Congressional redistricting isn't a glamorous job for any state Legislature, but for the past two decades, it hasn't been a job at all for state Senators and Representatives in Mississippi. In 2002 and late last year, a federal court redrew the state's Congressional boundaries to adjust for shifts in population after the Legislature deadlocked. This cycle's redraw did little to change the political bent of any of the Magnolia State's four districts, and no incumbent faces a real challenge to re-election. The filing deadline was Jan. 13, so the field in all the races is set.
"All four incumbents in Mississippi are safe," said a Republican strategist familiar with the state. "There's going to be some [changes] that will have a bearing on a small level, subdistrict level. But when you step away and look at it — Palazzo, Harper, Nunnelee, Thompson — all safe."
Incumbent: Alan Nunnelee
1st term (55 percent)
Rating: Safe Republican
If there is one federal candidate in Mississippi who is going to have to work a little bit this cycle, it's Nunnelee — but the freshman Member shouldn't break a sweat.
In his northeastern district, he faces two opponents in the primary, the credible one being frequent candidate and former Eupora Mayor Henry Ross. Yet Nunnelee beat Ross by 19 points in the 2010 primary, and there's no indication that Ross, even slamming some of Nunnelee's votes, will do any better this time around.
In the general election, Nunnelee will face Brad Morris, who served as chief of staff to former Rep. Travis Childers (D) from 2008 to 2010. Childers was walloped by Nunnelee last cycle, but Morris believes he has a shot at the seat.
"We won this race in 2008 with Travis Childers in a national election with the president at the top," he said. "I have a network of people in every county in this district. I have a base of donors that I can go to for support, and we know how to run an election," he said in an interview.
Still, the district is strongly Republican — under the tweaked lines, it would have voted 62.4 percent for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008 — and Morris will have an extremely tough time hacking out a victory in this very conservative state.
Incumbent: Bennie Thompson
9th full term (62 percent)
Rating: Safe Democratic
In a staunch Democratic district with a black voting-age population of 61 percent, Thompson should cruise to another term. He faces Greenville Mayor Heather McTeer, but politicos in the state don't expect much of a race. The Jackson-anchored 2nd runs from Tunica County in the north, near the Tennessee border, all the way to Jefferson County in the south.