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Campaign updates from across the South

By Hastings Wyman
Southern Political Report

October 13, 2010

Oklahoma: GOP wind sweeping down the plain 

The latest Sooner Poll showed Republican candidates winning every statewide race on this year’s ballot. In the contest for governor, Congresswoman Mary Fallin (R) has 54 percent, Lt. Gov. Jari Askins (D) 38 percent. In all the other state races, the Republican candidate is ahead: For the US Senate by 40 points! For lieutenant governor by 12 points. For attorney general, 20 points. For insurance commissioner, 6 points. For state treasurer, 14 points. Etc., etc. The closest race was for superintendent of education, where the Republican is ahead by only three points. 

South Carolina: Nikki Haley (R) takes more hits 

Although she is leading the Palmetto State’s governor’s race by 17 points in the latest Rasmussen poll, and by 5 points in a recent Democratic (Hamilton Campaigns) poll, state Rep. Nikki Haley (R), the conservative phenomenon that is the likely winner on November 2, continues to be the target for personal attacks and media revelations. One barrage might be called friendly fire; a conservative group headed by a former first vice chairwoman of the state GOP, has called on Haley to answer questions about her former company’s late tax payments, past jobs and accusations of marital infidelity – all old issues, but getting renewed publicity. In addition, news media have published reports that a former associate of convicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has been involved in Haley’s fundraising.  

Tennessee: Three hot congressional contests 

Tennessee 4 (Sewanee, etc.) Four-term US Rep. Lincoln Davis (D) is facing one of his most competitive reelection battles against conservative physician Scott DesJarlais (R). Davis’s most recent attack on DesJarlais was to repeat charges, made in divorce papers filed by the Republican’s ex-wife, that he engaged in “violent and threatening behavior,” including aiming a gun at the former Mrs. DesJarlais. DesJarlais points out that the court ruled the charges were without merit. He has also tried to blunt the attack with an ad featuring his current wife describing the charges as “flat-out lies.” In addition, his campaign’s attorneys are planning to sue Davis. The Davis campaign has not backed down. A GOP poll taken in late September showed Davis and DesJarlais each with 42 percent. Toss-up.                                   

Tennessee 6 (Murfreesboro, etc.) State Sen. Diane Black (R) has been aided in her bid to replace retiring US Rep. Bart Gordon (D) by revelations that the Democratic nominee, lawyer Brett Carter (D), moved into the district from nearby Nashville shortly after he filed for Congress. GOPer Black is favored in this district that John McCain carried with 62 percent in 2008. Likely Republican.  

Tennessee 8 (Jackson, etc.) State Sen. Roy Herron (D), 57, made much of a $250,000 loan his opponent, gospel singer and successful farmer Steve Fincher (R), 37, made to his campaign. Herron’s campaign attorneys even filed a request with the Federal Election Commission calling for an investigation of the loan. Meanwhile, for the 3rd Quarter reports, due by October 15, the Fincher campaign will report that it raised $850,000, with no personal funds from the candidate, borrowed or otherwise. In addition, the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee is putting some $700,000 in the race and Fincher has support from several conservative groups. He has also benefited from appearances by Hank Williams Jr. and pianist-cum-Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Herron was a very successful fundraiser in the first half of this year and is also expected to reveal a substantial war chest for the 3rd Quarter. Herron is also benefiting from the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, due to his pro-gun record in the Tennessee legislature, where he was the prime sponsor of the state’s Self-Defense Act allowing citizens to carry a gun to defend themselves and their families. Leans Republican. 

Virginia: Another district “in play”?  

An internal poll (R) taken in Virginia’s 8th District (Alexandria, etc.) shows ten-term US Rep. Jim Moran (D) with 45 percent to 32 percent for his Republican opponent, retired Army Col. Patrick Murray. Less than 50 percent is a weak sign for an incumbent, especially this one, deemed a shoo-in by most observers. However, it was a Republican poll.


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