An expert on black political participation said Wednesday that DuPree has little chance of defeating the Republican nominee, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, in the Nov. 8 general election.
“My guess is if the odds-makers were putting odds on this, it would probably be something like 100 to 1,” said David Bositis, senior political analyst for the Washington-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. “Mississippi isn’t ready to elect a black candidate to major statewide office.”
Bositis, who has spent more than two decades researching voting trends, said Mississippi is one of several Deep South states that has developed re-segregated electoral patterns, “with the Republican Party being the white people’s party and pretty much just African-Americans being the Democratic Party.”
Mississippi’s current governor, Republican Haley Barbour, is limited to two terms and couldn’t seek re-election this year.
Republicans have held the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion four of the past five terms, and the state has voted Republican in every presidential race since 1980.
With a population that’s 37 percent black, Mississippi now has more black elected officials than any state in the nation, according to the joint center.
However, Mississippi hasn’t had a black statewide official since Reconstruction. Decades ago, black residents faced threats, violence and poll taxes for trying to exercise their right to vote. The political structure started to change and black voter participation began to increase after the federal civil rights and voting rights acts became law in the mid-1960s.
Marvin King, a political science professor at the University of Mississippi, said DuPree’s win this week is significant.
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