Black Votes Count: The 2014 Republican Senate Nomination in Mississippi*

M. V. Hood, Seth C. McKee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: This article examines the role of black votes in contributing to the renomination of 36-year Republican Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi. In 2014, Senator Cochran faced a formidable primary challenge from State Senator Chris McDaniel, a notably more conservative politician. After narrowly losing the primary, Cochran prevailed in the runoff because enough black voters decided to support him. Methods: We use precinct-level racial data to derive ecological inference estimates of turnout and then employ a racially homogenous precinct analysis to determine the percentage of the black and white vote won by Cochran and McDaniel. Results: Our empirical analysis provides convincing evidence that if not for the increase in black voters in the runoff and their overwhelming support for Senator Cochran, his opponent would have ended his lengthy political career. Conclusions: Race has always been the centerpiece of politics in the Deep South state of Mississippi. This is an empirical account of an unlikely electoral event that speaks to the importance of the changing state of southern politics and how a marginalized minority population can still play a pivotal role in a region dominated by a white Republican majority.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-106
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Volume98
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

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