Eliot Peace

Momentum building in South Carolina's 5th District

Countless pundits across the country have noted the anti-Republican sentiment among voters heading into the 2006 midterm elections. As the party controlling the government, of course Republicans would feel the majority of the wrath parceled out by disaffected citizens. Lost among a drive-by media (as Rush calls it) gleeful for Republican doom, is a more simple fact: voters are fed up with Congress, not just the Republican Party. Twenty-two percent of voters now approve of the job Congress is doing. That frightening figure means that one fifth of the voting population is paying no attention whatsoever to the pathetic job Congress as a whole is doing. Who are those 22%?

At any rate, lost among the shuffle are several congressional races in which Republicans can protect their majority by picking off vulnerable Democrats. Some of the losses across the country could be balanced by a handful of wins against Democratic incumbents, especially in Southern states.

The SC-5th is one of them. Ralph Norman, the state representative challenging incumbent John Spratt, is sensing some serious momentum. As summer approaches, sources close to the campaign detect some serious confidence. Norman recently commented to a friend, "I’m going to win."

Townhall.com visited the 5th District last week and witnessed the evidence causing Norman’s confidence. His name recognition among potential voters has risen virtually to the level of Spratt, the incumbent. Therefore, when Norman goes on the air later this year in the expensive Charlotte, North Carolina media market, his job will not be building name recognition; instead, he will be convincing voters he is the better choice.

The vote-rich suburbs of Charlotte hold the key to a Norman victory. Populated heavily with Republicans, Norman needs to dominate that area of the district to offset potential losses among the more rural counties. Just driving through the area substantiates the idea that Norman could pull off a victory. The Charlotte suburbs are booming; which, in political terms, means they are changing. Changing demographics are never good for incumbents. There are no loyalties to Spratt’s 20-plus years of service — not to mention that most of the new voters in the last few years trend Republican.

Eliot Peace

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