And the real match-up will be between Southaven Mayor Greg Davis (R) and Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers (D), who are already their parties’ nominees for the November election.
Democrats turned out twice as many voters as did Republicans in the primary, when a competitive Democratic presidential primary drove many of them to the polls. Three weeks later, they edged the GOP again, 36,000 to 33,000 in the runoff, with Childers earning about 4,000 more votes than Davis.
Democrats have pointed to higher turnout numbers all over the country as evidence of the enthusiasm for their party and their candidates.
But Davis argues that many Republicans who crossed over to vote for president weren’t able to come back to the GOP side for the runoff because election rules forbade it. That won’t be the case in the special election, where previous votes don’t matter.
For Davis, turning out his base in DeSoto County will be key. He points out that Democratic turnout there dropped more than 80 percent, from 8,100 to 1,400, between the primary and primary runoff.
Overall Democratic turnout dropped from nearly 100,000.
“That held through in several other counties that are generally heavily Republican,” Davis said. “You’re looking at 5-6,000 votes just in one county, which more than closes the gap. And that was not unique to one county.”