Can Gary George Beat Gwen Moore?
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 04: U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) speaks on stage with other female members of Congress during day one of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 4, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC that will run through September 7, will nominate U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) Photo: Image by Getty Images
Gwen Moore represents one of the most heavily Democratic Congressionals Districts in the country. She's a well-entrenched career politician with somewhere around $600,000 in the bank. Since being first elected in 2004, she's never faced a significant challenge.
So, does former State Senator (and convicted felon) Gary George have any chance of beating Moore?
The correct answer is "Probably not". That being said, let me run down a possible (but unlikely) scenario that has George winning the Democratic Primary election four weeks from today.
The Congressional District in question is essentially Milwaukee County. For the sake of discussion, the 2010 Primary Election results for Milwaukee county may be illustrative.
In 2010, there was a hotly contested Republican Primary for Governor between Scott Walker and Mark Neumann. Walker received 57,333 votes in Milwaukee County to Neumann's 19,801. In total, around 77,000 votes.
In the 2010 Democratic Primary for Milwaukee County Sheriff, David Clarke received 30,539 votes. His opponent received 26,727. Clarke, who could normally be expected to draw a lot of cross-over support from Republicans, probably received very little in 2010 due to the Walker/Neumann race.
In the 2010 Democratic Primary, Moore received 33,107 votes - trouncing her oppponent (who received 6430 votes).
So what does this all mean for Gary George?
For Republicans (like me) who live in Milwaukee County, there really aren't too many compelling reasons to vote in the upcoming GOP Primary. As a result, I intend to vote in the Democratic Primary for Sheriff Clarke. As long as I'm voting for Clarke, I'm also going to be voting in some other races.
For the sake of argument, what if 20,000 people who voted in the 2010 GOP Primary decide to vote this year for David Clarke - and Gary George? Moreover, 16,000 more people voted in the Primary for Sheriff than in the Primary for Congress. What if a good portion of them decided to vote for George? What if a lot of the 30,000 people who voted for Clarke (and perhaps sat out the Moore election) decide to vote for George?
Are David Clarke voters Gwen Moore voters? My instincts say probably not.
The point is that there seems to be a vast potential electorate for George to tap into. That, coupled with the absence of a compelling GOP Primary and the liklihood of substantial crossover support for Sheriff Clarke, would appear to give Gary George a window of opportunity.
Unfortunately for Gary George, he doesn't seem to have mounted much of a campaign. I don't think he's been able to raise much money and his campaign has been largely invisible to all but the most die-hard political junkies. That's usually not a breeding ground for political success.
As a betting man, I think that Gwen Moore is safe. At the same time, I think the stars may be aligned for a once-in-a-generation political surprise.
If George is going to pull that surprise though, he needs to get going. Time is running out!