Mousebumples sent me an interesting article this morning.
.. It’s not always about winning the race, said Rob Saldin, a political scientist at the University of Montana. It’s about actually running in the race.
“When you do not even have a presence, you don’t even have a heartbeat in large swaths of a particular state, you’re just on the way to a steep decline,” Saldin said.
Democrats want to chip away at GOP margins by lowering the number of uncontested races
Saldin said Democrats have focused too heavily on races they know they can compete in. The path to rebuilding a competitive bench of Democratic candidates in state and local races is a long game, he said, and it’s played by taking what can feel like incremental steps.
“When you have these lopsided margins in rural counties, well, if you’re a Democrat, you just cannot make that up, there just aren’t enough votes,” he said. “You don’t need to be winning in these rural counties, but you need to have those margins be a little tighter.”
Making those margins tighter at minimum starts with making sure every Republican candidate has a challenger — even if it’s highly unlikely that challenger will win.
In Montana last cycle, Democrats left 37 of 150 legislative seats uncontested, the highest number of uncontested races there in a decade. Republicans would go on to win a supermajority in the state legislature, two years after they swept statewide offices.
It’s not as though there aren’t plenty of races around the country where Democratic candidates are running unopposed — but Democrats say the sheer volume of races in rural areas where there isn’t any Democratic presence on the ticket represents an existential threat.
And it’s a concern that extends beyond Montana.
In Louisiana, there are 77 unopposed candidates thus far in this election cycle. The majority of those unopposed seats will go to Republican candidates. Half of Louisiana’s Senate seats are already decided weeks ahead of the October elections. A total of 68 state lawmakers are unopposed, including 43 Republicans. In most cases, Republican candidates simply went uncontested.
In North Carolina last year, Democrats didn’t have a candidate in 44 of the 170 races for state legislature. Republicans in the state only left 10 seats uncontested, and ultimately gained a supermajority in the senate for the first time in four years. Some of the state’s most polarizing figures, including the Republican Senate leader and the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, cruised to victory without an opponent.
North Carolina Democratic Party chairwoman Anderson Clayton has vowed not to let that happen again.
“North Carolinians deserve to have a choice when they go to the ballot box, not an uncontested Republican,” she said. “It is our duty to ensure we have Democrats running across the state to champion our local values.”
‘A little bit of purple’ is the goal.
I know what I think. What do you guys think? Start play? Or waste of time and effort?