While in the past I have lamented that our legislature was suffering due to the lack of contested races, I have been derelict in talking about the few contested races we have this year.
And one is in my own backyard – HD 143 – which was DuBose Porter’s seat and covers Laurens and Johnson counties. Porter’s run for Governor created a four way race for Democrats in the primary resulting in a runoff between attorney Mitch Warnock and Dr. Pablo Santamaria. Warnock was the top finisher in the primary, but Pablo beat him in runoff. The lone Republican, Matt Hatchett, has been an elected official in the city government since 1999.
There a few interesting things going on in this district. Laurens is a fairly conservative district and their local GOP is pretty well organized from what I have seen. In 2008 they clearly rejected Obama, but reelected DuBose and Congressman Jim Marshall. Marshall had been less successful in Laurens in year prior, but DuBose was on his 27th trip to the Gold Dome.
Several people are saying this is a Republican year. That may be true. This has been called a “Red State”. That may also be true. I’m interested though in how this race will turn out. They have had an incumbent Democrat Representative for nearly three decades, they have voted for a Democrat Congressman, and now they are one of the very few open and contested races for the State Legislature.
So will party identification be the deciding factor – or are these voters independently willed enough to split tickets?