Around the South for October 23rd: TN, MS, & SC

Tennessee: Early voting numbers sky high.  The first returns from early voting in Tennessee show turnout only a bit off the pace set during the 2016 presidential election.  Other southern states such as Georgia have reported similarly high numbers, but pundits are not yet sure if that means a ‘blue wave’ is forming or if the GOP base is motivated to get out the vote.  Mississippi: Dem reports highest fundraising total.  Democrat Mike Espy, one of the three main candidates gunning for the state’s U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R), has reported the highest fundraising total in the race in the 3rd quarter of 2018.  Hyde-Smith and Republican firebrand Chris McDaniel could be cannibalizing one another’s support as the ‘jungle primary’ race heads toward election day.  South Carolina: Dem candidate for school superintendent drops out.  Just weeks before election day, Democrat Israel Romero has dropped out of the race for state school superintendent after it was found he spent time in prison for a felony in 2008.  That charge, for unauthorized practice of law, would render him unable to serve if elected.  Michele Phillips, a sixth-grade teacher at Orange Grove Charter School in Charleston has launched a write-in campaign, but it would appear that Republican Molly Spearman will win a second term with relative ease.