The marquee contest that the chattering classes will be jabbering about tonight–in part because the polls close in Mississippi at a relatively early 8:00 PM EDT–is the Mississippi GOP Senate contest, where no one professes to know what will happen. Late polls have gone in both directions; RealClearPolitics’ polling average for the race is a tie. The general feeling is that low turnout–perhaps made worse by rainy weather–is Cochran’s main enemy, and that McDaniel may have blown a sure win by his inept handling of the bizarre incident involving a conservative blogger’s photo session with Rose Cochran. It’s even possible that a very minor third candidate could throw the race into a June 24 runoff.
If McDaniel wins, the state will join Kentucky and Georgia as unlikely places Republicans could lose a Senate seat in November, offsetting gains elsewhere. And the subterranean battle between seniority and ideology among southern conservatives would take another turn towards a future where it’s deadly to let anyone get to your right.