First of all, some reflections on the primary. There were a few surprises, but not a surprising number of surprises. Rob Smith’s success in the Democratic SOS primary was somewhat of a surprise to me, as was Mike Sumrall and Greg Brand’s performances for State Auditor on the D side. Most of the big races performed as expected.
The Dale/Anderson race could have gone a point or two either way. Anderson wound up with 50+1, so George Dale will take it to the house. It will be very interesting to see how Dale repays the favor of the Ike Brown wing of the Democratic Party costing him the election. Their shot started the volley that broke rank and file Democrats loose from Dale. The trial lobby were just the ones that went in for the kill after the blood was already in the water. Dale could endorse Chaney (as retribution), Anderson (as a good soldier) or just go home. It will be interesting to see what he does.
Apparently the Democratic Party has a really awful memory. Today, they put out a press release extolling the imminent demise of Haley Barbour. Let’s look at the numbers.
In 2003, Musgrove, a sitting governor got 392K votes in a contested Democratic Primary. Haley Barbour in that same primary on the Republican side got 158K votes. However, in the general, Haley got 470K votes and Musgrove got only 409K. And Musgrove was a sitting, populist Governor who is one of the hardest working campaigners this state has ever seen.
Last night, Eaves got only 285K votes. Barbour got 170K votes (12K more than in the 2003 primary).
The bottom line is that MANY MANY self-identified Democrats will vote Republican in November. Almost zero self-identified Republicans will vote Democrat. It looks better for Haley now than it did in 2003. I am still predicting high 50s, even if Eaves spends every nickel he’s ever made.
THE “KATRINA EFFECT”
Supporter of John Arthur Eaves and Gary Anderson are attempting to promote “the Katrina Effect”. Let’s look at those numbers.
Theoretically, you would think that the hardest hit counties (Harrison, Hancock and Jackson) would be the toughest on the Barbour administration if there was a Katrina related backlash, right? In raw numbers, those three counties voted 28,636 combined for Barbour and only 8,167 for Eaves. And Eaves had 115K more votes statwide than did Barbour. There is NO KATRINA backlash against Republicans. The coast came out HUGE for Governor Barbour in both absolute and relative numbers.
Can Anderson Win?
Let’s look at Anderson’s Insurance Commissioner contest. Almost the identical dynamics of 2003 are setting up for him at this point. He has won his primary (it took a runoff against Rob Smith to do it in 2003). He carried almost every vote that Musgrove did in 2003 (403K votes for Anderson vs. 409K for Musgrove) and still got beat in an open race. Unless Dale really gets behind and actively pushes Anderson, which he has absolutely no reason to do, Rural Democrats will likely not be there in numbers enough to win. If you assume that Eaves will be 10-13 points below Barbour, then you are saying that Anderson will have to outperform Eaves in vote total, and I just don’t see how that happens.
Morals of the Story
I think a real lesson I learned from Primary Night 2007 was that Democrats can get votes without necessarily having money, but Republicans cannot. I suppose that Republicans see fundraising success as a sign of legitimacy. The only wrong bets I made, were solved with this axiom.
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