September 25, 2020 | News | No Comments
Former Democratic Rep. Mike Espy leads both Republican challengers in the race to replace retiring Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranEspy wins Mississippi Senate Democratic primary Bottom Line Mike Espy announces Mississippi Senate bid MORE (R-Miss.), according to a poll conducted by his campaign.
A poll conducted by Chism Strategies for Espy’s campaign found him leading with 34 percent of the vote, and Republicans Cindy Hyde-Smith and Chris McDaniel splitting the vote, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
Hyde-Smith, who was appointed by the governor to replace Cochran until the Nov. 6 special election, is in second place with 27 percent, followed by McDaniel, a conservative firebrand and state senator, with 21 percent.
The special election to serve out the last two years of Cochran’s term will be a “jungle primary” where candidates from both parties compete in the same race. If no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers advance to a runoff three weeks later.
Democrats believe Espy, who served in the Clinton administration as the country’s first African-American secretary of Agriculture, could mount a competitive run in the deep-red state.
Democrats haven’t won a Senate seat in Mississippi since 1982. Still, Democrats believe he’ll be able to mobilize black voters in a state where they make up more than a third of the voting-age population.
The poll was conducted prior to Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton (D) jumping into the race on Tuesday, which will likely take away some support from Espy.
The poll is also good news for Hyde-Smith, the state’s Agriculture and Commerce commissioner, since national Republicans and the White House worried that she wouldn’t be able to defeat McDaniel. They feared she’d be vulnerable because she was registered as a Democrat until 2010.
McDaniel rankled the Republican establishment in 2014 when he came close to unseating Cochran in the primary. He was initially running against Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerPrivate lawsuits are a necessary expedient in privacy legislation Bottom line GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill MORE (R-Miss.), who’s up for reelection in 2018. But he switched races once Cochran’s seat opened up.
Another candidate considering running in the special election is attorney Andy Taggart (R). Some strategists believe that a Taggart run would siphon away votes from Hyde-Smith.
The poll, which was conducted days after Hyde-Smith was tapped to fill the seat, surveyed 603 likely voters.
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