Voter turnout for midterm elections tends to be anemic compared to presidential contests. In 2006, for example, only 45.8% and 38.6% of registered white and black voters, respectively, actually cast ballots. In 2008, however, voters exceeded all expectations, moved by the opportunity to elect Barack Obama into office as the nation’s first black president and his clarion call for change.
Now the country is bracing for another change, especially African-Americans and Latinos, who some experts say could feel the brunt of the blow if power shifts in Washington and the GOP gains control. As in previous midterms, voters this year will likely express their dissatisfaction with the majority party by staying home or shifting support. According to political analysts, Democrats will realize significant losses in the House or U.S. Senate, or they will participate in a repeat of 1994 when conservatives took control of both houses.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn concedes the change promised by President Obama has been slow in coming; but the upcoming election is all about protecting hard-won reforms in areas very important to us: the economy, healthcare, small business policies and financial reform. “I’m convinced that if we do not have a turnout in minority communities at least equal to our percentage of the voting population,” he says, “we could very well see ourselves turning the clock back on so many issues that were very important to those communities.”
To help you be informed and prepared when you go to cast your vote on Tuesday, November 2nd, Blackenterprise.com will highlight important races with African-American candidates across the country. During the next week until Election Day, we’ll tell you where the candidates stand, why the race matters, who their opponent is, what the key issues are and their chances of winning. Be sure to check in every day.
Candidate: Tim Scott
Why the race matters: If elected, Scott would be the House’s lone black Republican. He also beat Paul Thurmond, son of the legendary Sen. Strom Thurmond, in a primary run-off.
Key issues: Scott espouses standard Republican ideals of smaller government, less regulation and lower taxes and is opposed to earmarks. He supports market-based energy solutions that include developing nuclear, biomass, wind and other options. He also believes that the healthcare reform legislation is unconstitutional.
Constituency: South Carolina, First District; majority white district, largely urban
Financing: Scott’s FEC report shows $652,766 as of June 30, 2010.
Political support: House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), Alabama House Speaker Bobby Harrell, and Club for Growth, a conservative super-PAC
Chances of winning: Running unopposed ensures a Scott victory