A veteran political scientist says it is very unlikely that Democrats can steal a U.S. Senate seat in the deep red state of Mississippi.
Despite the apparent urging by President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says he will not appoint himself to fill the U.S. Senate seat of Thad Cochran, who is retiring next month due to ill health.
Republicans are concerned that if there is not a strong candidate appointed, the party could lose the seat to Democrats.
Incumbent GOP Senator Roger Wicker is also running for re-election in Mississippi this fall.
Dr. Charles Dunn, professor emeritus of government at Clemson University, says Republicans are not going to relinquish two Senate seats without a big fight.
"The Republican Party will be able to put up very capable and well-financed candidates," he predicts. "Anyone who thinks Democrats have much of an opportunity to elect a U.S. senator from Mississippi is just whistling Dixie.”
Dunn also believes state Senator Chris Daniels is not necessarily going to have it any easier challenging whoever Bryant appoints to fill Cochran's seat or continuing his challenge for Roger Wicker's seat.
"That person who's been appointed by the governor has a lot going for him because the party will get behind him,” says Dunn. “A new face often runs with a clearer path to victory than an established face.”
Gov. Bryant has said he intends to appoint a strong name capable of holding on to the seat for decades.