Desoto County: Is It Becoming Less Red?
The Desoto Times had a story about MS-01 today and the impact their county will have on the overall race. They speak with Mississippi politics go-to-guy Marty Wiseman about the county and the race in general. Without getting into much of the article, Wiseman made a comment that peaked my interest.
“I’ve seen a little sign here and there that there is starting to be some balance in the county,” Wiseman said. “DeSoto County is still very, very Republican but there are indications it will not always be as Republican as it is.”
Wiseman said the increasing number of black voters in the county, coupled with progressives moving into the county from metropolitan areas in Memphis, could change the future dynamic of the county’s voting patterns.
That change has already begun to take shape, Wiseman said.
“There are a lot of people who go to church on Sunday or stand around the water cooler and call themselves a Republican, but really, deep down, they are not married to a party.”
I don’t necessarily disagree with Wisemann. We are currently seeing that in suburbs across the country so this would just be part of a national trend. But I did do some digging for some historical perspectives on how the county has voted.
In 2008, John McCain carried the county winning 69 percent of the vote (about 44,000 votes) to Barack Obama’s 31 percent (or more than 19,000 votes). McCain carried the state with 56 percent overall. Earlier that spring in the MS-01 special election, Southaven Mayor Greg Davis won the county with 75 percent of the vote (or over 15,000 votes) compared to 25 percent for Travis Childers (about 5000 votes).
Four years earlier, George W. Bush won the county picking up 72 percent of the vote (or around 36,000 votes) to John Kerry’s 27 percent (or 13,000 votes). At the same time, Bush carried the state with 59 percent of the vote. So over four years, Obama picked up three percent of the vote in the county, but he also did that in the state overall.
Going back a little further, Bush won the county in 2000 with 71 percent of the vote (or about 25,000 votes) compared to Al Gore’s 27 percent (about 9500 votes). That year, Bush carried the state with 57.5 percent overall. Once again, the trend of the county mirrors the state. Bush had a +1 percent increase in the state from 200 to 2004 and +1.5 percent in the county.
And if you want to go back even further, just for fun, here are the 1996 results: Bob Dole won the county with 54 percent of the vote (or 18,000 votes) to Bill Clinton’s 30 percent (or 10,000 votes). Third party candidates enjoyed 16 percent of the vote (about 5,000 votes). Dole won the state 49-44.
If will be tough to compare the turnout and results of 2010 to previous presidential years. I would wait until 2012 and see which way the county goes before any predictions are made about which way it is headed.