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Mike Espy votes in the Senate Democratic primary, in Ridgeland, Mississippi, on March 10, 2020.
Rogelio V. Solis/AP

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Mike Espy wins Mississippi Senate primary

Three candidates vied to take on incumbent Mississippi Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.

Update: Decision Desk is projecting former Rep. Mike Espy, who also ran for Senate in Mississippi’s 2018 special election, as the winner of the Democratic primary.

Though six states are holding presidential contests this Tuesday, March 10 (mostly primaries plus caucuses in one state, North Dakota), just one, Mississippi, will hold its congressional primaries simultaneously.

There, three Democrats are vying for the chance to challenge Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who was first appointed to fill the retiring Thad Cochran’s seat in 2018 and who subsequently won a special election for the seat later that year.

Former Mississippi Rep. Mike Espy, former naval intelligence officer Tobey Bartee, and Jensen Bohren (who says he has worked a number of odd jobs and in 2018 launched a quixotic progressive challenge to Republican Sen. Roger Wicker) are all running for the Democratic nomination on Tuesday.

Polls close at 7 pm Central, 8 pm Eastern. Vox will be covering the results of the Mississippi Democratic Senate primary live, in partnership with Decision Desk.

Both Espy and Bartee ran against Hyde-Smith in the 2018 special election; while Bartee claimed only 1.5 percent of the vote, Espy came within half of a percentage point of Hyde-Smith and forced the race into a run-off, though he eventually lost by almost 8 points.

In the most recent round of Federal Election Commission filings, Espy outraised Hyde-Smith by more than $40,000, and his path to the Democratic nomination over his challengers should be straightforward.

If Espy wins out over the Democratic field, though, he’ll face an uphill struggle to unseat Hyde-Smith in November: The Cook Political Report rates Hyde-Smith’s Mississippi Senate seat as “Likely Republican” in 2020.

There are also a handful of primaries for House seats happening on Tuesday. Notably, Mississippi’s sole Democratic member of Congress, Rep. Bennie Thompson, is facing a challenger. However, Thompson, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, is well-positioned to win reelection.

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