Election Day coming Tuesday

McCullough and Childers led their tickets in strong first-primary voting – some 140,000 split more than 2-1 Democrats over Republicans.

Campaigns have pressed for endorsements, in hopes of recruiting new voters.

Turnout will be crucial for success, especially when it’s likely to be low, says Joe Atkins, an Ole Miss journalism professor and longtime political analyst.

For the Democrats, the X-factor is what happens to turnout without presidential candidates on the ballot.

For the Republicans, “it’s been a nasty primary,” Atkins observed. “There seems to be some real energy there – whether it’s negative energy or not, it’s hard to say.”

Across the 1st District – which roughly crosses the northern third of Mississippi – the African-American vote came out strong for Obama. But it’s hard to know how that broke out between Childers and Holland.

It’s equally difficult to predict if the black vote will come back Tuesday, without the African-American Obama on the ballot.

Holland clearly hopes he’ll get results from endorsements by that primary’s unsuccessful black candidates, Marshall Coleman of Calhoun City and Brian Neely of Tupelo.

Still, turnout is difficult to predict historically. When the seat came open in 1994, as it has this year, 33,985 Democrats turned out in a politically hot contest between then-Tupelo attorney Jamie Barnett and state legislators Billy Wheeler of Belmont and Tim Ford of Baldwyn. Even fewer – 26,881 – voted in a six-way Republican race led by Tupelo lawyers Roger Wicker and Grant Fox.

NE MS Daily Journal
3/30/8