Expert: Democrats more likely to win US Senate race after Jason - - Jackson, MS

Expert: Shelton's withdrawal from US Senate race means more votes for Espy

Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton. Source: WLBT Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The special election for the U.S. Senate race is already heating up. Tuesday, Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton announced that he has pulled out of the race.

With his departure, that could mean more votes for the Democratic candidates.

RELATED: Tupelo mayor leaves special US Senate race in Mississippi

The state of Mississippi hasn't had a Democrat in the Senate since 1989.

This unique race looks to be one that could change Mississippi politics for the next couple of years.

Kenneth Townsend, a political science professor at Millsaps College, feels the votes could swing in Mike Espy's favor. 

"Well I think Mike Espy is very pleased right now," said Townsend. "He's the Democratic candidate who has the lead in all the polling we have at this point. Jason Shelton was most likely going to pull some votes away from him. So I'm sure he's very pleased. On the other end of the spectrum, I'm guessing that Republican candidates are probably a little less excited by the news. Cindy Hyde-Smith is probably not happy that a Democrat is out of the race now."

Townsend believes that this election can also give us some entertaining days.

"This isn't a traditional election, as I said a moment ago, where you have a primary that provides a natural transition point for people's focus to then be narrowed," added Townsend. "We're not going to see that. We're going to see all three candidates just going at it over the next few months. Especially when you have an unusual candidate like Chris McDaniel in the mix. You just don't know what that's going to produce."

Others running in the race are Republican State Senator Chris McDaniel, Democrat Tobey Bartee who previously served on the Gautier City Council and Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith.

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