April 14, 2006


Seeing Plausible Target, Republicans Take Aim at a Democratic Seat in South Carolina (RICK LYMAN, 4/14/06, NY Times)

Ralph W. Norman, a wealthy developer from the bedroom suburbs south of Charlotte, N.C., happily greeted local Republican leaders on the sunny lawn outside a strip-mall restaurant where he was to announce his run against John M. Spratt Jr., a 12-term Democratic congressman.

"This district has been trending Republican for quite a while now," said Mr. Norman, 52, a one-term state legislator who lives here, in conservative York County. "President Bush carried it with 57 percent in 2004, yet we still have a Democrat representing us in Congress. So the time feels right to me." [...]

"We simply could not ask for a better candidate," Vice President Dick Cheney said at a St. Patrick's Day fund-raiser for Mr. Norman.

Mr. Norman said that Republican leaders had been urging him to run for years, and that Karl Rove had been to the district at least three times, first lobbying to persuade him to enter the race and then raising money for him.

The Senate majority leader, Bill Frist of Tennessee, has been here, too. Other national party leaders are also expected to follow, in part because of the importance of the state's presidential primary in 2008. Perhaps, state party leaders said, there will be a visit from Mr. Bush.

"I don't think there's any question about it, this is a Karl Rove special," said Joe Erwin, chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. "They believe the district has become more Republican, and they see an opportunity to knock John off. So this time, they're going to pull out all the stops."

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 14, 2006 7:29 AM
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