Could Alabama's Senate race impact Mississippi's 2018 race? - - Jackson, MS

Could Alabama's Senate race impact Mississippi's 2018 race?

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Alabama voters are deciding between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones in a U.S. Senate race. Moore has faced sexual misconduct allegations that surfaced during his campaign.

Now folks are talking about how that race could impact a potential Chris McDaniel versus Roger Wicker race here in Mississippi next year.

"I think people are going to start looking at Mississippi pretty soon," said Millsaps political science professor Kenneth Townsend. "Then, of course, if McDaniel announces, a lot of attention will be heading our way."

Townsend says the groundwork for a potential Wicker versus McDaniel race is being laid.

"One of the things McDaniel has been effective, I believe, been effective at doing up to this point is keeping people engaged, largely through social media," said Townsend. "Teasing things out, saying be on the lookout for a possible announcement, so that people don't get bored. So that people don't give up hope."

Another factor that's ramped up interest in the Magnolia State from national media is Steve Bannon.

"Bannon, even though he's no longer in the White House, he definitely still has significant influence within these insurgent circles and we're seeing that in Alabama," added Townsend. "And he's not giving up this fight. He's going to keep pushing. And I can't help but think that on some level he sees Mississippi as ripe ground."

McDaniel told us this fall that Bannon was encouraging him to challenge Wicker. Meanwhile, Wicker has frequently taken to social media to make his support of President Trump known.

"I think what you're also seeing with Wicker in the last few weeks and months is he is trying to insulate himself against claims that he's simply gone off to Washington and is part of the establishment and status quo," noted Townsend.

No matter the outcome, Alabama's race has generated new attention for what may still be to come in Mississippi.

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