No surprises in the run-off elections last week with Michael Guest easily defeating Whit Hughes in the 3rd District Republican Primary run-off and David Baria coming back to defeat upstart Howard Sherman handily in the Senate Democratic Primary run-off.
Unless there are some surprises, Guest should cruise to victory and Baria should fall short in majority Republican Mississippi in November.
Oh, but could there be surprises?
The special election to fill the Senate seat relinquished by Thad Cochran could possibly yield surprises. If Chris McDaniel follows his 2014 blueprint, his challenge to newly appointed Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith will be down and dirty. Will that fight bring out GOP voters or hold down turnout? If polls show either candidate with a substantial lead, the other’s voters could stay home. Meanwhile, challenger Mike Espy could attract a surge in Democratic voters. Should these two happen together, surprises could occur.
Don’t bet on it, but surprises could happen if one or more Mississippi relevant issues erupt. One of those issues could be tariffs.
Last week newspaper publisher Wyatt Emmerich wrote eloquently about Trump tariffs costing newspaper jobs.
“In January, the Trump administration imposed a 30% import tariff on Canadian wood products, including newsprint,” Emmerich wrote. “Prices have risen accordingly, costing my newspaper company $300,000 a year.” As a result, Emmerich laid off 60 newspaper carriers and shifted delivery of his three daily newspapers to the U.S. Post Office.
“Fortunately for the survival of my company, we found an option,” said Emmerich. “Thanks to a special postal regulation called Exceptional Dispatch, we will be able to use the U.S. Postal Service to get same day delivery of our three daily newspapers, saving a substantial amount of money and allowing us to leave our editorial staff intact.”
Other newspapers have had to cut editorial staff along with other personnel, he said.
One editorial staff member recently laid off was long-time political reporter Bobby Harrison. Now writing for Mississippi Today, Harrison penned a story last week on the impact of Trump tariffs on agriculture in Mississippi, particularly soybeans.
“Earlier this month, the President announced $50 billion in tariffs on China,” Harrison wrote. “China responded with similar tariffs, primarily on agriculture products. One of the primary agriculture products impacted by Chinese tariffs is soybeans, which is Mississippi’s top exported product.”
“Any trade war between the United States and China will hit hard Mississippi farmer and the Mississippi economy,” he wrote after interviewing North Mississippi farmer Jerry Slocum.
In addition to farmers, Mississippi manufacturers are concerned about tariffs too. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported two major state manufacturing companies have spoken out against tariffs.
Cooper Tire joined with its industry association to vigorously oppose “the imposition of restrictions on our industry’s ability to import the high-quality steel wire rod needed to make tires in the U.S., as this vital tire component is not produced domestically.”
Toyota Mississippi said, “The administration’s decision to impose substantial steel and aluminum tariffs will adversely impact automakers.”
As tariffs spread to impact jobs and income in Mississippi, voters will likely take heed.
The potential for November election surprises is there. We’ll have to wait and watch to see if that potential is realized.