The Clarion-Ledger, 10/13/8

Outsiders have become big players in the race between Republican Sen. Roger Wicker and former Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.

As the race tightened during the last few months, a number of conservative groups and the national political parties have spent millions trying to influence Mississippi voters.

Wicker and Musgrove are vying to serve out the remaining four years of Trent Lott’s term. Lott retired in December and Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Wicker to fill the seat, but Wicker must defend it in the Nov. 4 general election.

Musgrove’s help has come largely through one group, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. As of Oct. 3, the DSCC said it spent $3.4 million on television advertisements about Wicker. The attack ads began airing in early August.

Rebecca Fisher, spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said help from the national Democrats has masked Musgrove’s fundraising weakness – an indication of support.