Clearing Up “Special Election” Confusion


Judging by news stories and social media posts, there seems to be a lot of confusion in Mississippi over the US Senate races this year.
So, let’s take a quick look:
First of all, there are TWO SEPARATE races for both of Mississippi’s seats in the US Senate that are on-going right now. It’s a rarity in politics but it does sometimes happen that way with a death or resignation.
In one race, Senator Roger Wicker is running re-election against David Baria, a Democrat, and Danny Bedwell, a Libertarian.
The other Senate seat, the one now held by Cindy Hyde-Smith, is a “special election” to fill the remainder of the term, since Thad Cochran stepped down this year. The election, though, is not for a full six-year term. That’s why it’s called a “special election.” Whoever wins will serve the remaining two years and must, if they chose to continue serving, run again for a full six-year term in November 2020.
The “special election” is on November 6, the same day as every other election. But there’s one major difference: There is no party designation in a “special election.” Why? Because there was no primary or convention for the parties to choose nominees. Candidates are listed alphabetically.

Declared candidates in a “special election” are pitted together in what is sometimes called a “jungle primary.” It’s a free-for-all” to decide everything. In the 2018 “special election” there are four candidates: Cindy Hyde-Smith, Chris McDaniel, Mike Espy, and Tobey Bartee.
It is based on a majority vote, not a plurality. If no one gets a majority of the vote on November 6, then the top two vote-getters will run against each other in a run-off three weeks later, on Tuesday November 27. The winner is elected for the remainder of the Senate term.
Looking at things politically, there seems to be

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