This time next year Mississippi voters will hear pre-primary pitches from candidates for U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate in any contested elections. It is still too early for official announcements, but every indication is Mississippi’s House delegation will all be seeking re-election: Republicans Trent Kelly, Gregg Harper and Steven Palazzo, and Democrat Bennie Thompson. Kelly and Palazzo have modest campaign war chests based on first quarter reports filed with the Federal Election Commission with $129,749 and $210,911 respectively. Harper has $675,418 cash-on-hand while Thompson sits comfortably with $1.2 million.
The big race for 2018 could be the reelection of U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, were he to draw major primary or general opposition. Wicker’s first quarter report showed $1.9 million cash-on-hand.
Wicker, fresh off his stint as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), is taking nothing for granted. At the NRSC, Wicker oversaw GOP efforts to maintain the majority in the U.S. Senate. Many prognosticators predicted no way for Republicans to hold the Senate Wicker took the reins, but at the close of 2016, Republicans prevailed…
…There is less chatter of potential Democratic challenges to Wicker. In 2008, national Democrats spent an unprecedented amount of money and received record voter turnout in its efforts to defeat Wicker with former Governor Ronnie Musgrove. Wicker prevailed by ten points. Some have suggested former Governor Ray Mabus, who served as Secretary of Navy in the Obama Administration, might consider a run. Mabus is more liberal than Musgrove. He could engender support from national Democrats, but likely to no better result than in 2008, while depriving Democrats in more competitive states from resources.