3rd District runoff: What to look for in the next 12 days…

In the 3rd Congressional District runoff election, first primary frontrunner Charlie Ross faces the dubious task of trying to hold his lead with reduced turnout and to pick up the support of his vanquished opponents. He faces that task with Republicans loyal to Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant now actively working against him — still stinging from the Bryant-Ross GOP primary in 2007. Many of David Landrum’s supporters blame Ross, rightly or wrongly, for their candidate’s problems in the first primary.Bryant attended Harper’s Tuesday night $500 a person reception in downtown Jackson at the Electric Building.On the up side, Ross has the support of the Club For Growth. On the down side, CFG has a reputation for negative campaigning. Going negative is a highly risky strategy for Ross on several levels. While Ross will pick up the tort reform crowd in the runoff from other candidates, his appeal to other groups is limited.Gregg Harper will get the vast majority of evangelical Republican support. Supporters of David Landrum are far more likely to gravitate to Harper than to Ross. Harper has the superior ground game in Rankin County and as he showed in the first primary, in the rural areas of the district. Lauderdale County is vital in this matchup for Ross. A lower turnout is likely to favor Harper, who knows how to get his folks to the polls.Advantage? I think Harper is well-positioned to win this GOP runoff. He kept his campaign clean, worked his ground game and raised just enough money to stay on television. As evidenced by last night’s reception, Harper’s finding it easier to raise money in the second primary.

Sid Salter Blog
Clarion Ledger
3/19/8