Here is a quick summary of the seven special elections happening today, August 11, 2015:
Georgia has three state House special election runoffs, as I’ve analyzed in numerous posts and on my Twitter feed. The headline race is probably HD #80 in Fulton and DeKalb counties near Atlanta. This is a Republican-held seat in which the lone Democratic candidate, Taylor Bennett, won the special election in July with 37% of the vote. Three Republican candidates, led by J. Max Davis, received the remaining 63%. The third-place candidate, Republican Catherine Bernard, trailed Davis by less than 60 votes; she has also refused to endorse Davis. Both state parties have focused on winning this seat, but the Republican nature of this district makes Davis the logical choice to win.
The other two Georgia runoffs are Republican vs. Republican contests. In HD #146, Shaw Blackmon won the special election in July with about 44% of the vote, and he faces Larry Walker in the runoff. In HD #155, Clay Pirkle won the first round of voting with 36.5% of the vote, finishing about 200 votes ahead of Horace Hudgins.
There are three State House special elections in Pennsylvania, all in the Philadelphia area. All three were previously held by Democrats and are districts which favor them. Any real excitement in these contests would have occurred in a primary, but the political parties choose their candidates in special elections in Pennsylvania. In HD #174 in Northeast Philadelphia, Democrat Ed Neilson, a former State Representative who lost his seat due to redistricting, is running against teacher Tim Dailey. The district voted for Obama by about 60%-40% in 2012 and Neilson is an experienced campaigner. He should win this.
In the other two districts President Obama received over 90% of the vote in 2012, so Democrats Joanna McClinton (HD #191) and Donna Bullock (HD #195) should have no difficulty whatsoever.
Finally, there is the runoff between two Republicans in South Carolina HD #106 near Myrtle Beach which we analyzed extensively here and here. There is no updated campaign finance data to analyze since South Carolina does not require candidates to file additional reports just prior to a runoff. Russell Fry won the special election here two weeks ago with 45% of the vote, and was less than 150 votes shy of winning outright. Tyler Servant was second with 33%, but will likely have a tough time making up such a big margin.