House GOP Facing Serious Recruitment Problems
by Jonathan Singer, Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 03:25:12 PM EDT
You know things are especially bad for a party when it has trouble recruiting candidates in districts in which they have institutional advantages (e.g. a big registration edge) to go up against potentially vulnerable incumbents of the other party. But such is apparently the case for House Republicans. Take a look at this news out of Georgia courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Political Insider blog.
In past election seasons, Democrats Jim Marshall in the 8th District and John Barrow in the 12th have been perennial Republican targets. And on paper, they're still vulnerable.
But the anointed GOP candidate in the middle Georgia race against Marshall, former Air Force major general Rick Goddard, has had a rough start.
Even more indicative of trepidation among Georgia Republicans, and their fear of a poor harvest in '08, is the party's failure -- thus far -- to field any candidate to challenge the Savannah-based Barrow.
If Barrow and Marshall aren't the two most endangered Democratic incumbents in the House, then they're certainly among the handful of members of the majority who could potentially have the most trouble in 2008. Neither Barrow nor Marshall received more than 51 percent of the vote in 2006, a great year for Democrats.
So why, then, aren't serious challengers lining up to go up against the two this year? Local dynamics and personal decisions by potential candidates certainly play a lot into it. But so, too, does the current environment, which as a result of being so terrible for the GOP is scaring off potentially strong Republican candidates around the country from challenging Democratic incumbents who may be beatable. Sure, you say, the establishment press sure doesn't make it seem like things are this bad for the GOP, or that good for the Democrats, for that matter. But in instances like these it is the Republican state legislators in rural Georgia saying no to the Republican establishment inside the Beltway that I might turn to in order to find out just what the environment is like around the country.