An online Change Research poll (9/17-21; 809 SC likely voters) finds Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) leading former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison (D) by a 50-43% clip. Though the margin appears low for a South Carolina Republican, particularly an incumbent, GOP candidates typically under-poll in the state. Even so, Sen. Graham is beyond the polling margin of error and his advantage is likely a bit stronger than this survey indicates.
Rock Hill, SC-based Winthrop University went into the field to test the South Carolina Democratic presidential field (9/21-30; 462 SC likely Democratic primary voters) and, like other pollsters, finds former Vice President Joe Biden holding a comfortable advantage. According to the Winthrop results, Mr. Biden holds a 37-17-8-7% lead over Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Kamala Harris (D-CA), respectively.
Mr. Biden’s strength is clearly in the South, and he again displays a dominant result in what will be the first southern voting state. His numbers are similar in the other recently tested states south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
The YouGov international polling organization conducted simultaneous polls for the February voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. Though these states are small, having only 155 combined delegates, they tend to set the tone for Super Tuesday and the bulk of the voting. According to YouGov, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are close in each of the four places. Mr. Biden leads in Iowa and South Carolina, Sen. Sanders places first in Nevada, and Sen. Warren tops the field in New Hampshire. None of the other candidates even reach double-digits in any of the four states.
The Republican leadership in at least four states is moving toward canceling their primary or caucus, and instead simply awarding all of their delegate votes to President Trump. The states seriously weighing the option include two of the “First Four,” South Carolina and Nevada, the electorates from which are scheduled to vote in February. Kansas and Arizona are the other two states. Others could then follow their lead.
This act is not particularly unusual. Several states in both parties have previously canceled primaries when their party held the Presidency. Such happened for Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. The leaders argue that party funds spent to help administer the primary election or caucus meetings would be better spent in the general election to support their candidates.
Katie Arrington, who lost what should be a safe Republican seat to freshman Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-Charleston) after surviving a life-threatening car accident soon after winning nomination, will not return for a 2020 re-match. Yesterday, it was announced that Ms. Arrington has been appointed as the Pentagon’s Chief Information Security Officer, a position that re-locates her to the Washington, DC area. The major candidates in the congressional race, a contest that will certainly be a top national GOP challenger race, are state Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston) and Beaufort County Councilman and entrepreneur Mike Covert.
Monmouth and Quinnipiac Universities released new state polls in places where we haven’t yet seen much data. Monmouth (7/18-22; 405 SC likely Democratic primary voters) tested the South Carolina electorate, site of the fourth nomination event scheduled for February 29th. Here, as we’re seeing in many of the tested southern states, former Vice President Joe Biden posts a substantial advantage, leading 39-12-10-9-5% over Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Quinnipiac released what may be the first poll of the Ohio electorate (7/17-22; 556 OH Democratic registered voters) in anticipation of this state’s March 10th primary, and also finds Mr. Biden enjoying a healthy lead. Here, the former VP registers 31% support followed by Sens. Sanders, Harris, Warren, and Mayor Buttigieg who record 14, 14, 13, and 6% preference, respectively.
Former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jamie Harrison, who formed a US Senate exploratory committee in February, announced yesterday that he will become a full-fledged candidate against Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R).
Any real threat to Sen. Graham comes in the Republican primary, but he appears secure for re-election. At this point in time, no major Republican has declared his or her candidacy. According to the Morning Consult national Senate rankings, Sen. Graham scores a 52:31% favorability index, the 13th highest of the body’s 100 members.
Ten-term House incumbent Joe Wilson (R-Springdale/Columbia) has had little trouble winning re-election in his Columbia/Lexington County anchored district, but he has already drawn an opponent for next year’s general election.
Yesterday, Adair Boroughs, the Executive Director of Charleston Legal Aide an affiliated group of the South Carolina Legal Services Corporation, announced that she will challenge the Congressman. Though Charleston is not in the 2nd District, Ms. Boroughs resides in Columbia. Rep. Wilson again remains a heavy favorite to win again in 2020, but Ms. Boroughs likely has fundraising capability that could cause the Congressman to spend advertising money.
WPA Intelligence, surveying for the Conservatives for Clean Energy organization (3/11-13; 500 SC likely voters), finds Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) comfortably leading his principal announced Democratic opponent, former state Party chair Jamie Harrison. The numbers suggest the Senator would hold a sizable 55-32% advantage still more than one year before primary challenges are held.
WPAi did not release Republican primary numbers, which is likely the Senator’s greater test. Regardless, it appears Mr. Graham’s political position is enhanced throughout the state and his standing within the SC GOP much improved.
The Trafalgar Group recently conducted a survey (1/28-2/1; 2,479 SC-1 likely GOP primary voters; automated) among potential Republican congressional candidates who may battle for the opportunity of challenging freshman Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-Charleston), a surprise 2018 winner. The seat promises to be at the top of the GOP conversion target list for the entire 2020 election cycle.
2018 GOP nominee Katie Arrington, who denied then-Rep. Mark Sanford (R-Charleston) re-nomination but lost to Cunningham in the general election, tops the large field of tested candidates. With Mr. Sanford included, she would lead him 25-23% with the nine other named potential candidates all falling well below 10 percent. Without Sanford in the field, she would touch 31% with state Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) leading the rest but with only 8% support. If Arrington is not included, Mr. Sanford almost reaches 37% with all of the others below the double-digit mark.
Mark Sanford, the former Governor and Congressman, has not indicated whether or not he would attempt to regain his former congressional seat.
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