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• Primary Guide: Mississippi gamblers place big bets
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PRIMARY GUIDE: MISSISSIPPI GAMBLERS PLACE BIG BETS
Thad Cochran should be toast. And he probably is. But today’s wide-open Mississippi Republican Senate primary runoff is unprecedented and unpredictable. So hold on to your pralines, because just like the rest of the race, Election Day promises to be wild.
Never been here before - Mississippi’s Republican Party, which had been one of the most orderly in the country for 40 years, is in the middle of an upheaval and doing it with a national audience. There’s no in-state model for today’s runoff contest between Sen. Thad Cochran, elected to Congress on Richard Nixon’s coattails in 1972 and two-term state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Mississippi has had only one change in its Senate delegation since the Reagan administration, an orderly transfer of power from retiring Sen. Trent Lott to his successor, then-Rep. Roger Wicker. And there’s really no precedent for this race in the nation. In the last 20 years, only seven incumbent senators of either party have lost primary elections. One was defeated in a state convention, two went on to win in November anyway, two were results of incumbents switching parties and one had only been appointed to the Senate two months prior. There’s really only one pure incumbent defeat since 1994, and that was Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind. who lost in 2012. And Lugar was upended by a surprise showing by the Republican state treasurer. Everybody saw the Mississippi mud bath coming. We are in new territory here.