While Musgrove glad-handed, Sen. Roger Wicker (R) was making his closing argument for a first full term in the Senate — an argument that relies almost completely on the premise of Musgrove handing more liberal elements of the Democratic Party carte blanche in running the country.
In a trio of stops up I-55 in northern Mississippi on Monday, Wicker, who was appointed to the seat after GOP Sen. Trent Lott resigned, talked about little else, except for Election Day logistics.
Gone are the days in the state legislature when Wicker and Musgrove called each other friend and roommate. Wicker is now warning that the former governor will be bad, not only for his home state, but more so for the country as a whole.
“That’s what this race has become about,” Wicker told a crowd of about 50 in front of his headquarters in Southaven, a suburb of Memphis, Tenn.
Musgrove says that’s not the case. Asked twice here about the prospect of a 60-seat Democratic majority, Musgrove dodged the question both times and spoke in generalities about Washington accomplishing more.
“That’s not my closing argument,” Musgrove said with a laugh.
Asked if 60 seats would be good for the country, Musgrove deflected, saying “passing good policies” would be good from the country.
It’s not surprising for Musgrove to be distancing himself from his national party and the prospect of 60 seats, but it’s clear that party is playing a key role in his prospects and hoping he can help it get there.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) spent nearly $6 million on the race as of late last week.
Democrats have led in the polling for eight GOP-held Senate seats in recent months, and they need nine to get to 60. They have frequently been within the margin of error in Mississippi, but the race has been static.
When a poll showed the incumbent up by double digits this week, even Wicker said he didn’t believe it.
While Wicker has run a campaign ad listing all the liberal groups that are on the DSCC’s donor list, Musgrove proudly calls himself a “Mississippi Democrat” and emphasizes his anti-abortion rights and pro-gun credentials.