Tad Campbell To Challenge Terry Burton
We have just received word that Rep. Tad Campbell (R-Meridian), who opted against re-election in the House, had decided to make a Senate bid against Sen. Terry Burton (R-Newton). Burton has taken a high-profile role in the redistricting wars, and has irritated a number of conservatives first with his desire to collapse a Republican district in favor of a majority-black district along with his support of the House Democrats restricting plan.
As for this district, Burton has held the seat since 1992. Campbell served just one term in the House, but geography is in play here. Based on 2002 numbers, Lauderdale precincts made up about 32 percent of the district (18,000 residents). All of Newton is in the district, and their 22,000 residents made up about 39 percent of the district. The remaining live in Scott county. So Newton plus Scott make up two-thirds of the residents, but this is a GOP primary we are talking about. Newton county, home base of Burton, simply doesn’t vote in the GOP primary. Democratic gubernatorial candidates got around 5,000 votes in 2007 while less than 800 votes were made on the GOP side. But it’s a different story with Campbell’s home base of Lauderdale. In 2007, 11,500 votes were cast for Republican gubernatorial candidates versus about 4,500 for Democratic gubernatorial candidates. (Those numbers were based on all of Lauderdale which is why the numbers were that high).
The GOP will stay out of this and it is certainly too early to tell what type of role individual Republicans members of the House or Senate may play in this, but it looks like Burton is in for a fight. If Campbell can get the votes in Lauderdale, Burton is going to need to figure out some way to get voters in the Newton to vote in the GOP primary.