Mississippi Senate Special: Delta Delays

Amidst the uncertainty about key Senate races in Florida, Arizona, Montana, and Nevada on Election Night, one thing was clear: the midterms would continue beyond Thanksgiving.

The delay in other key states was a result of narrow margins and recounts, but the race in Mississippi was never likely to end on Election Day. The state hosted two Senate elections this year: one for GOP Sen. Roger Wicker, and the other a special election to fill the remainder of former GOP Sen. Thad Cochran’s term. Given that three well-known candidates were on the special election ballot, the most likely scenario was that no individual would reach 50 percent on Nov. 6, prompting a runoff between the two top vote getters.

A Democrat and Republican qualified for the runoff. Former Democratic Rep. Mike Espy received 41 percent and appointed GOP Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith received 42 percent. Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel received the third most votes with 17 percent.

Nearly all long-shot Democratic candidates like to compare their campaign to that of Sen. Doug Jones, who won the 2017 special election against Republican Roy Moore. And the Mississippi race actually shares some similarities with the 2017 race in Alabama. Both are special elections, both depend on a surge in turnout among black voters, both Democratic candidates have compelling backgrounds—and neither Democrat could win without an exceptional amount of luck.

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