Judging by news stories and social media posts, there seems to be a lot of confusion in Mississippi over the US Senate races this year.
So, let’s take a quick look:
First of all, there are TWO SEPARATE races for both of Mississippi’s seats in the US Senate that are on-going right now. It’s a rarity in politics but it does sometimes happen that way with a death or resignation.
In one race, Senator Roger Wicker is running re-election against David Baria, a Democrat, and Danny Bedwell, a Libertarian.
The other Senate seat, the one now held by Cindy Hyde-Smith, is a “special election” to fill the remainder of the term, since Thad Cochran stepped down this year. The election, though, is not for a full six-year term. That’s why it’s called a “special election.” Whoever wins will serve the remaining two years and must, if they chose to continue serving, run again for a full six-year term in November 2020.
The “special election” is on November 6, the same day as every other election. But there’s one major difference: There is no party designation in a “special election.” Why? Because there was no primary or convention for the parties to choose nominees. Candidates are listed alphabetically.
Declared candidates in a “special election” are pitted together in what is sometimes called a “jungle primary.” It’s a political “free-for-all” to decide everything. In the 2018 “special election” there are four candidates: Cindy Hyde-Smith, Chris McDaniel, Mike Espy, and Tobey Bartee.
It is based on a majority vote, not a plurality. If no one gets a majority of the vote on November 6, then the top two vote-getters will run against each other in a run-off three weeks later, on Tuesday November 27. The winner is elected for the remainder of the Senate term.
Looking at things politically, there seems to be some confusion, or more accurately some fear, among conservatives more in-line with Chris McDaniel that the Republican vote could be split between McDaniel and Hyde-Smith, thereby allowing Mike Espy, a Democrat, to win the seat.
Here is one comment in a recent press report:
I’ve also seen this rumor on social media in recent days. But the likelihood of it playing out is exactly ZERO! For this scenario to play out, Mike Espy would have to get a majority of the vote on November 6, meaning he would need to get 50 percent plus one. In EVERY SINGLE POLL that has been released for the “special election,” Espy is NOWHERE near 50 percent, and he’s not going to get anywhere near 50 percent. Take it to the bank!
This nefarious campaign ploy is likely the work of the Cindy Hyde-Smith camp to strike fear into conservative voters, those most likely to support McDaniel, and pull them over to the Hyde-Smith side so as to ensure a Democrat is not elected on November 6. Only a campaign in desperation mode would do such a thing, and the Hyde-Smith campaign seems to be in desperation mode, judging by their recent behavior.
But, again, for Espy (or anyone else) to win on November 6, it will take a majority of the vote. Impossible for either candidate. And no poll or election expert has predicted such a scenario.
Espy, though, might finish first on November 6, but, absent a majority, that would only put him in the runoff with either Cindy Hyde-Smith or Chris McDaniel. The real battle, then, is between McDaniel and Hyde-Smith for the second spot in the runoff. And since McDaniel is surging, Hyde-Smith is feeling the pressure and likely spreading false information.
So, to voters backing Chris McDaniel, have no fear and let not your heart be troubled: There is no way Mike Espy will win the “special election” race on November 6. He does not have the support to do so. This is simply the scare tactics of the Establishment to ensure Cindy Hyde-Smith doesn’t go down on November 6.
**Photo by Ashton Pittman/Originally appeared in the Jackson Free Press**