I managed to grab lunch at the Hilton Head First Monday Republican Lunch Group, a group I’ve addressed twice before, and probably will at some point in the coming months. The turnout today was easily double what I had seen in the past, with an overflow room. Some of the turnout might be because the five candidates for state education superintendent appeared, but the Hilton Head Republican Club president – a.k.a. “Dad” — tells me that turnout has steadily increased in the past year.
A few weeks back I noted a good 80 House races with either an open seat or a plausibly vulnerable Democrat incumbent. Hilton Head Island is Joe Wilson’s district, where Democrats continue to flush millions of dollars on a Democratic challenger who just picked up the endorsement of Larry Flynt. But there are three races on that list within a short drive: South Carolina incumbent John Spratt, and two Georgia Democrats who have hung on for many narrow wins – John Barrow and Jim Marshall.
Mick Mulvaney appears to be the most likely candidate to take on Spratt, and several folks at lunch said they would be volunteering for him.
Marshall’s district has a Cook Partisan Voting Index score of R+10, and he’s tried to protect himself by voting against cap-and-trade, S-CHIP expansion, and the health-care bill. But he did vote for the stimulus, and he hasn’t faced an environment like this.
Meanwhile, Barrow has a Democratic primary challenger hitting him from the left and five Republicans aiming to knock him off this year. Now Robert Stacy McCain offers this interesting tidbit about Barrow:
Some Georgia Republicans now believe that the Democrat may be contemplating a switch to the GOP, which would set up a divisive situation much like that in Alabama’s 5th District, where national Republican support for party-switcher Parker Griffith has enraged grassroots GOP activists.