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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Name:
Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

And Then There Were Two

The special election for the U. S. Senate seat formerly (1989-2007) occupied by Trent Lott will be held on November 4, the same day as the general election. Mississippi's special elections are nonpartisan: all candidates run in the same election, with 50-plus percent required to win.

The Republican Roger Wicker was elevated by Gov. Haley Barbour from the U. S. House, where he had served the First District for 13 years, to the Senate seat. Two Democrats, former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and former Congressman Ronnie Shows, had qualified to run against Wicker in the special election. On Tuesday Shows announced that he was dropping out and endorsing Musgrove. This makes it a two-man race, Wicker versus Musgrove, and eliminates the possibility of a runoff.

David Hampton, editorial director of The Clarion-Ledger, may be engaging in a little wishful thinking when he blogs that this development helps Musgrove’s chances. Mississippi has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980, and we have some 300,000 more voters in the presidential race than in the previous year’s governor’s race. Most of those additional voters vote Republican and could be expected to lean toward Wicker.

Wicker has the advantage of incumbency as well as his 13 years experience in Congress. All of Musgrove’s experience, in contrast, has been in state politics.

Republican Sen. Thad Cochran will also be on the November ballot, giving Wicker the benefit of his coattails as well as those of the Republican presidential nominee. In addition, Wicker will have Barbour's formidable organization behind him.

No Mississippi Democrat has been elected U. S. senator since John Stennis last won in 1982*, and no incumbent Mississippi senator has been defeated since 1942**.

The main thing Shows could have accomplished was forcing a runoff.

It's worth noting, too, that in his successful 1999 race for governor, Musgrove received less than 50 percent of the popular vote. In 2003, to be sure, he was defeated for re-election by Barbour.

Mike Moore, attorney general from 1988 to 2004, who most observers considered the strongest potential Democratic Senate candidate, chose not to run.

* Stennis's Republican opponent that year was Haley Barbour.

** James Eastland of Doddsville beat Sen. Wall Doxey of Holly Springs. Doxey had won the September 1941 special election that followed the death of Sen. Pat Harrison of Gulfport, who was the Senate president pro tem.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It'll be intersting to see how for the campaign gets before somebody does an "Imus" or says the "N" word.

Thu Feb 21, 04:14:00 PM CST  

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