Will Mississippi mudslinging topple first Senate incumbent?

Mississippi Republicans say that while the scandal appears to have increased interest in the race, it’s hard to tell who will ultimately benefit from it.

“I think it’s increased the intensity, at least from the anecdotal evidence I’ve seen on the ground, of supporters on both sides,” Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef told The Hill last week.

And multiple polls over the few days have confirmed the race is a dead heat.

Even if they don’t get t the win on Tuesday night, the persistent closeness of the race, despite McDaniel’s gaffes and error-prone campaign, is a testament to the Tea Party’s appeal in the deep South and to the intensity of the conservative, anti-incumbent sentiment in Mississippi.

But it’s also thanks to Cochran’s own rusty campaign, which got a late start in fundraising and messaging after he unexpectedly announced plans to run for reelection.