Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mississippi U.S. Senate Race- B

Race of the Day

Mississippi U.S. Senate- B

August 30, 2008
66 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Incumbent
2004 Presidential Result: Red State (South)

Outlook: Leans Republican

This is a Senate race that did not need to be. In 2006, longtime Republican fixture in Washington, and former Majority Leader, Trent Lott was overwhelmingly reelected to another six year term but less than two years into it, decided to resign, in order to become a big bucks lobbyist. Governor Haley Barbour chose Republican Congressman Roger Wicker to fill the Senate seat, and in the wake of that, Wicker's formerly safe House seat was lost in a special election to the Democrats, but I will not get into that, as I already talked much about this on this blog right after it happened.

So, Wicker is now an incumbent Senator, without having ever run statewide, and is now a candidate in this special Senate election to fill the final four years of Lott's term and is facing a competitive race against a former Governor, Democrat Ronnie Musgrove, who has had the initial advantage in name recognition from his one term in the state's top job, until being unseated by Barbour in 2003.

Why Mississippi has tended to heavily favor the GOP in Senate races in recent decades, Democrats believe they had the chance for an upset here. At least one poll this spring had Musgrove, perhaps due to being more widely known throughout the entire state, holding a modest lead. Since that time though, Wicker has worked to increase his profile in the state as its' new Senator and more recent polls now have him holding about a five or six point lead.

This race will not be the cakewalk that Republicans have typically had for the Senate in Missisippi since the 1990s and will definitely be a whole lot tigther than the Senate seat the Republican Thad Cochran is defending in the state this year, but the GOP nature of the Magnolia State on the federal level, the basic strength of Wicker as a candidate, and the fact that his Democrat opponent is a very credible one, but perhaps not the strongest the Democrats could have fielded, means that Wicker has the advantage of extending the time on his political promotion.

One interesting side note is that the two candidates here happen to physically resemble each other as much as any two political opponents I can ever think of running against each other.

Wicker campaign link:

2008 U.S. Senate races predicted: 7 D, 11 R
Predicted Senate balance of power thus far: 46 D, 37 R


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