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Sunday, July 06, 2008

LA Times Looks at Mississippi Senate Race

This morning, the LA Times looks at the dire forecast for Republican Senate chances, with an eye toward the Musgrove-Wicker race:
Mississippi, one of the nation's most conservative states, has not elected a Democratic senator in a quarter-century. It has voted for Republican presidential candidates in the last seven elections.

But this year, there is a real chance that the state will send a Democrat to the Senate.....

..."If you have an R in front of your name, you better run scared," said Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who says the party will do well if it holds its losses to three or four seats.

The Mississippi race between Democratic former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and Republican Sen. Roger Wicker distills the wide range of factors that have put congressional Republicans in their weakest position since the Watergate scandal of the 1970s.

The overall political climate, shaped by the sluggish economy and President Bush's low approval ratings, is souring many voters on Republicans. The party has been hobbled by a stampede of retirements by senior Republicans, including Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott. After Lott quit in 2007, Wicker was appointed to replace him.

Barack Obama's presidential campaign has generated a big boost in Democratic voter registration, especially among African Americans, who make up more than a third of Mississippi's population...

...Mississippi has emerged as an unexpected battleground largely because Lott, a powerful and well-established Republican, quit the Senate to become a lobbyist. Wicker, who had been a House member, was appointed to replace him, but he has not established himself firmly enough statewide to assure easy reelection.

Musgrove, his Democratic opponent, is a well-known former governor and is expected to benefit from the Obama campaign's efforts to register new voters, including African Americans.
Could be a very rewarding Fall indeed.

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