Census gives odd-year elections added importance

•Mississippi. Republicans took control of the Senate last year for the first time since 1870 when a Democratic legislator defected. Democrats control the House 74-47, but conservative Democrats sometimes align with Republicans, and that could put House Speaker Billy McCoy’s job in jeopardy.

“It’s going to be a dogfight to hold the Senate,” says Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Jim Herring.

Democrats hope to make gains by stressing Republican opposition to cutting the sales tax on groceries and increasing the tax on tobacco.

“The prospects are good that these issues will help us regain the Senate and strengthen our hold on the House,” says Terry Casserino, communications director of the Mississippi Democratic Party.

USA Today