Six-term incumbent Thad Cochran and challenger Chris McDaniel are headed to a June 24 runoff in the Republican Senate primary in Mississippi.
Thad Cochran or Chris McDaniel would need to get at least 50 percent plus 1 to win the Republican Primary outright. With a few ballots to be counted, neither had reached that point. Most people say they expected the race to be close.
Republican analysts say the public needs to prepare for even more attention on the race.
"I don't think Mississippians have ever seen a campaign like the next three weeks will bring," said analyst and author, Andy Taggert. "We will be completely inundated on the airwaves, inundated in print. Mailboxes will be stuffed completely full. And folks' phones will be ringing off the hooks. And doors will be knocked off the hinges."
With most precincts reporting and an unknown number of mail-in and provisional ballots yet to be counted, unofficial results showed McDaniel with a small lead Wednesday over Cochran in the three-way race.
Neither McDaniel nor Cochran received a majority of the vote, which would be needed to avoid a runoff in three weeks. The runoff will be June 24.
Tom Carey, a real estate agent who ran a low-budget campaign, drew a small share of the primary vote and was eliminated from the race.
The Republican nominee will face Democrat Travis Childers and the Reform Party's Shawn O'Hara in the Nov. 4 general election.