Macon’s Jim Marshall has been down this road before, and it will likely be another metaphorical nail-biter on November 2nd against Republican challenger Austin Scott.
Since losing to Saxby Chambliss in 2000, Macon’s former mayor has gone a perfect 4 for 4 since 2002 in regard to winning elections. From 2002 through 2006, he was a part of the Third Congressional district and mid-decade redistricting pushed him into the newly formed Eight Congressional district in 2007.
Marshall’s opponents since 2002 include former Macon City Councilman Calder Clay, Mac Collins and Rick Goodard.
Marshall has gradually drifted politically right and since President Barack Obama’s election, the distinction has been made clear that Marshall is at odds with Obama and most Democrats on various issues-most notably health care insurance reform.
Obama won Bibb County in 2008, but lost Houston and Laurens counties in the process.
Marshall was the mayor of Macon, a city that is currently 62% African-American, and Bibb has recently become a majority-minority county, according to census figures.
Bibb County will be a battleground and an opportunity for Austin Scott, but a test of whether Marshall is able to the city of Macon or the county of Bibb. Marshall had won by nearly a 3-1 margin over 2008 opponent Rick Goodard and it was the main reason Marshall won handily, 57 to 42 percent.
Bibb County currently has 80,181 registered voters as of July 20th.
Scott is very aware about Macon’s significance and has set up his campaign headquarters here in Macon.
On July 20th, more Republicans voted than Democrats and this may speak to voter intensity and enthusiasm and if this spills over to November, it could help Scott in this particular race.
On July 20th, Scott had two other Republican opponents, but a little over 8,000 voters cast a ballot in the Republican primary and 7,989 voters cast a ballot for Democrat Jim Marshall, who ran unopposed.
Turnout will be critical in November, but if Scott is able to break-even in Bibb County, it is a red-flag for the 62-year old conservative Democrat Jim Marshall.
Macon-Bibb Democrats are aware of Marshall’s lack of support of Obama and may be reconsidering their support of Marshall which could open the door for Austin Scott to not necessarily win Bibb County, but neutralize the impact of a Marshall win.
If that happens, then the more conservative Houston County who voted for John McCain in 2008, could provide a boost and a new pathway to victory for the 41-year state legislator this November.
State Rep. Austin Scott is closing in on incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall in Georgia’s 8th congressional district, a poll conducted for Scott’s campaign shows.
The poll shows Marshall leading Scott 44 percent to 39 percent, within the margin of error of 5.7 percentage points.
This poll had recently come out, and Scott’s increasing name recognition in Macon may have helped in his rising poll numbers.
Some national analysts have changed their minds about this congressional district and called it a “toss-up” instead of likely Democrat.
Even though Bibb and Houston counties are vital in the outcome, but one shouldn’t dismiss Laurens, Newton (Covington) and Tift County.
Tift County has approximately 18,000 registered voters and if Scott is able to get them to come out like it was a presidential year, it could tilt a close race.
One additional advantage Scott over Marshall has is financial support. Scott pulled in just over a quarter of a million dollars since late April.
All in all, the Eighth Congressional district race will be on everybody’s radar on November 2nd.