Chris McDaniel (R) “rode his campaign bus around Mississippi on Monday” making a last-minute pitch to voters ahead of Tuesday’s run-off against Sen. Thad Cochran (R). The state senator, who walks in to today’s race the favorite, framed his battle as the start of a “conservative revival” for the country.
“‘You can feel it can’t you?’ McDaniel told supporters at a rally. ‘The country is waking up. The conservative movement has awakened.’”(Jackson Clarion-Ledger)
Regardless of the outcome Tuesday, Republicans in Mississippi are dealing with the “bitter reality” that “the larger battle for power within the” state GOP “is only just beginning” with more statewide elections on the way in 2015.
“Win or lose this week, conservatives here predict that Mississippi’s state elections in 2015 will bring another reckoning for the party. The reality that McDaniel has come so close to unseating Cochran may herald a larger-scale shift in culture for a state where seniority has long been king.”
State Sen. Michael Watson: “‘If Chris is victorious, and I think he will be on Tuesday, it’s a game-changer and you look at your options.’” (Politico)
TURNOUT TOUGH TO PREDICT: “Around midday Monday, the Secretary of State’s Office released county-by-county absentee balloting, touching off another round of tea leaf reading. Cochran appears to have the advantage there with an increase in absentee balloting in the counties he won. Whether it is a predictor of turnout in an otherwise unpredictable race remains to be seen.” (Sun Herald)
RACE RELATIONS: “Race is roiling” the runoff in Mississippi, “a state with a long history of divided politics where the GOP is mostly white and the Democratic Party is mostly black,” and the conflict is spilling into allegations that McDaniel supporters are trying to prevent African-Americans from voting.
The Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, FreedomWorks, and Senate Conservatives Fund have hired “former Justice Department attorney, J. Christian Adams” to oversee the results, and FreedomWorks says it will send “several dozen” poll watchers to voting stations Tuesday.
Adams: “‘Election integrity is essential, and Mississippi has a long, documented and tragic history of lawlessness in elections. The outcome of the runoff should be determined by who gets the most votes, not by who manipulates the system the best.’”
“Asked if the Justice Department is watching this year’s runoff, Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said in an email: ‘The department is aware of concerns about voter intimidation and is monitoring the situation.’ Voters who experience problems are encouraged to report them, she said.” (AP)
BIG MONEY: How much has been spent in this race? $17 million, “a mind-boggling figure in a state without one media market among the nation’s top 50.” (Sunlight Foundation)
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