What Kind of Numbers Will We See in the GOP Primaries in 2011?
In many counties throughout the state, if you want a say in local politics you need to vote in the Democrat primary. Without Republican challengers, the race is often decided in August. I talked about the possibility of that trend changing- starting with Simpson County- when we saw a number of local politicans change party affiliation and join the GOP.
Brian Perry looked at those numbers in his column this week:
In 1991, when the Vicksburg contractor Kirk Fordice beat Democrat turned Republican State Auditor Pete Johnson, Republicans accounted for 8 percent of all votes cast in the gubernatorial primary; 92 percent of the votes were cast in the Democratic Primary.
The following four elections showed a steady primary shift to the GOP statewide. Democrats saw a twenty point share drop from 1991 to 2007; two years ago Democrats had 69.3 percent of primary votes to the Republican 30.7 percent. In 1991, fewer than 64,000 votes picked the Republican nominee for governor who went on to win in the general election. In 2007, nearly 200,000 voters endorsed the unopposed incumbent Haley Barbour in his reelection primary.
If local elected officials continue to make the switch in the coming two years, and Republicans have a contested statewide primary for governor and lieutenant governor, expect that trend to continue.