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MS-Sen: 'Radio silence' from candidates less than two weeks from GOP primary

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The Virginia Senate primary for the seat held by Republican Sen. Roger Wicker has been relatively quiet with less than two weeks to go. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Republican primary for Mississippi's Senate race is less than two weeks away, but there has been no fighting, no attack advertisements, and no vitriol leading up to the June 5 election, according to the Clarion Ledger.

Incumbent Sen. Roger Wicker will be challenged by Richard Boyanton, a businessman and Vietnam War veteran who touts himself as "The True Republican" in the race.

"But so far with the June 5 primaries nearly upon us for two of the races ... there's still radio silence and no real battles joined," the Clarion Ledger's Geoff Pender wrote.

Why so quiet?

The GOP primary lost a significant amount of competitive intrigue when state Sen. Chris McDaniel dropped out to pursue the seat vacated by Republican Thad Cochran. That seat will be filled by a nonpartisan special election in November.

Pender wrote in the Clarion Ledger:

Part of this is the result of Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel pulling out of the race against incumbent Republican Sen. Roger Wicker and switching to the race for the seat left open by Thad Cochran's retirement. Another part is an apparent lack of campaign funding for McDaniel, at least compared to 2014 when deep-pocket outside groups poured millions into the race to help his unsuccessful challenge of Cochran.

Wicker and McDaniel were expected to go at each other like spider monkeys, but they had barely gotten started when Cochran decided to step down and McDaniel switched races.

Wicker is a heavy favorite in his primary over Boyanton, and it would be a huge upset if any of the Democratic challengers were able to unseat the Republican incumbent.

Special election

There is likely to be more drama involved in the special election, which pits Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith against McDaniel and Democrat Mike Espy, who was the former U.S. secretary of agriculture.

Hyde-Smith was Republican Gov. Phil Bryant's choice to fill Cochran's seat until the next election, but she does not have the support of the White House. Politico reported that Hyde-Smith's history as a Democrat will prevent her from getting an endorsement from President Donald Trump. She was a Democrat until 2010.

McDaniel has been backed by Steve Bannon as an anti-establishment candidate, but recent polling shows Hyde-Smith and Espy as the top two candidates in the race.

McDaniel lost a bitter race against Cochran in 2014, eventually filing a lawsuit against the Cochran campaign, claiming they solicited Democratic votes to win the runoff. That suit was rejected by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

The special election will take place in November. If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, a runoff will take place that same month.

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