The Campaign Spot

This Cycle’s Most Vulnerable Longtime House Democrat: John Spratt?

I chatted with a Washington Republican who’s watching the House races closely, and asked whether there were any signs of old-guard House Democrats from deeply conservative, deeply Republican districts getting knocked off this cycle — incumbents like Chet Edwards in Texas, Gene Taylor in Mississippi, Dan Boren in Oklahoma.

He said that all three could be considered potentially beatable this year, but the one that jumped out most to him was 14-term incumbent John Spratt of South Carolina, who represents an R+7 district and who faces a strong challenge from Mick Mulvaney. The GOP challenger released an internal poll showing him trailing by only two percentage points.

“You saw the Democracy Corps poll which showed independents turning against the Democrats and their vote becoming more of a protest vote,

anti-Washington and anti-incumbent,” the Washington Republican said. “The question is, does that mature into an anti-Democrat vote? Is it regional? . . . Voter intensity is driven by voter anger. If it turns into, ‘I don’t care who is on the ballot, I’m going to send a message, this country is going in the wrong direction,’ then guys like Boren would be really in trouble. . . . If a guy like John Spratt goes down, don’t be surprised to see a lot of other Democrats go down, too.”

Then again, Spratt can always try to ride the coattails of Alvin Greene.


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