We’re in the final stretch with only one week left until Election Day 2011. Other than the state House, the three ballot initiatives have been the main story in this election, but their impact is still uncertain.
Here’s how I see the election shaping up as both sides try to get out their votes during this last week:
I believe Eminent Domain and Voter ID will pass with overwhelming support – both have received little opposition to date. Personhood, however, may see a closer spread given the questions swirling around regarding the impact of the amendment, but it too should pass. All three of these are expected to drive voters to the polls, that’s no secret. But how many more voters should we expect? Will these three initiatives trump the voter apathy we’ve seen as of late? There is a scenario, by the way, that at least one of the initiatives could “overvote” the gubernatorial race.
Also, what’s left to wonder is just how proponents/opponents will view and vote on the candidates. Most assume these measures to be GOP friendly, but that is to be seen in the Personhood vote. If Personhood reaches the mid 60 percent range, conservative candidates will fair well across the board.
Phil Bryant will be Mississippi’s next Governor. It’s just a matter of by how much he wins. If Bryant goes over the 58 percent margin, expect legislative Republicans to have a big night down ticket in swing districts. If DuPree and the Democrats drag enough conservative Ds (particularly from Alan Nunnelee’s district) to reach the high-40 percent range, then it could be a long night for conservatives seeking to take the House, but the polling we’ve seen says that scenario is very unlikely.
Tate Reeves (Lt. Governor), Delbert Hosemann (Secretary of State), Stacey Pickering (Auditor), and Mike Chaney (Insurance Commissioner) will all cruise to solid, upper 70-low 80 percent wins. Chaney may be the only one of these that falls below 70 but he’ll still be well positioned.
Lynn Fitch will be the next State Treasurer. Fitch’s campaign has been superb in all facets and will be rewarded at the polls. Her Democratic opponent, Connie Moran, has not received the support Democrats had hoped. Plus, her coffers have been slim, hampering Moran’s ability to raise name ID. I would expect Fitch’s numbers to closely mirror Bryant’s.
Cindy Hyde-Smith will be the next Agriculture Commissioner. Hyde-Smith, like Fitch, won the GOP nomination despite what many pundits were predicting. She has worked hard around the state and will most likely see numbers closer to Chaney’s by the time the night is over. Her Democratic opponent, Joel Gill, has shown no real momentum and his messaging has been scarce, making Hyde-Smith almost a sure bet.
As for the Attorney General’s race, as much as it pains me to say it, Jim Hood will win re-election. Steve Simpson, Hood’s Republican challenger, made a number of personal and political missteps even before the campaign began and Hood, the crafty Democrat he is, has capitalized on each one. With Hood poised to go back in office as the state’s top lawyer, voters need to demand that Hood’s office stop the outside counsel sweetheart deals, quit refusing to prosecute public corruption and start to represent the interest of all Mississippians, not just his friends and their political ideology and party.
As I’ve said for over a year now, the bellwether will be in the Mississippi House. If Bryant’s numbers are strong, watch for the House to move to the ‘R’ column. If DuPree siphons off Bryant votes or has a larger than expected turnout, Democrats will likely retain the House.
After reviewing each race and historic trends, I believe Republicans could be on the threshhold, right around 59, 60 or 61 if the trends and polls hold true. My predecessor, Alan Lange, said 63 back in February and is still sticking to it. Don’t forget, 62 is the magic number for a majority in the House. There should be no letting up for conservatives working to clean the House; this is the battleground heading into next Tuesday. We are at the cusp of a truly interesting night to watch in the House.
Over in the state Senate, it looks like we could see a GOP majority with 27-28 seats, again depending on the turnout. Tate Reeves had the advantage of helping Republicans and starting his transition for LG 60 days ago. He’s been very visible on the campaign trail raising money and solidifying support. The Senate has not received much earned media this election cycle, yet Democrats have been quietly working to flip what may be a shaky seat or two. With Reeves as active as he has been, I personally don’t see that happening.
So at the end of the day next Tuesday night, Mississippi will still have 7 of the 8 statewide offices held by Republicans, as well as the state Senate. The state House is the only true question mark, and it all depends on voter turnout.
Conservatives can make it a November to remember and finish the job of cleaning the House! Now is the time. Help get out the vote around the state!
And if you don’t want to have another four years of Jim Hood as Attorney General, you need to bring some likeminded friends to the polls.
See you at the polls next Tuesday!