Republican Senators Under The 2002 Lines
As we noted on Monday, several Republican Senators are sitting in districts that have a BVAP that is at or near a level that makes it difficult for a Republican to win as drawn under the old lines. Last week, I had a look at the proposed Burton map and how it affected Republican Senators. You can check it out here, but I wanted to take another look at the playing field as we know we are running under the 2002 maps.
Using 2010 Census estimates, I see two Republicans in a district that has a BVAP of 45 percent plus: Buck Clarke (SD 22) and Briggs Hopson (SD 23). These Republicans are in the 40-45 percent range: Nolan Mettetal (SD 10) and Lydia Chassaniol (SD 14). And I see four Republicans in the 35-40 range: Terry Brown (SD 17), Videt Carmichael (SD 33), Joey Fillingane (SD 41), and Ezell Lee (SD 47).
All of these districts would have been better under the Burton for the incumbents, but a few other factors are also in play. Number one, as of Monday, Clarke was the only Republican on here with a challenger. Two weeks is plenty of time and perhaps the Democratic candidates were waiting for a ruling to move forward, but we are still getting close. Further, in some of these districts whites will just no longer vote Democratic. That is certainly the direction we are headed across-the-board. Obviously slower in certain parts of the state and in certain elections.
Under the Burton map, there was the much talked about majority-minority Pine Belt area seat at the expense of a Republican held seat. That obviously isn’t the case anymore, and Tom King’s seat (SD 44) should be fine for the GOP to hold. Fillingane’s seat has the highest BVAP in the area at about 38 percent.
The SD 14 vs. SD 8 battle would have likely favored Chassanoil because Jack Gordon had passed away and she would have been the only incumbent in the race. But the old SD 8 remains as an open seat, and at about 42 percent black Democrats ought to be able to do well in it.
The other race matching two incumbents was the SD 46 vs. SD 47 battle featuring Ezell Lee with David Baria. Even before the judicial ruling, Baria made the decision to run for an open House seat. Lee’s district has changed much in 10 years, in fact the BVAP has even gone down slightly, but he won as a Democrat in the past.
As for Baria’s open seat, it is one Republicans should be favored.