Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker’s latest trick tells us all we need to know about the GOP’s worries heading into Election Day.
As we have often discussed on this blog, one of the biggest question marks in the Mississippi Senate race is a quirk in state law that says that the party affiliations of candidates running in a special election will not be listed on the ballot. In a heavily Republican state like Mississippi, that can be a very good thing for a Democrat, as he can distance himself from his party label more easily. Ronnie Musgrove was hoping that some (white) voters who turn in to vote Republican in all federal races might not have enough information to vote on his race with Roger Wicker.
But as African-American turnout has surged in early voting across the South, including in Mississippi, it has become clear that the lack of party affiliation could also hurt Musgrove as low-information black voters might not know which candidate is the Democrat. Evidently, this occurred to Wicker’s campaign as well, as the Republican Senator is now distributing a mailer in a heavily African-American area of the state suggesting that Wicker is a Democrat, running alongside all other Democrats whose name will appear in the district’s ballot (including the extremely long-shot challenger to Senator Cochran):
Let me say this again: A Republican Senator in Mississippi is distributing a mailer implying he belongs to the party of the Democratic presidential nominee! Whavetever the circumstances - the mailer is, after all, only intended to be seen by African-American voters - who would have thought such a thing possible just a few months ago?
This illustrates the extent to which Republicans are worried about the surge in African-American turnout; if it stays as strong tomorrow as it did during early voting, the black vote is the main threat Sens. Wicker and Chambliss are facing as well as the potential nail in Sen. Dole’s coffin - not to mention all the Republican House candidates that will fall if African-American voters make up a substantially greater share of the electorate than they did in 2004.
In New York’s 26th district, meanwhile, the chaos I described on Saturday is somewhat resolving itself - and Democrats are livid at the latest judicial decision in the race as a federal appeals court ruled that Jon Powers (who lost the Democratic nomination to Alice Kryzan) has to stay on the ballot as the Working Families Party candidate. Powers and the WFP have both endorsed Kryzan, but this is a significant blow to Kryzan’s chances as she will now have to share the ballot with another Democrat in a race that already looked to be breaking towards the Republican.
Meanwhile, the DCCC is trying to make the most of the late breaking scandal surrounding the circumstances Republican nominee Chris Lee’s firing from a computer product distributor. They have quickly released a radio ad to get news of the controversy as widely disseminated as possible - and since this is most probably the last ad that I will probably talk about before Election Day, here is the video version of this radio ad:
SUSA recently released a poll of the race showing Lee opening a wide 48% to 34% lead against Kryzan with a high of 18% choosing “other” or saying they are undecided. This shows the potential spoiler effect Powers could have, but does not register any reactions to Lee’s scandal since the poll was taken just prior to the Buffalo News’s story.