Those who say the GOP race is over may be wrapping up too soon, however. Although Phil Bryant has been a political fixture for almost 20 years, 41 percent of poll respondents had no opinion of him. Thirty-two percent of voters viewed Bryant favorably. While any other candidate in the race would gladly swap their numbers for Bryant’s, those numbers suggest that there is room for Republican Dave Dennis to gain ground.
The question for Dennis is whether the PPP numbers really hone in on the GOP base. I suspect that Bryant’s standing among the base is better than the electorate at large. Still, while Bryant is the front runner, and voters prefer any Republican to the Democrats, four months – four weeks – is an eternity in politics. Dennis will have the resources needed to at least match Bryant on name ID before it is over.
Bad as it is, Democrats are doing better in the governor’s race than in the race for lieutenant governor, where they could not even find a candidate. That fact alone is stunning. An open seat for arguably the most powerful state office, and the Democrats could not field even a placeholder.
By contrast, the Republicans found two solid contenders. Nowadays, when most elections come down to the lesser of two evils, voters will pick between two truly competent candidates. That is a nice change.