GOP seeking to flip House District 44?

Last year, Lancaster County's Democratic State Rep. Jimmy Neal saw his first challenge in years, coming in under sixty percent against an underfunded political first-timer. Having held the seat since winning a special election in 1999, speculation that Neal may be retiring next year is drawing interest by the GOP in trying to pick the seat up.

Between a unexpected strong challenge to Rep. Neal by Rob McCoy (who went on a few months later to lose a primary bid for the State Senate seat vacated by Congressman Mick Mulvaney) in the general election, and Mulvaney carrying Lancaster County by a comfortable margin in last year's Congressional upset, the district appears increasingly competitive for Republicans.

Considering these factors, it's not too surprising to hear that several Republicans are looking at the seat. During a visit to Lancaster last weekend, we talked with a couple of people about the race for the seat and have been told more may be looking at the race.

The district didn't change much in redistricting, and is still comprised of much of non-suburban Lancaster County, with much of the county's rural center, as well as it's three municipalities: Heath Springs, Kershaw and much of the City of Lancaster. It did shift slightly west and north and gave up several precincts in the east to neighboring rural districts. While it's BVAP is 31%, it's not the toughest seat for Republicans to win and hold (Rep. Shannon Erickson and Phillip Lowe have landslide in seats with BVAPs in the high thirties).

This year's redistricting opened the door for Republicans to push to the two-thirds mark in the State House. In order to pick up the handful of seats needed to reach that mark, this is one of the seats they'll need to win, so don't be surprised if the race for this seat heats up once the Presidential primaries are over.

1 Response to "GOP seeking to flip House District 44?"

  1. Wes Wolfe 10/11/11 10:55
    I skipped school to do GOTV for Neal in that '99 race -- it was a slam-dunk from the start. Thing is, he won because he was a conservative Democrat with a good organization backing him. I doubt the Dems have either ready this time, if they need to contest an open seat.

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