GOP gunning for House District 97

House District 97 has been a seat which has been tough to hold since 2000, when Republican David Owens was the first Republican to win the Dorchester County-based district by a mere 200 votes. In the races which have followed, races for the seat have been decided by just a few hundred votes, with the seat changing party control four times since 2000.

Democrat Patsy Knight defeated Republican incumbent George Bailey in 2006 by just several hundred votes, winning a re-match against Bailey by a similar margin in 2008. While she ran unopposed last year, Bailey ousted one of the two Democrats on Dorchester County Council, whose district included much of Knight's district.

District 97, which combines rural upper and central Dorchester County with outlying parts of Summerville, was turned decidedly more Republican in redistricting, shedding some of its more Democratic areas along US 78 and I-26, while keeping it's growing Republican precincts in the Summerville area. With the district's BVAP reduced to 27% from the upper 30s, Dorchester County Republicans see a golden opportunity to take the seat once and for all, knocking out the county's only resident Democratic legislator in the process.

We've talked with a number of Dorchester Republicans who've reported that several people are looking at running for the seat next year (they also indicated Bailey will not make another run for his old House seat). Each of these sources believed the changes made by redistricting could tip the district's long-running close electoral balance.

With this high level of early interest and greatly-improved demographics, don't be surprised if the race for this seat becomes one of the hottest contests on next year's GOP primary and general election ballots. Given how close her races have been in a much more Democratic-friendly district, Knight will likely face her toughest electoral fight yet if she opts to seek another term next year.

You can count on the Blogland to keep you updated about this early-brewing legislative race.

3 Response to "GOP gunning for House District 97"

  1. Anonymous 21/12/11 19:10
    Health problems riddle Knight and she's quite often MIA on votes and meetings. Affectionately nicknamed "Sleepy" - she's a sluggish sort. Constituents of Dist 97 might want someone with a little more energy - just sayin!
  2. Anonymous 22/1/12 18:27
    Miss Patsy has been a loyal and dedicated representative of the PEOPLE OF DORCHESTER COUNTY. If she gets bored with the B.S. at
    the State House, WHO WOULDN'T. Miss Patsy
    works for US. All of you better kick in an
    send her back to represent US ONE MO' TIME.
  3. Anonymous 28/2/12 10:21
    yeah - she's not on coke like others in the legislature, so let's call her "sleepy" and "sluggish"

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