Thad Cochran, a Republican Senator from Mississippi, has announced that he will retire as Senator effective April 1st, creating a special election to fill the seat.
The Senator cited his health, saying, “I regret my health has become an ongoing challenge … I will formally retire from the US Senate [on April 1st].” Cochran has been serving in the Senate for 40 years. Cochran is currently the Senate Appropriations Chair.
A special election to fill his seat could mean a Democratic pickup. While it’s unlikely at this point, keep in mind that at least one poll showed the Alabama race as tied before the Roy Moore allegations came out. Mississippi is more competitive than Alabama, and the current Democrat special election swing could flip the state. In fact, Trump won the state by 18.6%, meaning a below-average special election swing would give Democrats another Senate seat. Chris McDaniels, a Republican, is expected to enter this race. McDaniels is not well liked and has a murky history. Meanwhile, Brandon Presley, a moderate to conservative Democrat, might enter the race. As of now, neither person has announced their intention to run. Therefore, I rate this race as likely Republican. However, if both candidates mentioned above run, the state moves to tossup, tilting Republican. Another thing to mention is that the election itself will start as a nonpartisan race on November 6th, meaning that party labels will not be shown. In a Republican state such as Mississippi, not showing party affiliation is bound to help Democrats. If no candidate wins a majority of votes, a runoff will be held.