With the Mississippi Legislature now sine die for 2014, campaigning for 2015 begins today.
All statewide, regional and legislative seats will be up for grabs. Republicans still hold the advantage, however the storyline may come from intra-party challenges.
All eight current statewide officials from the Governor to the Insurance Commissioner and all in between are expected to seek reelection. The question will be what challengers each will draw from the opposing party as well as from intra-party groups seeking more influence. Should Chris McDaniel upset Thad Cochran, Mississippi could see more Tea Party challengers, particularly in the Lt. Governor race given the dynamic of their relationship with current Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.
All regional office holders – Transportation and Public Service Commission seats – except one are also expected to seek reelection. The Southern District Public Service Commission seat will be an open seat with Steve Renfroe, Governor Phil Bryant’s appointee, saying he will not seek election.
Mississippi Democrats are focused on taking back the House of Representatives. This will be the primary target for the left and the main area of defense for Republicans. Republicans will need an aggressive ground game to remain in majority. Redistricting brings a few interesting pairings which could put the House in play if Democrats can hone their messaging and find credible candidates to promote, which has not been easy as of late. The Mississippi Democratic Party’s significant turn to the left hasn’t helped them capture the on-the-fence voters in Mississippi since most remain conservative in nature.
The Mississippi Senate should remain firmly with a Republican majority, although a few seats could be up for grabs from intra-party challengers given the struggle within the chamber. Senate Conservative Coalition members could face opposition at home and from party leaders based on their recent antics.
So ready or not, here they come!