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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Wicker's in a Dogfight, Pure and Simple

Not sure how I missed this the other day, but Sid Salter of the Clarion-Ledger had a dispatch from the Neshoba County Fair, comparing and contrasting the two candidates for Trent Lott's old Senate seat. It doesn't sound so great for Roger Wicker, despite his seeming advantages:
In Wicker, the Republicans have a candidate who isn't particularly comfortable in the role of candidate.

Even with a packed house under the Founder's Square pavilion with most of the seats taken by people bused in for the purpose of providing a pro-Wicker background, Wicker isn't the most charismatic candidate....

...Wicker had a larger professional and volunteer campaign staff on the grounds at the Neshoba County Fair than did Musgrove and obviously invested more time, more money and more man hours into creating an image of pervasive, widespread support. Wicker signs by far outnumbered Musgrove signs on the cabins and there were more Wicker T-shirts on more Wicker bodies.

But Wicker simply didn't generate the excitement that Republican lead dogs like the late Kirk Fordice or Gov. Haley Barbour generate here.

Even outnumbered and facing hecklers, Musgrove stood in there pitching and stayed on message. He even turned the old Ronald Reagan ("Are you better off than you were four years ago?") question around on Wicker and did so with success.

Musgrove is a better retail politician than is Wicker. That's not a knock on Wicker, it's simply a fact. Musgrove is a people person. Wicker is more reserved.

What Wicker lacks that has benefited Republicans over the last 20 years is the sense of inevitability that he will win.

Wicker is in a dogfight, pure and simple, with Musgrove. Democrats in general in Mississippi and Musgrove's camp in particular, believe that he not only has a chance to win the race but an excellent chance. Republicans, in contrast, for the first time in years have some doubt

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