A competitive race in Mississippi
In a strongly Republican state, the Mississippi governor’s race pits Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican who has been endorsed by the outgoing Republican governor, against Attorney General Jim Hood, an anti-abortion, pro-gun Democrat.
The race has been competitive, but Mississippi is an uphill climb for any Democrat.
Mr. Hood will need strong turnout from black voters and will be closely watching turnout and returns in the state capital, Jackson, which is predominantly black, as well as other urban areas and the Mississippi Delta region.
Mr. Reeves, who won the Republican nomination after a runoff, will be looking to bring dissenting Republicans into his fold. His supporters will likely be keeping an eye on the Jackson suburbs, particularly the vote-rich Republican redoubt of Rankin County, for signs of defections to Mr. Hood, who has trumpeted his good-old-boy bona fides (truck, dog, guns) in his TV ads.
If the race is close, a Jim Crow-era provision of the Constitution expressly devised to limit black political power may come into play. It mandates that candidates for state-level office must win not only a majority of the popular vote, but also a majority of the 122 state House districts. If that does not happen, the winner will be picked by the state House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans.
Few issues at the polls, so far
Election Day began smoothly for the most part, with scattered reports of problems at polling places but no evidence of any systemic disruption of voting. Some polls opened late in Texas, and in Pennsylvania, where voting machines are particularly antiquated, some breakdowns were reported, according to poll monitors and callers to a hotline run by Election Protection, a consortium of groups promoting voting rights. Pennsylvanians at polls with broken machines cast their votes on paper ballots.
In Revere, near Philadelphia, a Democratic candidate for mayor complained online that his supporters were being challenged as they sought to vote, but the report could not be immediately verified.
In North Carolina, a state website that helps voters find their polling place was briefly out of commission at midmorning. And in Richmond, Va., one precinct was reported to have run out of ballots by 8 a.m.