I'm hearing all sorts of things from inside of camps on all sides. I'm going to post statewide and countywide predictions in Part 1, Senate predictions in Part 2, and House predictions in Part 3. Here's what I'm deciphering in statewide and county races:
In the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Johnny DuPree appears to be edging out Bill Luckett, but I expect it to be pretty tight.
On the Republican side, Phil Bryant is going to do well, and will get close to the 50% +1 he'll need to avoid a runoff. Dave Dennis will likely be in the runoff with Bryant. How that runoff plays out is still a very open question.
The Republican race is the entire race, thanks to a big Democratic name backing out at the last minute before the qualifying deadline. The battle between Tate Reeves and Billy Hewes has gotten very nasty, and I believe that's because internal polls from both camps show this thing being "tighter than Dick's hatband," to quote an old saying. I believe Reeves will pull this out, but the repeated predictions of a blowout are no longer any good.
We know the Democrat in the race is Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran. The other side comes down to Lucien Smith, Lee Yancey, and Lynn Fitch. This one is headed for a runoff. I can't predict much other than I believe Smith will be in the runoff with one of the other two. Fitch's Mike Huckabee ad may be the bump she needs to get in.
The Republican primary between Republicans Max Phillips, Cindy Hyde-Smith, and Dannie Reed has been somewhat under the radar. Max Phillips has done a pretty good job getting his name out there, as has Hyde-Smith. I think they'll be in a runoff.
Hinds County Sheriff
The Democratic primary race between incumbent Sheriff Malcolm McMillin and Tyrone Lewis is one the Lewis camp has tried to make about race. I don't think it's worked. McMillin's one of the more popular elected officials around. In fact, when he looked at making a run for statewide office this year, folks didn't exactly discount his chances. People like that don't lose their primaries. Unless, of course, there's a mass exodus in Hinds County to the Republican primary.
Hinds County Circuit Clerk
Barbara Dunn is being challenged by Vicki Mumford and Antonio Porter in the Democratic primary. Also one of the most popular elected officials around, Barbara Dunn ain't going anywhere. (Of course, with the caveat that increased participation in the Republican primary in Hinds County could hurt Dunn.)
Madison County Sheriff
This is the toughest one to predict, in my book. The race between Brad Harbour, Randy Tucker, Jimmy Houston and the guy trashing Hinds County has been quite lively. I'm predicting Tucker and Houston in a runoff.