Dixie House seats: Dems outraising GOP

Dixie House seats: Dems outraising GOP

By Hastings Wyman –   The 1st Quarter fundraising reports are now completed and these early indications of the two parties’ prospects in November 2020 indicate that vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the South are doing a better job of bringing in contributions than Republicans in the same position. There are 12 Southern Democratic incumbents, ten of whom are freshmen, who have been targeted for defeat by the National Republican Congressional Committee. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has not reported any 1st Quarter totals for US Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D) of Texas’ 7th District. The average ending cash-on-hand reported for the eleven other vulnerable Democrats is $525,000. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has not released its US House targets for next year, but there are nine Southern Republicans who were elected in 2018 with less than 55% of the vote, a traditional measure for vulnerability in the next election. One of these, US Rep. Rob Woodall (R) of Georgia’s 7th District, is not running for reelection next year. The average cash-on-hand for the remaining eight is $344,000. The difference gives the at-risk Democrats on average a $181,000 advantage in the financial horse race. As some wag once said, “Money isn’t everything, but it’s way ahead of whatever is in second place.” That’s not totally true in politics, but a candidate must have enough to get his or her message out, and the candidate with the most money certainly has an advantage. The reason for this discrepancy isn’t clear. Certainly President Trump’s campaign is hoovering up a lot of money, but his total is less than that of all of the...
Dixie’s U.S. Senate Races Next Year: Part Two

Dixie’s U.S. Senate Races Next Year: Part Two

  In this second installment of an SPR focus on next year’s US Senate races in the South, the spotlights are on North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. These and other contests in the South could be crucial to either party’s control of the Senate: The Democrats need just four more Senate seats to have a majority. North Carolina: US Sen. Thom Tillis (R) has been a regular supporter of President Trump’s agenda but sensing this usually too-close-to-call state may want a shift of focus, Tillis “is trying to ease toward the center,” says Ferrel Guillory, founder of the University of North Carolina’s Program on Public Life. Tillis recently published an op-ed opposing the President’s assertion of emergency powers in the border controversy. Tillis’s announced opponents include state Sen. Erica Smith (D), who hails from a black-majority rural district, and Mecklenburg County commissioner Trevor Fuller (D). Tax Attorney Eva Lee of Raleigh announced in 2017 but has made no moves toward an active campaign. “The Democratic race is still formless,” says Guillory. Tillis, a former state House Speaker, should have solid Republican support. Depending on the national mood, Tillis should be reelected. Oklahoma: US Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) entered the Senate in 1994 and chairs the influential Senate Armed Services Committee. “He will be virtually unbeatable if he decides to seek reelection,” says political consultant Chad Alexander, a former chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party. Inhofe has solid support among the state’s Republican voters, who are in sync with President Trump. “They’re not going to vote Democratic, especially in this national environment,” says Alexander. South Carolina:...
The South’s 2020 US Senate races

The South’s 2020 US Senate races

    The 2020 election will be dominated by the presidential contest. But much more is at stake, including control of the US Senate, which will be vital to either party, no matter who is president. Democrats need to pick up four seats in the Senate to win control. In the South, where President Trump is a political force to be reckoned with, the quick picture is that Republicans should defeat one Democratic incumbent, US Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama. Perhaps the other vulnerable incumbent is Republican US Sen, David Perdue in Georgia, especially if he is challenged by former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams. This analysis of the outlook for the 12 US Senate contests on next year’s ballots in the South. In this article, the current status of upcoming Senate elections in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi are examined. In a later article, this story concludes with snapshots of 2020 US Senate elections in North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Alabama: Freshman Democratic US Sen. Doug Jones is arguably the most vulnerable incumbent in the Senate. Jones won a narrow 1.6% victory in a 2017 special election, defeating Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, who faced allegations of past inappropriate relations with teenage girls as an adult. Only one Republican has announced, US Rep. Bradley Byrne, who criticized Jones for his vote against confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. State Senate President Del Marsh (R) says he’s considering running. Others (R) getting mentioned include US Reps. Gary Palmer, Robert Aderholt and Mo Brooks. The Republican nominee will be helped immensely by...
A Divided Dixie

A Divided Dixie

  By Hastings Wyman –   It is no longer the Solid South, for either party. Southern voters kept Republican US Senate seats in GOP hands and, assuming Rick Scott’s (R) lead holds in Florida, defeated a long-time incumbent, US Sen. Bill Nelson (D), though Nelson may seek a recount. The GOP also turned back major gubernatorial challenges, defeating two African-American Democrats for governor in both Florida and – at this writing – Georgia. Moreover, a stronger than usual Democratic effort in Oklahoma by former state Attorney General Drew Edmondson failed to overthrow the Republicans’ hammerlock on the governorship; businessman Walter Stitt (R), a political outsider, prevailed. Other Southern governorships, as expected stayed under Republican control. But beyond that rosy Republican picture in the South’s statewide races, serious weaknesses in the GOP’s majority status were revealed in yesterday’s returns. In Florida, elections are always close, so the victory of Ron DeSantis (R) over Sam Gillum (D) by one percentage point, while unexpected, was hardly historic. But in Texas, US Sen. Ted Cruz (R), a shoo-in by most pre-election accounts, narrowly kept his seat, defeating the personable Beto O’Rourke (D) by 51% to 48%, suggesting that the Lone Star State is more Purple than Red, and will be more seriously contested by Democrats in the future. Similarly, in Georgia, as this is written. Stacey Abrams (D), an African-American woman, came close to defeating the hard-right campaign of Brian Kemp (R), the kind of result unimaginable in this Deep South state only a few years ago. Democrats can also be expected to stay in the hunt in the Peach State in...
US House: Money, polls favor Democrats

US House: Money, polls favor Democrats

By Hastings Wyman – It’s not over till it’s over, especially in this volatile age. But based on the financial reports in US House races in the South, and many polls from reputable pollsters, it is difficult not to see a very good night for the Democrats. While the generic outlook for the GOP and President Trump’s approval rating have improved over the past several weeks, the money and recent polling data in race after race, even in the conservative South, suggest a good night for the Resisters on Nov. 6. One example of the Democratic advantage can be seen in fundraising. The total cash-on-hand for Republican candidates in the six open districts (R) comes to $2,326,000; the Democratic total in the same districts was $4,685,000. Similarly, the cash-on-hand for Republican incumbents totaled $15,191,000, almost matched by the Democratic challengers’ total of $14,339,000. Of course, more money has been raised and spent in October. Nevertheless, the Democratic financial advantage is clear. Included in the chart below are money numbers from the Federal Election Commission. The 3rd Quarter numbers include all of the funds raised in this election cycle, through September 30. Incumbents are marked with an asterisk. Polling data is from Real Clear Politics (RCP). All of these seats are currently held by Republicans, except Florida 7. District/candidates                                3rd Quarter                 Cash-on-hand   AR 2 French Hill/R*                                      $2,550,000                   $1,464,000 Clarke Tucker/D                                     1,671,000                        230,000 52R; 40D (Talk Business; Hendrix)   FL 6/OPEN Michael Waltz/R                                       $1,032,000                   $465,000 Nancy Soderberg/D                                     1,980,000                    523,000 NO POLLS   FL 7 Stephanie Murphy/D*                               $2,958,000              $1,151,000 Mike Miller/R                                                542,000                     380,000 47D; 46R (St....