The AGs Race, And The Suburban Vote
Four years ago, Jim Hood won re-election by about 145,000 votes over Al Hopkins, his Republican challenger. Needless to say, Hood starts out a heavy favorite as the general elections get rolling post-primary. Hood has remained popular over his two terms, and has been able to win or perform well in areas that are generally out of reach for anyone with a D next to their name.
Can Steve Simpson bring those traditional Republican voters back into the fold? I don’t know, but here is a look at how Hopkins performed compared to Haley Barbour in big GOP counties four years ago. (The difference is the number of more votes won by Barbour in these counties).
More than likely 370,000 votes will win this election. Primary voting was generally on par with numbers from four years ago and I wouldn’t expect much to change in November. This basically means that Simpson will need to improve on Hopkins’ total by about 75,000 votes. In the 13 largest Republican counties, Hopkins underperformed Haley Barbour by more than 58,000 votes (or more than 75 percent of the vote Simpson needs to pick up to win).
Essentially, the first task should be to spot and target these suburban voters, and that could begin in Simpsons’ home base on the Coast. Hopkins was also from the Coast, and underperformed greatly in Harrison and Jackson, along with Hancock. There were some rumblings how voters in other areas of the state don’t like to vote for Coast candidates following last weeks primary, but in this case they didn’t vote for their own. That obviously would need to change.
Desoto was really the only county on here where Hopkins was as strong as a Republican needs to be, winning 69 percent. But 50 percent in Madison or 56 percent in Rankin isn’t going to cut it. Republicans need to be at 60 and 70 percent in those two counties.
On the surface, I could see how this makes it seem like Simpsons’ task isn’t that tall; however there is a reason these Republicans have been voting for Hood. Simpson needs to give them a reason to vote Republican.