Special elections

Why the Mississippi Senate runoff is like Alabama (and why it isn't)

Cindy Hyde-Smith and Mike Espy
Hyde-Smith (left) and Espy. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty, Wikimedia Commons

Some Republicans are worried that today's Mississippi Senate runoff could end up like last year's Alabama special election, with a scandal-plagued Republican candidate losing to a Democrat in deep red, Republican territory.

The big picture: Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith has been fighting late controversies of her own making — saying she'd attend a "public hanging," among other things — just as Alabama's Roy Moore was damaged by his own late controversies (allegations of being a sexual predator). But there are also some important reasons why Hyde-Smith, unlike Moore, might survive, including the fact that President Trump and the GOP haven't kept her at arm's length the way they did with Moore.

Between the lines: Crunching the midterms hype

Trump
Trump speaks at a campaign rally at the Pensacola International Airport on Nov. 3 in Pensacola, Florida. Photo: Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

Today, President Trump ends his pre-midterm blitz of 11 rallies across eight states in six days. Top elections analysts say they doubt they'll move the needle for Republicans.

What they're saying: Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman pointed to Pennsylvania's 18th district, which Trump won by 20 points in 2016. Even though Trump visited the district twice before the special election earlier this year, Democrat Conor Lamb still flipped it. "I'm not convinced their [Trump and VP Mike Pence] visits make much of a difference," Wasserman told Axios.

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