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Thad Cochran

Analysis: Debates might aid voters, but candidates pass

If a debate in Mississippi's U.S. Senate race to fill out the unexpired term of the retired Thad Cochran had gone off as planned last Thursday at Millsaps College in Jackson, you might be reading more about the event in this space.

But the debate fell apart after appointed Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith said she wouldn't be there. Then top Democratic challenger and former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy said he wasn't coming if Hyde-Smith wasn't there. Pretty soon, Mississippi Public Broadcasting dropped plans to broadcast the event if only Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel and Democratic candidate Tobey Bernard Bartee were coming.

Meanwhile, in the state's...