I have dug into Bill Hembree’s district and I think he may need to reconsider running for Speaker.
Let’s admit that he will be target number 1 for the Democrats were he Speaker and, frankly, may be target number 1 anyway. His district demographics contrary to a number of reports are trending terribly for the GOP.
He will have a black voter registration (not VAP, REGISTRATION) of close to 40% by election time next year. I think that’s almost an un-winnable district.
Bill has the highest number of black voters of any GOP-held House district in the state per December 2009 data from the Secretary of State.
That’s why Bill’s district voted for Obama and Jim Martin in 2008.
Hembree’s district’s overall black voting percentage has more than doubled from 16% to 34% – in just the last 3 years. This district is going away from the GOP in dramatic fashion and may be virtually un-winnable by 2010.
Not a single Republican House member in a district with over 30% black population won re-election in 2008 if they had a qualified Democrat challenger (Tumlin, Freeman, Heard), except for David Knight who was running against a convicted felon that still got 44% of the vote – and Hembree is likely to face a 40% black registration by the time he runs in 2010, making it almost impossible for him to win if targeted by the Dems.
If Hembree were to win the Speaker’s race, he would be the most powerful GOP legislator in the most vulnerable seat in Georgia. Aside from the political difficulty he would have in doing his job, it is virtually inconceivable that were he to survive election next year that the Obama Justice Department would allow us to redraw the district of a white Republican speaker to reduce his black population enough to make him safe under the “non-retrogression” principle. Hembree might already be doomed by the changes in his district, but it seems more likely than not that he would be doomed by 2012.