Mississippians had the rare opportunity this year for two rousing races for seats in the United States Senate.
It has been 20 years since there was any reasonable doubt about who would win a senatorial election in Mississippi. In 1988, two sitting congressmen – Republican Trent Lott and Democrat Wayne Dowdy – faced off to replace the retiring John C. Stennis, a Democrat.
Lott won handily then – and then won again and again and again.
But now Lott’s own retirement, albeit an early one, has recreated that rarity in Mississippi politics: an open seat in the United States Senate.
The office deserved an engaging campaign. And the two men vying for it could have conducted one.
Instead, Democrat Ronnie Musgrove and Republican Roger Wicker have become lost in the empty noise of negative television ads.
At the other extreme, Democrat Eric Fleming’s challenge of incumbent Republican Thad Cochran has produced barely a peep of political excitement.