Democratic candidate for the second congressional seat Rob Miller got an unexpected boost for his candidacy from an unlikely source, his opponent. Apparently a number of people were so turned off by incumbent Congressman Joe Wilson’s heckling of President Barack Obama, gesturing at the president, and yelling “you lie” during the chief executive’s speech, that financial contributions have been pouring in to the tune of $400,000
since the speech. Clemson University Political Science Professor David Woodard says for the short term at least, Wilson’s actions have hurt him politically.
“I think it does primarily because his opponent was able to get so much money. However in terms of voting we’re talking about an election that will be a year from this November and voters have notoriously short memories on these things.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reports that since Wilson’s heckling of the president, Rob Miller has received over $400,000 from over 11,000 contributors.
A political consultant for the Republican party, Woodard says he expects Wilson to retain his seat in the 2010 election, but with his faux pas Wednesday the West Columbia resident has made things a little more difficult for himself.
“Still this is a very “red state” and Joe Wilson is a conservative republican with a long record. he is also a very energetic campaigner. he works very hard in his campaigns. I doubt he’ll be taken out by this, but he’ll certainly have the fight of his life trying to raise money and hold on to his seat.”
Woodard says while he expects Wilson to retain his seat in 2010, it is possible for an opponent to build a voting coalition to unseat the incumbent. Woodard says Wilson has an advantage of being a resident of the large political stronghold of Lexington County, with highly populated Richland County next door. But the second district stretches south down to Jasper and Beaufort counties. Woodard says getting majority support from those counties south of Lexington County, and swaying some voters in Wilson’s stronghold could turn the tide, but he says that want happen in 2010.
“The retirement communities down on the coast attract a very different kind of republican voter than those in Lexington County. We know they are more sympathetic to say a McCain, while Lexington County was more sympathetic to a social conservative like Huckabee. So I think there is a possibility for a moderate democrat, and I understand that his opponent is that way. I think he is an Iraq war veteran and has quite a bit of what could appeal to middle-of-the road republicans.
Woodard says he surmises that Wilson will be re-elected in 2010 largely because of a tried and true political phenomenon known as “the mid-term election.”
“The reason why is that because a democrat running in that year is running in a off year election and one of the real proverbs of American politics is that the party that hold sthe White House always loses seats in the off year election. We know that turnout will be down. These things will favor an incumbent , especially one like Joe Wilson.
Woodard says a number of voters could be swayed depending on the way President Obama handles issues like health care and the war in the Middle East.