Polls opened at 7:00 a.m. and will close at 7:00 p.m. Here are just a few analysis points we’ll be tracking.
There were over 370,000 Republican primary voters (a record). In consultation with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office, turnout will likely be down some just based on the comparative number of absentee ballots requested, which normally run around 5% of the vote total.
Updated received @MSGOP absentee ballot count from SOS @DelbertHosemann's office for runoffs is 12,675. In the primary it was 19,064. If ratios hold, the MSGOP runoff statewide would have 250,000 voters.#mselex #msgov @tatereeves @BillWallerMS @LynnFitchforMS @Andy_for_AG pic.twitter.com/JGfCxXzDlH
— Yall Politics (@MSyallpolitics) August 26, 2019
Another thing in conjunction with turnout will be the weather. There will be some showers and storms around the state today. That can have the net effect of depressing turnout some. A seriously low turnout would likely negatively impact Reeves as Waller voters (at least in the suburban areas) seem a bit more energized). Right now, our turnout estimate is around 250,000 voters.
Finally, we look at where other races might be that could locally impact turnout. There are MSGOP runoffs in the Pascagoula, Natchez, around Southaven. Plus the Northern District Transportation Commissioner will be in the northern third of the state. So those areas might be more pronounced relative to other counties that just have the Governor and AG’s races to vote on.
There have been several eye catching endorsements. We will now be able to see what effect they will have. Most notably in the gubernatorial race, Robert Foster has endorsed Bill Waller and has been “all in” for the Waller team. He’s traveled the state, primed social media and even been on some TV commercials with a sharp edge against Tate Reeves. Desoto, Hinds, Rankin, Lafayette and Desoto will be the counties to watch to see how many of Foster’s votes convert to Waller.
Reeves scored a coup of his own with MSGOP values voters with the endorsement of Chris McDaniel, who remains really popular in the Pine Belt and areas throughout Northeast Mississippi. He also had a large contingent of establishment endorsements. We will be looking specifically at Jones, Forrest, Lamar, which is the main area outside of Desoto that Foster voters showed up, to see if McDaniel’s endorsement of Reeves turns the tide and converts those Foster voters back to the Reeves column.
The Math of the Map
Reeves won 49 counties by outright majority on August 6, and had 45% or better in another 21 counties. Reeves averaged (across all individual counties) 52.19% of the vote, but obviously lost some vote-rich counties that left him short. Waller averaged 29.2% in individual counties. That math is a pretty high statistical hill for Waller to climb, even with Foster’s help.
Waller will not only have to win the areas he won last time convincingly (suburban “Starbucks” Republicans), but he will also have to convert almost 100% of Foster voters. That makes the math an enormous climb for Waller, but we should be able to compare just a few counties early and get a sense on how he converts.
Lynn Fitch and Andy Taggart will battle for the AG’s spot. The county map for Fitch looks similar to the primary map of Reeves, and she is likely the favorite to win. Mark Baker, who placed third, has endorsed Andy Taggart.
Neither Fitch nor Taggart have had substantial funds to deploy in the runoff, so name ID will still be key. Taggart produced an ad late attacking Fitch (https://www.yallpolitics.com/2019/08/22/republican-ag-race-with-taggart-and-fitch-getting-heated-trial-lawyer-influence-now-an-issue/), but both candidates will face the challenge of getting their voters out in the areas they need them.
Alan Lange from Y’all Politics will be on Supertalk Mississippi today at 11:00 and on WJTV this evening at 9:00 and 10:00 to help provide coverage and analysis.