The South Carolina Senate is not exactly competitive at the moment. Although there looks to be a lot of blue area on the map, control of heavily populated suburban areas in the Upstate and in the Charleston area keeps this one firmly in the hands of the Republican party.
In fact, in just taking a quick look at this map, there are a couple of districts that would it not be for the electability of Democratic legislators, they would also probably be Republican. District 11 is represented by Glenn Reese, and when one looks at results from other elections, this is a district that should favor Republicans. District 27 is represented by Vincent Sheheen, a legislator with deep roots in the district and high name recognition. If it was not for this, this seat would most likely be represented by a Republican as well. As a note, in part 2 of this series, we will compare the previous presidential and gubernatorial results in this district to the current State Senator representing the district.
Below is a diagram of the current makeup of the state senate in a purely numeric sense.
The red dashed line indicates all of the seats needed for Republicans to be in the majority. Therefore, the above diagram shows that Republicans currently hold 27 of the 46 seats, 3 more than necessary to hold the majority.
Correspondingly, the blue dashed line represents all of the seats needed for Democrats to be in control in the State Senate. The Democrats should pick up State Senate District 20, via a very strong candidate in Dick Harpootlian, and changing demographics in the Columbia area. This seat is vacant due to the legal troubles of John Courson, a Republican legislator indicted in the sweeping corruption cases coming out of David Pascoe’s grand jury probe.
One other geographic outlier in the first stage of analysis that sticks out to me is District 31, Hugh Leatherman’s district. This must be a heavily gerrymandered district to keep him elected, as almost the entire rest of the Pee Dee elects Democrats. I’ll check this out in Part 2.
Stay tuned for Part 2 and further analysis of the 2018 election in the South Carolina State Senate. In that article, we will highlight the State Senate races that are up for election in November 2018 and what the competitiveness should be (regardless if there aren’t two major party candidates running)
If anything sticks out to you from the South Carolina Senate map in 2018, comment below!