Ravenel Will Be In The Runoff With Beasley
June 7, 2004
The long-awaited race to determine the top two Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate race finally comes to an end on Tuesday, June 8.
This rather boring campaign season has been surprisingly wrought with very little to talk about. However, that has clearly left the door wide open for some unexpected results.
Go back to 2002 for a moment. Heading into the especially heated GOP gubernatorial primary, Bob Peeler was leading Charlie Condon and Mark Sanford in most of the polls in that order.
But then the voters had a chance to speak and speak they did.
Atlthough he was in third place and rising in the polls for most of the campaign in which nobody paid much attention to him, Sanford catapulted himself into a runoff with Peeler and eventually won the nomination (albeit with a little help from some especially negative campaigning from Peeler).
Some say Sanford's early and often strategy with radio and television ads were the keys to getting his name and message out to voters. With more money than his opponents, Sanford had this luxury.
Of course, history shows that Sanford later went on to defeat Democrat Gov. Jim Hodges and captured control of the executive mansion in Columbia in the triumphant general election.
Move ahead to 2004. David Beasley and Jim DeMint are first and second in the polls for the U.S. Senate Republican nomination.
But who's in third this time and rising in the polls like Sanford did in 2002?
None other than Thomas Ravenel.
Although most have conceded the top spot to Beasley, the race for second has been the one to watch.
DeMint's experience in Washington and name recognition in the Upstate has been his primary selling points. Even still, I do not believe his campaign has done enough to highlight the accomplishments of their candidate while he has served on Capitol Hill since 1998.
This is too bad because DeMint is arguably the most "ready-made" candidate in this race to be U.S. Senator because of his time in Washington.
Meanwhile, Thomas Ravenel, who is a up-and-coming newcomer to the political scene, has begun to gain favor among voters in the polls through a variety of deliberate campaign ads designed to underscore his personal charm and deeply held political beliefs into an electable package.
Will Ravenel's personal wealth be enough to defeat DeMint's experience?
I think it will.
And, just so you don't think I forgot about the other three candidates running for the Republican nomination, Condon, McBride and Davis have ZERO chance of being in the runoff. Not a chance in you know where of any of them making it! PERIOD.
But they do play an important role on June 8. Their few supporters will help to further dilute the vote so Beasley does not win a plurality and a runoff is inevitable.
Undoubtedly, DeMint MUST win the Upstate if he hopes to be in the runoff. And not just win. He needs to win big over Beasley to offset Ravenel, who will likely win handily in the Lowcountry, despite Condon, and in targeted vote-rich counties across the state.
Ravenel's frequent ads on television and radio make him impossible to ignore by the voters. In addition, the new billboard ads that popped up all across the state nearly two weeks ago with a flattering picture of the Charleston native were designed to attract those last minute voters who are just now paying attention that an election is coming on Tuesday.
And I think Ravenel's going to pull it off. But it will be close, I believe, within 3 percentage points between Ravenel and DeMint.
Sanford came from third place to win the GOP nomination for governor in 2002. Can Ravenel do the same in 2004?
We'll know for sure by Tuesday night.
VOTE NOW for who you think will be in the runoff!