March 20, 2018
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to appoint Cindy Hyde-Smith to replace retiring Sen. Thad Cochran, the Clarion-Ledger reports. Cochran previously announced he would leave the Senate on April 1st, citing health issues. Hyde-Smith, the state's agriculture commissioner would be the first female U.S. Senator in the state's history.
The appointment is temporary, with a special election to be held on November 6th, the same date as the 2018 midterms. The winner of that election will serve the final two years of Cochran's term. The special election is unusual in that all candidates will appear on a single ballot, with no party affiliations listed. If no candidate gets a majority of the vote, a top-two runoff election will follow on November 27th.
While others may declare, it is likely that Hyde-Smith's primary challengers in the special election would be fellow Republican, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, and Democratic former U.S. Rep. Mike Espy. If Democrats hope to flip this deep red seat, the most viable path - although still a long-shot - would be for the far-right McDaniel and Espy to advance to a runoff.
The Mississippi special election brings to 35 the number of U.S Senate seats to be contested in 2018.
Candidates that earn any pledged delegates in Iowa will make the stage, with an alternate polling and donor path also available.
Vermont to follow Saturday; both states hold their primaries on Super Tuesday, March 3
While the nominee will be someone else, the seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Mike Enzi is safely Republican.
The New Jersey Senator had been polling 2-3% nationally; missed the cut for Tuesday's debate
9th in our series: Idaho last voted Democratic in a presidential election back in 1964. Little reason to think that will change in 2020