Mike Espy and Cindy Hyde-Smith, 2018

Add Mississippi to your list of states to keep an eye on for the next 42 days, because the race for US Senate is looking pretty close, according to new polling. Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democratic challenger Mike Espy are just one point apart in a new poll from the Tyson Group, which as far as we know does not sell any frozen chicken. The poll of 600 likely voters has Hyde Smith with 41 percent and Espy with 40 percent, well within the four percent margin of error.

It's not the first poll to show Espy trailing Hyde-Smith by just a little bit, but it's definitely the closest. Espy's internal polling in August had him within five points of Hyde-Smith, and in June, Public Policy Polling had Espy down by eight points, 49-41. In red, red Mississippi, just the fact that the Republican incumbent is below 50 percent in several polls is probably good news for Espy, who served as Bill Clinton's secretary of Agriculture and has frequently made the list of American Political Figures Most Likely to be Mistaken for a Cable Sports Network.


The race is a rematch of the 2018 special election to fill out the remainder of Thad Cochran's term, after Cochran retired. (Cochran died in 2019, and is presumably doing "all kinds of indecent things with animals" in heaven now.) Espy lost that race to Hyde-Smith, 54 percent to 46 percent, which counts as a close race in a deep red state that Donald Trump won in 2016 by 20 points. This fall's presidential race looks closer in Mississippi, with Trump generally holding roughly a 10-point lead over Joe Biden.

Also worth noting: According to Mississippi Today, Espy's campaign saw a surge of fundraising over the weekend, following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Espy took in more than $200,000 between Friday night and Saturday, a one-day record, according to his campaign, and roughly a third of all that he'd raised between April and June.

Hyde-Smith, by contrast, has had trouble raising funds; back in February, she had actually raised less money than 96 Senate incumbents, and that includes the two-thirds of the senators who aren't up for election this year. Pretty impressive achievement!

Mississippi being Mississippi, Hyde-Smith is still the favorite, but this is a very weird year, and Mike Espy appears to be building some momentum. If you could afford to send him some cash, he might just be able to pull it off.

Also keep in mind these races where Democrats are out to flip the Senate blue:

Steve Bullock in Montana!

Barbara Bollier in Kansas!

Jaime Harrison in South Carolina!

Theresa Greenfield in Iowa!

John Hickenlooper in Colorado!

MJ Hegar in Texas!

We've got an America to save. Put your money to work, OK?

[WJTV / Tyson Group / Mississippi Today / Five Thirty-Eight]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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