not help Obama, but it could prove vital to Musgrove.

We haven’t seen much polling here, and the polling we do have is all over the place. It does appear very close. I don’t feel comfortable picking a winner here yet, but I do think Musgrove will be in until the end. He has the profile Mississippi Democrats need to compete. This will give him enough white votes, combined with increased black turnout, to eek out the win.

On a technical note, if neither candidate receives 50%, a runoff will occur on November 25.

Prediction: Musgrove (D) 51%, Sen. Wicker (R) 48%

Beyond the Polls