Campaigns and Elections

Strategy Memorandum: The Political Geography and Climate of Mississippi Today

This strategy memorandum provides a background and overview of issues relevant to the State of Mississippi, recent election result, and popular political figures in the state that both parties can use in a nonpartisan fashion to determine how best to work within the political and historical confines of their respective districts and the state.

Median Income; Education

Median Age: 35.4 years

years and over: 73.9%

years and over: 12.4%

Workers median income: $25,849

Washington Post (2008) Elections at http://projects.washingtonpost.com/elections/keyraces/census/ms/.

Partisanship: Democrat (Blue State)/Republican (Red State).

According to Mitchell (2008), "Mississippi remains one of the reddest of the red states - voting Democratic in the presidential election only once since 1956. President Bush in 2004 defeated Sen. John Kerry by a national margin of 51% to 49% in popular vote (286 to 251 in electoral vote). It wasn't even close in Mississippi, where Bush won with 60% of the vote" (2-3).

Voter Turnout:

According to Persily (2007), although there has been a general decline in registration and voter turnout in Mississippi in recent years, overall, African-American voter turnout during the 2004 election exceeded that of whites. In Mississippi, African-Americans comprise fully 35% of the population, and the state enjoys near proportional representation for African-Americans in the state legislatures and congressional delegations (Persily). During the last non-presidential election in 2002, in states where Republicans faced minimal opposition, such as Mississippi, overall voter turnout was relatively low 27% (Hudson, 2006).

A recapitulation of the state's voter composition and turnout rate is provided below.

Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP): 2,124,000

Reported Registered Voters: 1,778,245

Percent Registered of CVAP: 83.7%

Maximum Votes Cast/Counted 498,531

Turnout Rate (% of CVAP): 23.5%

Turnout Rate (% of Registered): 28.0%

Last Presidential Election:

Reported Vote Percentage

Democrats (John Kerry/John Edwards): 458,094 39.76%

Republicans (George W. Bush/Dick Cheney): 684,981 59.45%

Source: Mississippi Secretary of State, General Election Results, 2004 at http://www.sos.state.ms.us/elections/2004/General/112105_CertPresVP.pdf.

Last Senate and House race: 2006 general election.

U.S. Senate: Reported Vote Percentage

Erik R. Fleming 213,000 34.87%

Trent Lott 388,399 63.58%

Harold M. Taylor 9,522 1.56%

First Congressional District:

James K. (Ken) Hurt 49,174 34.08%

Roger K. Wicker 95,098 65.92%

Second Congressional District:

Yvonne R. Brown 55,672 35.73%

Bennie G. Thompson 100,160 64.27%

Third Congressional District:

Chip Pickering 125,421 77.67%

Jim Giles 25,999 16.10%

Lamonica L. Magee 10,060 6.23%

Fourth Congressional District:

Randy McDonnell 28,117 20.21%

Gene Taylor 110,996 79.79%

Source: Mississippi Secretary of State, General Election Results at http://www.sos.state.ms.us/elections/2006/primary/General%20Election%20Federal%20Offices/U.S.%20SENATE.pdf.

The Candidates

Senate Race (considered very competitive):

Incumbent Roger Wicker (R) and Ronnie Musgrove (D)

Roger Wicker: According to the U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Clerk (2008), the former representative resigned his office upon being appointed to the U.S. Senate by Governor Haley Barbour to fill the seat vacated by Senator Trent Lott (Current Vacancies 3). U.S. Sen. Wicker, a former First District congressman appointed to the Senate with the U.S. Sen. Trent Lott's departure from the seat last year, are locked in a battle to earn the right to finish out Lott's remaining term (Musgrove for Senate 3). The incumbent's campaign Web site states that Wicker has been a member of the House Appropriations Committee for 12 years, and has served the Defense subcommittee and as the Ranking Member of the Military Construction - Veterans Affairs subcommittee (About Roger Wicker 2). In addition, the incumbent served as a deputy Republican whip, and has been a member of the Republican Policy Committee since 2001 (About Roger Wicker 2-3).

Ronnie Musgrove. A former governor, Musgrove faces some stiff competition with Wicker. Among the prominent issues faced by the citizens of Mississippi cited by this candidate are "concerns that people have had about the loss of jobs, the high unemployment rate as a result of the bad trade agreements [such as] NAFTA,…