Gov. Tate Reeves (R) has signed legislation to place a referendum on the November ballot that will, if passed, change the state’s Jim Crow era voting system that makes gubernatorial candidates win a majority of state House of Representatives’ districts irrespective of their finish in the popular vote.
The referendum would eliminate the state House requirement and instead install a general election runoff like the state of Georgia uses. There, if no general election candidate receives an absolute majority of votes, a run-off between the top two finishers occurs in the post-election period.
Public Policy Polling (5/27-28; 871 MS registered voters; 50% via a text survey) sees Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s (R) lead over former US Agriculture Secretary and ex-Mississippi Congressman Mike Espy (D) diminishing from the huge 28-point advantage the early May Impact Management Group study produced. The PPP result finds the Senator’s margin to be 49-41%.
Public Policy Polling is known for asking a large number of push questions in their surveys to see how far the ballot test moves. In this poll, they only asked one, and it concerned Medicaid expansion. Relying on text messaging to obtain survey research is a tactic not often used. A 50% share of text respondents participating in this poll raises reliability questions.
A rare Mississippi US Senate poll was released from the Impact Management Group (5/4-7; 606 MS likely voters) and the data finds first-term incumbent Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) claiming a large double-digit lead over her previous special election opponent, former US Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy (D) who is returning for a re-match this year.
The ballot test gives the Republican Senator a 58-31% major advantage. This is a significant improvement over Sen. Hyde-Smith’s 54-46% win in 2018 to fill the balance of the late Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) final term in office.
Mississippi is a state that should be a lock for President Trump this November, but an early poll returns numbers that may indicate a bit of weakness on the Republican side. The survey, from Chism Strategies (4/8-9; 508 MS likely voters), finds President Trump securely in the lead with a 49-38% point spread, but that is significantly below his 2016 victory margin of 58-40%. Republican candidates typically under-poll in the South as compared to their actual vote margins, so this could partially account for the Trump margin being lower than four years ago.
Several Governor’s made decisions to either move their state’s primary or run-off election, or admitted considering changing the voting system. All of the moves are in relation to adopting COVID-19 precautions.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) moved his state’s May 5th primary to June 2nd, which will now be a very significant primary day as many states are moving to what was an already crowded election day.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) transferred the state’s runoff election from March 31st to June 23rd. There is only one federal runoff in Mississippi, in the 2nd Congressional District, and the outcome will have no effect upon the general election as Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Bolton/Mississippi Delta) is the prohibitive favorite to defeat whichever Republican becomes the party nominee.
The North Carolina Board of Elections has moved the state’s lone congressional runoff, in the open Republican 11th District (Rep. Mark Meadows-R), from May 12th to June 23rd. The winner of the secondary GOP election will win in November.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a letter over the weekend that indicated he is moving the state’s May 26th runoff that features many federal and state secondary elections to July 14th.
The Mississippi primary did not attract much attention because most of the races were uncontested. In the Senate contest, we will now officially see a re-match between Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) and former US Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy (D). The two fought to a 54-46% Hyde-Smith decision in the 2018 special election.
In the current primary, Sen. Hyde-Smith was unopposed for re-nomination and Mr. Espy easily won the Democratic contest. The only significant incumbent challenge to a House incumbent yielded five-term Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Biloxi) easily outpacing three Republican opponents with 67% of the vote to claim re-nomination to a sixth term. He will have clear sailing in the general election.
Former Vice President Joe Biden placed a strong first in Michigan, Mississippi, and Missouri last night, and ran just over six points ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in Idaho, but looks to have fallen short in North Dakota, and possibly Washington.
Still, the delegate totals accumulated from last night and on Super Tuesday suggest that Mr. Biden is building an insurmountable lead and should effectively wrap up the presidential nomination next week when voters in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio go to the polls. The former VP has strong polling leads in each of those places.
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.
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