The Campaign Spot

Majority Whip Jim Clyburn Will Face a Republican This Year After All

A few days before the filing deadline, it appeared no Republican was going to take on Rep. Jim Clyburn (D., S.C.), the House majority whip. Yes, this is a D+12 district and Clyburn has never gotten less than 64 percent of the vote, but you can’t beat somebody with nobody. However, at the last minute, not one, not two, but three Republicans threw their hats into the ring:

A first-time office seeker from Orangeburg has announced his candidacy for U.S. Congress representing the Sixth District of South Carolina.
Florida native Jim Pratt is one of three GOP candidates vying for the seat currently held by U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn. Pratt will face Nancy Harrelson and Colleen Payne in the state’s June 8 Republican primary. The manager of a Lexington-based outdoor advertising company, Pratt says he decided to run after “prayerful consideration” and receiving support from business owners.
“I’ve been in Orangeburg since 2006 and I’ve been politically active since I arrived,” Pratt said. “I deal with a lot of owners about their marketing issues and the topic of politics invariably comes up.

I would argue that good, healthy parties contest as many seats as possible, even in districts that have been tough in recent cycles. For starters, you never know when the opposing incumbent will suddenly be caught in some horrible scandal or make some unexpected gaffe. Second, even a losing campaign can build name recognition, skills, a donor base, and supporters (ask John Thune); this is part of how a party develops “bench strength.” Third, demographics within districts change, and after redistricting, the borders for each seat change as well; seats that look absolutely unwinnable now might not look that way in two years or four years.

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