by Alan Lange
As low-energy as the 2018 primaries have been, turnout certainly reflected the campaign energy. However, Primary Night 2018 was interesting to watch on several fronts.
Senate Democratic Primary
Omeria Scott won 20 counties outright, but came up short of the runoff. Baria won 21 counties and came in a close second. Sherman ran the table with the rest. Baria won the most populous counties on the coast and in the metro. Sherman ran the middle of the state and the more rural areas.
That’s likely how the runoff will set up. Sherman generally ran stronger than Baria in counties that had generally higher concentrations of black voters and in counties that Omeria Scott won.
Both Sherman and Baria will likely have to empty their wallets just to get to the next round to face Roger Wicker. Sherman, who had literally zero name ID coming into this race, has shown an interesting path. Announced candidate for Lt. Governor Jay Hughes and possible gubernatorial candidate Jim Hood likely have to be taking notes on how Sherman is running and whether or not it can be replicated.
One would presume that Sherman will continue to carpetbomb urban and gospel radio and TV for the next few weeks while Baria will push on more establishment channels. If Baria’s comments were any indication, this one could get a little nasty.
In any event, this race will play out in the black community and Omeria Scott could wind up being a sort of “kingmaker”.
Even though her legislative black colleagues dumped her for Baria, it will be interesting to see if they can now make nice.
Senate Republican Primary
Wicker ran away with the night. That was no surprise. The surprise was the margin he did it with. With all of the anti-incumbent chatter on social media and the remnants of insurgency from the Chris McDaniel campaign, I had Wicker winning with a lower number (I predicted about 70%). He won with 83%.
— Magnolia Tribune (@magnoliatribune) June 6, 2018
The “antis” on Facebook and Twitter that make a lot of noise had zero influence at the ballot box last night – even under the guise of a protest vote. That doesn’t bode well for an anti-incumbency surge.
Wicker’s performance is also a tip of the hat to President Trump who endorsed Wicker via twitter twice. More anecdotal information can be found in Alabama, where an incumbent that crossed Trump is being forced into a runoff.
It’s proof positive that if Trump gets behind Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, as many think he will, that will play a huge role in her winning the permanent seat in November.
One last note. If you gathered everyone that voted in the Senate Democratic primary and lumped them together with everyone who voted against Wicker in the Republican primary, Wicker would have still won by over 20,000 votes.
Third District Republican Primary
Michael Guest showed strength throughout the district. He ran up the score in Rankin and won Madison handily. The bad news for the second place finisher Whit Hughes was that even if Guest had not gotten a single vote in Rankin County where over 12,000 of his 28,000 votes came from, he still would have led the field.
Hughes, who finished with roughly half of the votes that Guest did will have a real uphill climb over the coming three weeks.
His task will be to coalesce the rest of the field against Guest.
First time candidate Perry Parker made a strong showing against some pretty difficult race dynamics, and finished a respectable third.
No Surprises Elsewhere
In another letdown for anti-incumbent Republicans, E Brian Rose got dusted by incumbent Rep. Steven Palazzo in the South MS congressional district.
Quote of the Night
From none other than Jensen Bohren …
Asked if he could be reached on his pre-paid cell phone late election night, candidate Jensen Bohren said, “Nope. I’m going to be in Natchez trying to poll vault the Mississippi river using a cement truck and a dozen trained penguins.”