Tuesday is the big day: the Republican runoff election. Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel face off in a second election that has caught national attention. Weeks’ worth of campaigning and hitting the streets has come down to this day. Voters have really tuned in to the significance of the runoff.
Polling officials say the turnout for this election has been greater than the primaries, which took place just six weeks ago. All day, poll workers have told News 25 voter turnout is high. After millions of dollars spent on mudslinging for the primaries, only about 10% of eligible voters cast a ballot, but with the runoff election so focused on Cochran and McDaniel, young and old have come out to vote.
Quentin Bremenkamp, a Gulfport resident, says, "It’s my civic duty as an American citizen to come out and vote." Patsy Cloutier, a Gulfport resident, says, "I think it’s my duty to come out and vote for who I think is going to the best job.” Rack Cloutier, another Gulfport resident, says, “Well I came out ‘cause I got 40 phone calls, but I do want to vote for the person I'm for." All three of these voters came out for the Republican primaries June 3rd, and wanted to come out again Tuesday to exercise their right. According to the Harrison County Republican Party, more voters have been exercising that right during this election than during the primary.
Al Hopkins, Harrison County Republican Party President, says, "It’s a little better than we thought, it’s going very well. I got one readout from most of the polling places and it was more votes than last voting time, so we're encouraged by it." Some voters were unsuccessful casting their ballot because of photo ID and eligibility rules. If a resident voted in the Democratic primaries June 3rd, he/she is not eligible to vote Tuesday.
One poll worker News 25 spoke to said this runoff election rule confused some voters. Dalton Campbell, Orange Grove Elementary School Precinct Bailiff, says, "We probably had about a dozen, they just didn't understand that they couldn't vote again in the Republican and most of them said they will be voting in the general election." Tuesday's winner will face Travis Childers in the November general election.