Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

House Race Hotline Spotlight: Southern Blues House Race Hotline Spotlight: Southern Blues

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation

 

Politics

House Race Hotline Spotlight: Southern Blues

July 6, 2012

Conservative Democratic House members and candidates have had a rough time over the last few years, but a few have seen hopeful signs lately. Southern Blue Dog Democrats, though, seem to be having especially difficult 2012 campaigns compared to counterparts elsewhere, and Rep. Larry Kissell's, D-N.C., recurring struggles with black support illustrate why being a Southern Democrat is so hard.

-- In redistricting, Republicans shifted Kissell's 8th District seat from a swing district President Obama won with 52 percent to one 10 points more GOP-friendly. Kissell, who always had an independent streak, has also seemed to shift a bit, voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt and saying he wants to repeal the health care reform law.

-- Kissell's move toward the middle put him in trouble with his base, though, and the district's Black Leadership Caucus declined to endorse him. Kissell needs black and other minority voters even more in his new district than before: In March, his pollsters specifically said that minority voters were the key to Kissell's "expansion potential" from a dangerous-looking 46 percent starting point.

-- Other members like Reps. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., Mark Critz, D-Pa., and Jim Matheson, D-Utah, have made similar moves recently, but their lily-white CDs are more homogeneous, as opposed to the South's "split personality" seats divided between black liberals and very conservative whites. Dems often have difficulty straddling that divide: Ex-Rep. Allen Boyd's strength was sapped by a primary from the left in Florida in 2010, and surviving Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., was threatened too. Kissell himself had to weather black and liberal unrest in 2009 and 2010.

Obama's North Carolina turnout machine will help all down-ballot Democrats, and disillusionment with Kissell could evaporate in a pragmatic fall environment. But this persistent issue will continue to haunt Southern Democrats going forward.

Job Board
Search Jobs
Biomedical Service Internship Position
American Society of Civil Engineers | Flint, MI
Fire Sprinkler Inspector
American Society of Civil Engineers | Charlotte, NC
Professional Development Program Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Farmington Hills, MI
Deputy Director of Transit Operations
American Society of Civil Engineers | San Jose, CA
Transportation Planner
American Society of Civil Engineers | Salinas, CA
Assistant Professor - Water Resources/Ecological Engineering
American Society of Civil Engineers | Auburn, AL
Product Manager - Chemical Development and Supply - Tulsa, OK
American Society of Civil Engineers | Tulsa, OK
Commissioning Intern
American Society of Civil Engineers | Chicago, IL
Assessment and Remediation Team Lead
American Society of Civil Engineers | Regina, SK
Business Development Manager
American Society of Civil Engineers
Sr. Controls Systems Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Grand Island, NE
Senior Project Manager- Transportation
American Society of Civil Engineers | San Antonio, TX
Materials Engineer 2
American Society of Civil Engineers | IL
Land Surveyor
American Society of Civil Engineers
Quality Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Attica, IN
Comments
comments powered by Disqus