Mississippi Democratic House Minority Leader David Baria's chances to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker came to an end at just after 8 p.m. on election night—an hour after Mississippi polls closed.
With more than 96 percent of the vote in, Wicker led Baria 59-39. Wicker will now go to Washington, D.C., for this third consecutive term.
"I start tomorrow," he said at his joint party with U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith at the Westin hotel in downtown Jackson. "I've got a few more weeks in this term and look forward to the next term in January. But we've got to keep working starting tomorrow."
Wicker speculates that he will soon be up for chairman of the commerce committee.
"Continuing as we're seeing across the country with this great red wall that we're seeing in the great heartland, if I am chairman of the commerce committee, we're going to work on the wide range of issues there to make Mississippi better and to make America stronger, including rural broadband," he said.
Less than a mile away, Baria said he made two attempts to call Wicker before taking the stage around 9:30 p.m. to hesitantly address his election-night watch party at the King Edward Hotel in downtown Jackson.
"As you're aware, AP has called this race," Baria, a Bay St. Louis resident, said. "I'm a little uncomfortable standing before you when my beloved Gulf Coast counties haven't even been counted, yet. But we all trust the AP to know what they're talking about."
Despite his discomfort, he spoke optimistically about his campaign setting the groundwork for change.
"What we built together, we're going to carry forward into 2019," he said.
Change Delayed Next year, Mississippi will vote for a governor to replace Gov. Phil Bryant, who faces term limits. Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, has already thrown his hat in