Monday, September 12, 2016

Race of the Day- South Carolina U.S. Senate

56 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Incumbent
2012 Presidential Result: Red State (South)

Outlook: Safe Republican

There is no doubt that South Carolina has become bright red at the state and federal level. While African-American turnout could possibly cause the Presidential contest to be tighter than would otherwise be the case, a black Republican incumbent is going to handily win his first full term.

First elected to the U.S. House in 2010, Tim Scott became one of just two African-American Republican in Congress at that time. He was a logical choice for Governor Nikki Haley to appoint to the U.S. Senate when a vacancy opened up in  late2012. The only elected black Republican in Congress at that time, Scott easily won a 2014 special election to the Senate, defeating an African-American female Democrat, in what was a rare circumstance of two black candidates facing off in a Senate general election.

Now, in 2016, Scott is facing his fourth race in eight years, but does not have too much to worry about. After this year, he will not have to face the voters again until 2022. Opposing him is pastor and community activist Thomas Dixon, who is running under the banner of both the Democrat and Green Parties. Like Scott's 2014 Senate opponent, Dixon is also African-American. You can get the sense that South Carolina Democrats would find it awkward to put up a white Democrat in a statewide race against a black Republican. The times have certainly changed in the Deep South state.

As a Senator, Scott has gotten notice for being a credible and articulate voice on race relations, especially in the wake of the horrific race-based church shootings in his home town of Charleston, that subsequently led to the Confederate flag being removed from the State Capitol. Scott, who has retained his popularity with conservatives, has spoken about how even as a Member of Congress, he has felt targeted as a motorist by law enforcement.

In his state's influential GOP primary, Scott joined Governor Haley in endorsing his Senate colleague Marco Rubio. The state and the nomination was sadly won by Donald Trump however. Scott has since stated that Trump is an imperfect candidate but that people should still vote for him. After this election is over, he might have to come to terms with the implications of such an endorsement, however qualified. Assuming he can do so, I expect he will have a bright future in the Senate and I hope that the Republican Party comes to look, sound, and act far more like Tim Scott than Donald Trump.

Scott campaign link:

Senate races predicted thus far:
 8 D (6 Safe, 1 Likely, 1 Leans)
21 R (7 Safe, 5 Likely, 5 Leans, 4 Tossup)

Overall predicted thus far: 44 D, 51 R