The conservative leanings and usual Republican voting tendencies in northern Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District would appear to give a strong advantage to front-running GOP candidate Greg Davis in his bid for Congress.
Yet Democrats insist that divisions within the district’s Republican ranks that surfaced during a recent primary campaign — and the emergence of Travis Childers, a local official with a conservative profile, as the leading Democratic candidate — gives them a shot at the seat that seven-term Republican incumbent Roger Wicker vacated in December after his appointment to the U.S. Senate.
Some Mississippi political analysts say the Democrats’ optimism may not be misplaced. “I even get some raised eyebrows around here when I say a Democrat can win in the 1st District,” said Marty Wiseman, a well-known authority on Mississippi politics who directs the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University. “But it’s not unreasonable to say it’s too close to call.”
CQ Politics is changing its rating of the race to Leans Republican from Safe Republican. The new rating reflects the competitive nature of the race, but identifies Davis as the candidate who holds an edge.
Davis — whose hometown of Southaven, where he is mayor, is the district’s second-largest city — already cinched the Republican nomination for the November general election in an April 1 primary runoff. That contest was marked by a combative campaign between Davis and former Tupelo Mayor Glenn L. McCullough Jr., who also formerly headed the Tennessee Valley Authority. Childers, the chancery clerk for Prentiss County near the state’s northeastern corner, won a less combative Democratic primary for the November general election.