JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — Six-term Republican Sen. Thad Cochran and his Democratic challenger Travis Childers traveled the state Monday, making their last-minute appeals to voters.
Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“I hope to be able to work hard to reflect credit on the state, to make sure our interest is taken into account, to keep our country free, to keep our economy healthy. Those are the biggest challenges that I think we face,” Cochran said Monday in Meridian, according to WTOK-TV (http://bit.ly/1tv2lBq ).
A short time later, several Republican elected officials joined Cochran as he campaigned at a restaurant in Madison. The 76-year-old incumbent said he believes he could regain the Appropriations Committee chairmanship if Republicans take control of the Senate.
Childers, 56, is a former congressman from north Mississippi, and he said during an appearance in Jackson that he would bring common sense and business experience to the Senate, and that he would be able to work across party lines. He said he believes he can defeat Cochran, despite being outspent.
“Washington, D.C., no question, is broken,” Childers said. “It may work for the rich and powerful, but it doesn’t work for working Mississippians.”
Childers was flown to several places Monday, including Meridian, Hattiesburg-Laurel, the Gulf Coast, Greenville and Tupelo.
Reform Party candidate Shawn O’Hara also is running for Senate.
All four U.S. House races are on the ballot, with Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson and Republican Reps. Alan Nunnelee, Gregg Harper and Steven Palazzo facing challengers who are running low-budget campaigns.
Mississippi’s top elections officer, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, did not predict how many people will vote Tuesday. His spokeswoman, Pamela Weaver, said about 29,500 absentee ballots were requested. That’s up from about 18,000 before the June 3 primaries.
Cochran withstood a Republican primary challenge that was the toughest of his political career. Weeks after Cochran defeated tea party-backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the June 24 runoff, McDaniel filed a lawsuit that sought to overturn Cochran’s victory by claiming that voting irregularities spoiled the results. A judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying the suit was filed too late. The state Supreme Court later upheld the dismissal in October, but McDaniel never conceded.
While some McDaniel supporters have said they’d vote for him as a write-in candidate Tuesday, Hosemann said those votes would only be counted in limited circumstances.
“State law requires a space for a write-in candidate on the ballot,” Hosemann said in a news release Monday. “However, state law only allows for the tabulation of write-in candidates in the event of the death, resignation, withdrawal or removal of any candidate whose name is printed on the ballot.”