Georgia Unfiltered

Search This Site

10 September 2010

Hotline On Call: Sanford Bishop May Wake Up A Surprise Loser Nov. 2nd

Coming on the same day that Peach Pundit brought news that Georgia's 2nd congressional district was moved from "likely Democratic" to "leans Democratic" by the Cook Political Report, Hotline On Call says incumbent Sanford Bishop is one of five Democrats who might lose -- but don't know it."

If ever turnout has mattered for an incumbent, it's for Bishop, the nine-term incumbent from Southwest Georgia. Bishop's district has barely more black voters (47.5 percent) than whites (47.3 percent), and those white voters tend to vote Republican on the federal level; Bush beat John Kerry in the district by about 850 votes in 2004.

In a wave election, Bishop needs a big African-American turnout to bolster his chances, while Republicans need to peel off just 5 to 10 percent of black voters to be competitive. One party strategist previewed the GOP's line of attack: Mail negative pieces about Bishop's votes for cap-and-trade and health care to white voters while bombarding the airwaves with allegations of scandal, aimed more at turning black voters to state Rep. Mike Keown (R).

If Republicans pulled off the upset and beat Bishop, it would be the only plurality-black district the party would hold. An internal Keown poll pegged him just 6 points behind, 50-44 percent. It's not a likely pickup for the GOP, but with a motivated white base and a depressed African-American base on the other side, Keown isn't completely tilting at windmills.

Wilson, Reid (2010-9-9). Five Dems Who Might Lose -- But Don't Know It. Hotline On Call. Retrieved on 2010-9-10.

Sanford Bishop has held his seat in Congress for all these years in part because he's always portrayed himself as someone who stood up for the 2nd district first.

However, in the past 18 months, Bishop has become inextricably linked to the liberal national Democratic Party.

Bishop's vote for ObamaCare, along with the cash contributions to his campaign by embattled New York Congressman Charlie Rangel, is painting a picture that the Albany Democrat has lost touch with his southwest Georgia district. That picture isn't helped by a high-ranking member of Nancy Pelosi's leadership team campaigning for Bishop either [Seward, Chris (2010-9-3). Clyburn stumps for Sanford Bishop, urging black students to go to the polls. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved on 2010-9-10.].

Bishop is a member of the conservative, Blue Dog Democrat coalition. If Bishop is to win, he must reassert his conservative credentials. If Bishop is successfully tagged with the liberal label though, it's six in one hand, half a dozen in the other on whether he survives this challenge from Republican Mike Keown.