Thursday, August 19, 2010

Can Secretary of State candidate Georganna Sinkfield win Statewide?

And the reason I ask that question is because she is a African-American from a Minority-Majority District & the history of Black candidates from those districts running statewide is not great.

Sinkfield defeated Gail Buckner to win the runoff for the democratic nomination for Secretary of State to face Brian Kemp (R-Athens) in the General Election.

Sinkfield is trying to do something that is impossible for a black candidate to do: win over a statewide electorate that is more middle-of-the-road than her ultra Liberal District in Fulton County.

Can she attract a white-crossover vote? Who Knows! The support of the white electorate is even more important for statewide candidates because they must appeal to a white majority, unlike urban campaigns and black candidates running in minority-majority congressional districts or local state rep or senate districts.

She must adopt a “flexible” campaign strategy by “using a quiet, conciliatory style” that is non-threatening to white voters. This deracialization strategy represents a delicate balance between winning over reluctant whites while not alienating black voters.

The problem for her is that her district is not representative of the state as a whole because of the deliberate elimination of all those who are not traditional liberal, democratic voters. Such efforts ensure that the best-financed and most well-known black candidates will tend to project a political philosophy that resonates strongly with their district’s minority constituents; however, this excludes positions and messages capable of appealing to statewide voters as a whole.

As a Black Legislator from the State Legislature who wants to win a statewide election, she simply is going to have to moderate her positions on a host of issues. Of course, they risk losing the black vote when doing so. Take a look at the recent Alabama gubernatorial primary on the Democratic side. Rep. Arthur Davis, who represents a majority-black district in the House, moved sharply to the right in anticipation of his run and even opposed Obama’s signature initiative- healthcare reform. He also downplayed the significance of black leaders in the state (maybe took them for granted) knowing that wasn’t going to win him a general election. The end result, he lost the primary, interestingly, to a white candidate who carried most of the majority black counties in the state. It is a tough and tricky road.

Now one is probably asking why isn't Michael Thurmond is in the conversation? Well Thurmond has run statewide & has been successful in each of his runs as Labor Commissioner. He knows how to run a statewide campaign.

Darryl Hicks?

Darryl ran statewide & did well for a first timer & that experience will help him with his run for Labor Commissioner. Plus with his rural roots, he can relate to the vast majority of rural Georgians. His knowledge of economic development, & business acumen will appeal to those who are unemployed as well as small business owners.

Keith Moffett?

Keith is running his first ever statewide race (PSC Commissioner). So I can make a call on that, but he has been down state once & will surprise some people on election night. He's a bright, articulate candidate who served his country for 9 yrs in the U.S. Navy & is a part of the administration for Macon Mayor Robert Reichert & was 8th Congressional District District Director.

I think Sinkfield can win, but she has to transform herself to better appeal to a more centrist electorate.

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