The Associated Press, 10/16/8

A tight race for Trent Lott’s old U.S. Senate seat is getting nasty, with the Republican incumbent slamming his Democratic challenger in a television ad that uses actors dressed like the Village People to represent a gay rights group.

Republican Roger Wicker and Democratic former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove are longtime friends who shared an apartment while serving together in the state Legislature. They’re competing in a Nov. 4 special election to fill the final four years of Lott’s term in heavily Republican Mississippi.

Lott retired last December to become a lobbyist, and Republican Gov. Haley Barbour moved Wicker from the U.S. House to replace him temporarily.

Republicans want to keep the seat that’s been theirs since Lott first won it in 1988. Democrats hope significant turnout for presidential candidate Barack Obama will boost Musgrove.