Newspaper article Roll Call

No Real Challenges for Mississippi Members

Newspaper article Roll Call

No Real Challenges for Mississippi Members

Article excerpt

Congressional redistricting isn't a glamorous job for any state Legislature, but for the past two decades, it hasn't been a job at all for state Senators and Representatives in Mississippi. In 2002 and late last year, a federal court redrew the state's Congressional boundaries to adjust for shifts in population after the Legislature deadlocked. This cycle's redraw did little to change the political bent of any of the Magnolia State's four districts, and no incumbent faces a real challenge to re-election. The filing deadline was Jan. 13, so the field in all the races is set.

"All four incumbents in Mississippi are safe," said a Republican strategist familiar with the state. "There's going to be some [changes] that will have a bearing on a small level, subdistrict level. But when you step away and look at it -- Palazzo, Harper, Nunnelee, Thompson -- all safe."

1st district

Incumbent: Alan Nunnelee

1st term (55 percent)

Rating: Safe Republican

If there is one federal candidate in Mississippi who is going to have to work a little bit this cycle, it's Nunnelee -- but the freshman Member shouldn't break a sweat.

In his northeastern district, he faces two opponents in the primary, the credible one being frequent candidate and former Eupora Mayor Henry Ross. Yet Nunnelee beat Ross by 19 points in the 2010 primary, and there's no indication that Ross, even slamming some of Nunnelee's votes, will do any better this time around.

In the general election, Nunnelee will face Brad Morris, who served as chief of staff to former Rep. Travis Childers (D) from 2008 to 2010. Childers was walloped by Nunnelee last cycle, but Morris believes he has a shot at the seat.

"We won this race in 2008 with Travis Childers in a national election with the president at the top," he said. "I have a network of people in every county in this district. I have a base of donors that I can go to for support, and we know how to run an election," he said in an interview.

Still, the district is strongly Republican -- under the tweaked lines, it would have voted 62. …

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