Sabato's Crystal Ball

Mississippi (04) House 2010

Crystal Ball Outlook: Leans D

Democratic candidate: Gene Taylor, Incumbent

Republican candidate: Steven Palazzo, state Representative

Recent Updates from the Crystal Ball

October 5th, 2010

Democrat Gene Taylor hails from a two-thirds Republican district, but as a ten-term incumbent, this was not one of the first places the GOP looked for a pick-up. As such, the race has been slow to develop, but now it appears to be a competitive contest with state legislator Steven Palazzo mounting a credible challenge. Both candidates are now on the air and Palazzo’s internal poll showing him within the margin of error against Taylor will likely lead to increased attention from national donors and organizations. The Crystal Ball changes our rating from Safe D to Likely D.

Background:

Leading by up to ten points in both Republican and Democratic polls, Democratic incumbent Gene Taylor is seeking reelection for the twelfth time. This long-tenured politician is a conservative Democrat and member of the Blue Dog Coalition in the House. Putting up no votes to Barack Obama’s major pieces of legislation (the healthcare plan, the stimulus plan and TARP), Taylor has a strong chance to retain his seat especially if he campaigns on his votes.

This district was especially hurt by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and is still trying to recover, however, Republican contender Steven Palazzo hopes to change that. Though Palazzo has significantly less money, name recognition, and does not have the power of the incumbency on his side, he has mounted a significant campaign. Nevertheless, Gene Taylor has been in Congress long enough to know how to battle and win tough elections. This race is Likely Democrat.