Voting heavier than usual Tuesday morning in southeastern Lauderdale County
A busy campaign season is about to come to an end for many candidates looking to fill positions as a statewide leader.
From governor to commissioner of agriculture and commerce, the political match-ups going into the primaries are being watched with a close eye and could be the deciding elections for some.
"It literally is going to depend on how the voters decide at the last minute who they're going to vote for," said Jere Nash. "These are all going to be close races."
Political watchers like Nash and Andy Taggart say Republicans stand to gain the most representation in statewide elections.
"Democrats just failed to field candidates in statewide races and only have one statewide primary, the one for governor," Taggert said.
As candidates now make their last minute appeals to voters across the state, Nash says this political season has brought in less money and fewer candidates than in years past, but each campaign is still being hard fought.
"It is rare that a candidate at the start of a campaign is a shoe-in," said Nash.
When voters show up at the polls, one thing to keep in mind is that Mississippi has closed primaries. That means voters may only choose from candidates within the political party they declare.
"A closed primary is a little frustrating to people, because folks want to be able to go in and vote for whoever they want to vote for, regardless of what party they run in," said Taggert.
The legislature tried before to make Mississippi an open primary state, but the proposed law was struck down by the U.S. Department of Justice. Even with a majority of gubernatorial candidates open to the idea of an open primary, neither Nash nor Taggart think it'll happen any time soon.
"The closed primary system actually requires people to make a philosophical choice early on, am I going to vote for Republicans in general or Democrats in general?" said Taggert.
Whatever the choice of voters, the end of the primaries means more political fights to come.
"Focus will shift from statewide races to legislative races which is really where the fight is going to be for November," said Taggert.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.