Millsaps College in conjunction with Chism Strategies released the first Magnolia State poll for the upcoming re-match Senate race between incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) and former US Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy (D). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey (released 1/21; 618 MS registered voters) finds Sen. Hyde-Smith holding a 44-36% lead, not unlike their 2018 special election final result of 54-46%. The junior Mississippi Senator’s job approval rating was detected as an identical 44:36% favorable to unfavorable.
With Mississippi candidate filing closing today, it appears that Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R), on the ballot for her first full six-year term this year, has dodged any major Republican primary challenge. Yesterday, Josh Randle, the former president of the Miss America Organization who had formed a Senate exploratory committee, announced that he will not file as a candidate. Unless we see a surprise entry, Sen. Hyde-Smith looks to face only minor Republican opposition, if any at all.
For the general election, we are looking ahead to a re-match between Sen. Hyde-Smith and former US Agriculture Secretary and Mississippi Congressman Mike Espy (D). The two battled to a 54-46% decision in a special election run-off to fill the remainder of Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) final term. The Senator resigned his seat prior to his death. Sen. Hyde-Smith is favored for re-election in the fall.
Eight states will host their 2020 primary elections in March, meaning they will feature a full ballot to compliment the presidential race. Voters will select a full slate of nominees in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas on March 3, 10, or 17th. This means, at the end of March, nominees could be fully chosen for six Senate races and 151 congressional districts. It is possible, should no candidate reach the minimum nomination percentage in various states featuring a qualifying figure, that run-offs could be held in some Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas contests.
All of the aforementioned states have completed their candidate filing deadlines with the exception of Mississippi. There, candidacies become official on January 10th. West Virginia and Kentucky candidates will file on January 25th and 28th, respectively for May 12th and May 19th primary elections.
Last week we reported that former Miss America Organization CEO Josh Randle is considering launching a Republican primary challenge to Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, but two other prominent Mississippi office holders followed with comments saying they will not run.
State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Ellisville), who forced then-Sen. Thad Cochran (R) into a run-off election, and former state Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller Jr., who advanced into a 2019 run-off election Gov-Elect Tate Reeves, both said yesterday that they will not challenge Sen. Hyde-Smith. Former US Agriculture Secretary and ex-Mississippi Congressman Mike Espy (D) announced last week, however, that he will return for a general election re-match with the new Senator.
Now that the Mississippi statewide campaigns concluded in the November 5th election, we are seeing action in the 2020 US Senate contest. When veteran Sen. Thad Cochran (R) resigned his seat due to health reasons in early 2018, Gov. Phil Bryant (R) appointed Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) to serve on an interim basis. She would then go onto score a 54-46% victory in the 2018 special election and subsequent run-off, and now will be running for a full six-year term next year.
Yesterday, former US Agriculture Secretary and Mississippi Congressman Mike Espy (D), who lost to Sen. Hyde-Smith in the special election, announced that he will return for a re-match. It is likely he will sail through the Democratic nomination process but again face an uphill climb against the Republican Senator.
Additionally, Josh Randle, the former CEO of the Miss America Organization, is forming an exploratory committee to test his chances against Sen. Hyde-Smith in the Republican primary. After a long period of quiet, this Senate race is about to be awash in political action.
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) overcame an opponent all agreed was the Democrats’ strongest possible contender last night. Mr. Reeves scored a 52-46% win against Jim Hood, who was elected as Mississippi’s Attorney General in four consecutive elections. The GOP victory allows the party to keep a gubernatorial office they have held for 24 of the past 28 years.
Turnout increased over 18% from the last gubernatorial election. Like in Kentucky, the Republicans also swept the down ballot races in greater percentages than their party standard bearer garnered at the top of the ticket. The last three publicly released polls proved relatively accurate as they all posted Reeves to small leads and showed him hovering around the 50% mark.
It is highly likely that Mississippi’s gubernatorial election will be legally challenged if Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood places first in the popular vote tomorrow but fails to carry a majority of state House of Representatives’ districts. Under Mississippi law, a candidate must win a majority of the popular vote and place first in at least 62 of the 122 state House districts. A federal judge refused to issue an injunction to stop the process but made comments suggesting he will void the result should a candidate win the popular vote but not the district tally.
Though the gubernatorial campaign has been competitive, there is no October public poll showing Hood leading the race. On the other hand, no survey finds Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, the Republican nominee, exceeding the 50% threshold either. Republicans tend to under-poll in the South based upon their electoral performance, so the district issue may well be a moot point should this pattern continue in tomorrow’s vote.
If Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) is to continue the Republican win streak for Mississippi gubernatorial campaigns he will have to get passed a tough Democratic opponent. A new Survey Monkey online poll (10/8-22; 1,002 MS registered voters) again finds a close margin between Mr. Reeves and Attorney General Jim Hood (D). The Survey Monkey data finds Reeves leading Hood, a four-time statewide winner, 42-39%. This result is relatively consistent with other recent polls and suggests a tight finish on November 5th.
Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy released their new survey of the Mississippi Governor’s election as the candidates enter the stretch drive toward the November 5th election day. The poll (10/17-19; 625 MS registered voters) finds Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) holding only a slight edge over Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood, 46-43%. The survey segments largely break as one would expect with Reeves doing well with Republicans, men, voters over 50, and whites, while Hood has the advantage with Democrats, women, voters under 50, and blacks.
The Independent category is what stands out, however. Even though this segment gives President Trump a positive job approval (52:41%) and do not favor impeachment and removal from office (48:41%), Mr. Reeves trails. The M-D data finds Mr. Hood leading 45-38% among Independents, which is clearly the polling segment that is making the statewide race close.
Additionally, under Mississippi election law, a gubernatorial candidate must not only win a majority of the popular vote, he or she must also carry a majority of state House of Representatives’ districts (62 of the 122 seats). If neither of these qualifications are met, the House members will then vote to elect the Governor. The Republicans have a 74-44 advantage over Democrats. There are also two Independents and two vacancies in the House.
Just after Tuesday’s Republican gubernatorial run-off election that saw Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves defeating former state Supreme Court Judge Bill Waller Jr., 54-46%, Hillman Analytics released their mid-August general election survey (8/11-15; 600 MS likely 2019 general election voters). The results gave Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood a 43-42% edge over Mr. Reeves. It will be interesting to see how the run-off result will affect the next polls. The general election is scheduled for November 3rd.
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