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September 09, 2008

Wicker-Musgrove race to be buried on ballot

The Mississippi Senate race between appointed Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and former Democratic governor Ronnie Musgrove may be the most exciting race in the state this year, but it will be buried at the bottom of the ballot.

Mississippi’s GOP Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann announced today that he will be placing the closely-watched special election Senate race with local legislative races, instead of being below the presidential race and the re-election bid of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)

The Musgrove campaign called the ballots “unlawful,” citing a statute that calls for federal races to be at the top of the ticket. The campaign said the low placement of the race would cause confusion for voters.

“We will win this election no matter where the Secretary of State puts it on the ballot,” said Tim Phillips, Musgrove's campaign manager. “But this is about the law and they don’t get to make up their own laws.”

The Senate seat became vacant after Trent Lott’s resignation last year. Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.) appointed Wicker to fill the vacancy, and called for the special election to be held in November. In accordance with Mississippi election law, party labels will not be listed beside the candidates because it is a special election.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has spent money on behalf of Musgrove, believing they have an opportunity to pick off a GOP-held seat in the heart of the Deep South.