GOP eyes on the 5th?

Rumors hint that 5th District Congressman John Spratt may get an appointment early in the Obama administration. Given his seniority in the House and his long-time service in the House Budget Committee, it's a no-brainer to see him get a lot of consideration for a slot such as OMB director. Since he's held the seat for since the early 1980s, and it would likely be a long time before he could climb higher than the chairmanship of Budget, it's easy to see him wanting to make a change.

Since 1994, the GOP has made several strong challenges to Spratt, most notably Larry Bigham, who got 48% in 1994 and 46% in 1996, and Ralph Norman, who got 44% in '06 in spite of running in a bad year for the GOP with a poorly-run campaign. Should Spratt vacate the seat, you can bet the GOP will do their best to take it. Towards that end, several GOP names come to mind as strong potential contenders:

  • Ronnie Cromer, State Senator from Prosperity - he easily replaced Lt. Governor Andre Bauer in '03 and has won two strong re-elections in his Newberry County-based district. This swing area will be a must-win area if running for the 5th.
  • Wes Hayes, State Senator from Rock Hill - he's well liked and respected by people on both sides of the political fence and securely anchored in York County, home to nearly half the district's residents.
  • Glenn McCall, RNC Committeeman - a rising star in Palmetto State politics, this Bank of America VP is also the popular chair of the York County GOP. His national connections would allow him to draw resources that would quickly bolster his candidacy.
  • Tommy Pope, former 16th Circuit Solicitor - a record as a no-nonsense prosecutor and charismatic oratorical style would play well with the district's rural white Democrats. Rumor has it that he's eyeing opportunities to re-enter politics. While he'd be a strong AG candidate in '10, this race might be too good to pass up.

While David Beasley and Ralph Norman are certainly potential candidates, we'd be suprised if they show up in a 5th District special election, or if they'd fare well should they enter the race. Norman bungled his campaign by making an ill-advised key stand on the immigration issue, a vulnerability which his opposition easily feasted upon. Beasley lost the 5th district in his 1998 Gubernatoral re-election bid, and again in his attempted '04 Senate comeback bid - after two high-profile defeats, we don't see a comeback in the cards.

While the GOP has a deeper bench of candidate prospects than the Democrats and numbers suggest the seat is winnable, especially without an entrenched Democratic incumbent, a strong financial disadvantage by the NRCC will be a handicap. This was a key factor in at least half a dozen of the House races carried by Democrats, possibly more, and it'll likely continue to be a hurdle to overcome in the near future. Whoever carries the GOP banner would likely face a crowded primary field, and then face a Democratic candidate with little or no national-level assistance.

In any event, it's race worth watching if it comes to pass. If Spratt doesn't leave for a Washington career change and Democratic polling numbers drop going into the '10 mid-term, any of these candidates would be strong contenders for the seat then.

5 Response to "GOP eyes on the 5th?"

  1. CAE Airport MG 11/11/08 12:02
    I would support any but Glenn certainly would be my favorite
  2. all your base are bleong to us 11/11/08 13:54
    Maybe Obama appoint Lindesy Graham?
  3. Anonymous 11/11/08 14:40
    US House seats are filled by special elections. Graham is already a Senator, so he wouldn't be gone any more than he already is.
  4. Ande 11/11/08 14:52
    Glenn would defintely have my vote. He is a tremendous individual with integrity and compassion.
  5. fort dodge iowa mg 18/11/08 21:21
    this is the piece that was in The State paper

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