Fact Sheet: Roger Wicker and Ronnie Musgrove Fight for a Mississippi Senate Seat

FAQ: Mississippi Senate Seat

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Current Voter Registration (as of 10/13/2008)

  • 1,873,740

This year, there are two Senate races in Mississippi—the Class II seat held by Thad Cochran and a special election to fill the seat formerly held by Trent Lott, who retired in 2007. Gov. Haley Barbour appointed former Republican Rep. Roger Wicker to the seat temporarily. He and former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, a Democrat, are the two main contenders in this closely watched race.

2008 Candidates

  • Incumbent: Thad Cochran (Republican) ran unopposed in the primary.
  • Challenger: Erik Fleming (Democrat) won his party's primary with 66 percent of the vote.
  • Incumbent: Roger Wicker (Republican) was appointed to Lott's seat by Barbour.
  • Challenger: Ronnie Musgrove (Democrat)

Other items on the Mississippi ballot: U.S. president, U.S. House of Representatives (four seats), and state Supreme and District Court judgeships

Fundraising and Spending (Through 10/15/2008):


  • Total Contributions: $2,049,432
  • Money Spent: $1,424,514
  • Cash on Hand: $967,493


  • Total Contributions: $0
  • Money Spent: $0
  • Cash on Hand: $0


  • Total Contributions: $4,408,508
  • Money Spent: $3,733,604
  • Cash on Hand: $674,900


  • Total Contributions: $5,260,133
  • Money Spent: $3,597,497
  • Cash on Hand: $1,662,635

Mississippi Demographics

  • Total Population 2,918,785
  • Female 52%
  • Male 48%
  • White 60%
  • Black, or African-American 37%
  • Hispanic, or Latino 1.7%
  • American Indian 0.3%
  • Asian 0.6%
  • Two or More Races 0.8%

*Total may not add up to 100 percent because of census tracking methods.

  • Median Age 35.4 years

2002 Senate Election

  • Thad Cochran (Republican) 533,269 85%
  • Shawn O'Hara (Reform) 97,226 15%

Sources: Associated Press, Mississippi secretary of state, Federal Election Commission, U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 American Community Survey, The Almanac of American Politics

Facts About Mississippi Senate Elections

1. In 1870, the Mississippi state legislature sent the first African-American to the U.S. Senate, clergyman Hiram Revels. Ironically, Revels was selected to fill the vacancy left by Jefferson Davis nearly a decade before.

2. Mississippi has not elected a Democrat to an open Senate seat since John C. Stennis in 1947. When Stennis retired in 1989, he was succeeded by Republican Trent Lott.

3. Ronnie Musgrove and Roger Wicker, rivals for the special election Senate seat, were roommates in Jackson, Miss., while serving together in the Mississippi State Senate.


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