Senate Campaign Intense

By: Jon Kalahar Email
By: Jon Kalahar Email

Both Sen. Roger Wicker and his challenger, former governor, Ronnie Musgrove, were in Jackson Monday as they prepare for the November election. That race could come down to factors beyond their control.

Between working as Mississippi's junior senator and campaigning across the state, Wicker doesn't sit down for long. He made a stop to field questions from the Capitol press corps.

"I'm running on a record of bipartisan accomplishment in the areas of economic development, bringing in new companies to create jobs," said Wicker.

Wicker said increasing oil production in this country is important to fixing the economy. Whether it's drilling in Alaska or in new offshore areas, Wicker says we must look to the future.

"When President Clinton vetoed (drilling in) ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) in 1995, he said it wouldn't have an effect until ten years," said Wicker. "Well, ten years has come and gone and we could use that crude oil now."

Musgrove says after thirteen years in Washington, Wicker has lost touch with Mississippians.

"They want someone who is fiscally responsible, who is a social conservative, and certainly I am both," Musgrove said.

Musgrove says someone has got to control spending in Washington.

"They're wanting to get control of the spending, focus the spending on the areas that really matter, and get the economy moving again," said Musgrove.

But with Wicker and Musgrove apparently neck and neck, the election could hinge on each party's presidential candidate's ability to win the state in what is expected to be one of the largest voter turnouts in Mississippi history.

"I'm kind of appreciative of that, because it keeps me motivated and keeps my volunteers motivated," Wicker said.

"People are tired of political rhetoric," said Musgrove. "They want some real solutions; they want Washington to work again."

So far, no debates between the candidates have been set. Wicker said he believes there will be debates at some point.

Musgrove asked Wicker to debate him at the Neshoba County Fair, but the offer was turned down.


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