With the dust from the special elections settled in South Carolina and Georgia, political strategists will begin recalculate their tactics for the next round of elections for the 2018 midterms. Strategists on both sides of the aisle offer their reaction to Republican Ralph Norman’s win for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives over Archie Parnell.
Associate Chairman of the Democrat Party Jaime Harrison doesn’t believe the losses in the two special elections where detrimental to his party. While Norman won the seat previously occupied by Mick Mulvaney, the race was much closer than expected. As the former head of the Democrats in South Carolina Harrison was pleased to see such a strong showing for the democratic candidate Archie Parnell.
“This is a district that just a few months ago, not even a year, went 20-plus points for Donald Trump and Mick Mulvaney,” said Harrison.
Harrison said the narrow loss brings momentum to his party because it shows that small campaigns can do well in heavy republican districts. He credits the democrats in South Carolina for providing a blue print for the midterm elections in 2018.
While the election in Georiga got more media attention Harrison believes the midterm elections will be more like the race in South Carolina. In Georgia, Democrats spent over $23 million on the campaign for Jon Ossoff making it the most expensive congressional race in U.S. History.
But in South Carolina the Democrats spent just over $500,000 on the fifth district race of and it resulted in an even tighter election. Harrison says the normalcy of the South Carolina election should frighten Republicans considering, “Archie is a new commodity in politics, he started off with zero name ID.”
Looking forward Harrision thinks democrats will embrace more candidates like Parnell who might not have a flashy personality but who provide a stable platform to contrast against President Trump’s agenda.
The fuss around the special elections didn’t phase Clemson political science professor Dave Woddard, who is also a GOP strategy consultant. Woodard congratulated his party for the win cautioned Republicans by saying that because special elections are about local elections they carry very little momentum into the 2018 midterm elections.
“You can’t read a lot into it,” Woodard said. To him special elections, “tend to be on what the local issues are in the summer, by next year it will all be forgotten.”
Woodard thinks the democrats had a chance to take both seats in South Carolina but they ran campaigns focused on the wrong target. Woodard emphasized the importance of local issues in special elections while democrats locked in on President Trump’s agenda.
“So they run on Trump, and run against Trump and what these two races show is that you can’t run against Trump and really win,” Woodard said.