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Does Black Turn Out In GOP Run Off Change Mississippi Politics?

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 26 Jun 2014 06:42pm | comments
A big increase in the turn out of Mississippi's black voters helped Senator Thad Cochran win the run off election. Now, some are wondering if small increase in black participation in Republican politics could change the state. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports.
 
A close look at Tuesday's election results shows big increases in turn out in majority black districts around Mississippi. 
 
Ben Jealous is the former head of the NAACP and author of a recent report looking at the direction of the southern electorate.
 
Jealous says more involvement of black Mississippians in the Republican primary is a good thing for both parties.
 
"This open primary that in many ways has been a white's only primary for a long time and saying 'hey, we have a role to play in who leads our state. And if is going to be a Republican so be it. At least let it be the Republican who is least dangerous to our community," Jealous said.
 
Counties with high concentrations of black voters saw some of the largest increases turnout, according to analysis of A-P election results.
 
For example, in Jefferson county voter turn out increased 92-percent over the June third election where African-Americans represent 85 percent of the population, the largest share of any county in the country.
 
Cochran's opponents have lambasted the outreach to black voters saying it de-legitimized the election.
 
Civil rights activist Flonzie Brown Wright says many black voters were unnerved by the heated tone of the campaign of State senator Chris McDaniel and his Tea Party supporters.
 
"It turned a lot of people off just by his rhetoric. Whether he intends to do it or not. People came together to try and stop him from doing what they thought he would perhaps try and do," Right said.
 
It remains to be seen that if Cochran wins re-election this fall, if it will change how future Republicans run for office.
 
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