The Republican primary race for agriculture commissioner between incumbent Agriculture Commissioner Lester Spell of Richland and challenger Max Phillips of Taylorsville is a hard one to call.
Spell has superior campaign funds, name identification and incumbency on his side. Normally, that’s more than enough to guarantee victory. Yet underdog Republican challenger Phillips is clearly, undeniably gaining ground.
In this contest, Democratic nominee Rickey Cole is salivating to run against Spell so that the $55 million failed Mississippi Beef Processors plant will still be an issue in November and Republicans know it. The smart money should be on Spell to win, but if there’s an upset in the deck on Tuesday, this race is it.