Trump’s Tupelo Visit Helped Dems More Than GOP in Mississippi, Strategists Say


President Donald Trump's visit to Tupelo earlier this month may have helped Mississippi Democrats more than Republicans in this year's state elections, Chism Strategies, one of the state's top polling and political strategy firms, says. The president's Nov. 1 visit boosted Republican voter turnout in Northeast Mississippi by 5%, but gave Democrats in the region a 12% boost, the firm wrote in an "Open Letter to Mississippi Democrats" late last week.

Trump held the rally for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who narrowly beat Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood in the election for governor four days later.

"President Trump is a double edged sword ... . He is a powerful reminder to base Democrats when our local candidate may be less exciting," Chism wrote.

Chism is a progressive firm that supports Democrats.

'A Great Job of Messaging'

While Republicans won in Mississippi, losses followed Trump's recent visits to help GOP gubernatorial candidates in two other southern states. In Kentucky, incumbent Republican Gov. Matt Bevin lost on Nov. 5 just after an election-eve rally with Trump; Trump later suggested Bevin lost because he was a bad candidate, but would have lost by a much larger margin without him.

Over the weekend, Louisiana elected Democrat John Bel Edwards to a second term after Trump paid three visits to the state to help GOP nominee Eddie Rispone. That was the first time in decades that a Democrat won a second term in the state. Edwards initially won his first election in 2015 after Republicans nominated David Vitter, a candidate embroiled in scandal over his solicitation of sex services from the "D.C. Madame" when he served in Congress.

One Republican political operative who works on campaigns in both Mississippi and Louisiana told the Jackson Free Press that he thinks it was less about Trump and more about the fact that Edwards' incumbency

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