Beating An Entrenched Incumbent Is Never Easy-- Nor Is It Impossible. Vincent Fort Is On The Way
David Scott, a corrupt Blue Dog who represents-- although does not live in-- a very blue inner suburban district south of Atlanta, was first elected to Congress in 2002-- yep, two decades ago. And he's senile as shit now and can't handle his duties... but no one is supposed to mention that, so forget that crazy Nancy-- who's even older than he is-- made him chair of the House Agriculture Committee. His voting record has earned him a solid "F" from ProgressivePunch. People who watch closely though say he isn't really much of an ideologue. "He's just one of the most corrupt members of Congress and every lobbyist in town knows he sells his votes," said one Capitol Hill staffer who asked for anonymity in order to speak freely. "Scott votes for financial legislation that directly hurts his own constituents in return for big annual payoffs from the Wall Street banking community. Some should look closely at where those funds he collects go. It's an open secret here in DC that his family walks away with an awful lot of it... On top of that-- and as if that weren't enough-- Scott is one of only the smallest handful of Democrats in Congress who endorses Republicans over his fellow Democrats and contributes to their campaigns." I've never heard Pelosi complain about his contribution checks to Republicans. Have you?
This cycle, former state Sen. Vincent Fort is running for the same congressional seat. Blue America has endorsed him and you can contribute to his campaign here. That's an easy decision to make for someone who wants to replace conservatives with progressives. But some contributors always ask me, "but can they win?" It's not the question I focus on but it's not an unreasonable question. Have you ever seen a polling memo? They're usually not made public but I thought this one from 20-20 Insight could give you some context for the primary struggle between Fort and Scott-- and hopefully encourage you to contribute to Fort's campaign.
At the end of January, 20-20 Insight interviewed 295 likely Democratic primary voters in this D+52 district (formerly D+44) that neighbors on Marjorie Traitor Greene's district. The firm concludes that "Fort is well known and in a strong position to challenge David Scott for the 13th Congressional District. Although voters initially choose Scott in a two-way race by a 62%-13% margin, after they hear a few positive messages about Vincent Fort and some concerns about Scott’s record in Congress, Fort rises to a commanding 40%-16% lead." Both candidates have high name recognition. Fort has represented around 80% of the district as a state senator.
More early warning signs for Scott-- only 39% of likely voters say he is doing an excellent job. This compares to 69% who say Raphael Warnock is doing an excellent job as Senator. Scott is on weak footing, and Fort has a strong progressive record that voters are enthusiastic to learn more about.
A majority or near majority of voters think the following information about Fort is a very convincing reason to vote for him:
• 55% that he couldn’t be bought by special interests in the Senate and will take them on in Congress to pass popular legislation such as lowering prescription drug costs
• 52% that he’ll join the more than 110 co-sponsors of the Medicare For All act
• 39% that he was nationally recognized for fighting predatory lenders
• 39% that he’ll legalize marijuana federally
Similarly, a majority or near majority of voters have very serious concerns about David Scott on the following issues:
• 56% that he took money from banks and finance companies and voted against new rules that crack down on predatory debt collection practices
• 40% that he steered hundreds of thousands of big bank campaign dollars to his business and family members while voting to weaken financial regulations
• 38% that he voted for a Trump backed bill that would let car companies charge minority borrowers higher interest rates than whites
• 36% that he twice voted to repeal key portions of Obamacare
• 30% that he was one of a handful of Democrats to vote for the “Poison Our Waters Act”
The aforementioned shift to Fort after voters hear a few pieces of information about the two candidates is unprecedented in this type of campaign polling and is broad and deep. On the retest, Fort leads among all age groups, both genders, voters that had a favorable AND unfavorable opinion of Scott, liberals, moderates, college and non-college voters. Fort is even statistically tied with Scott among a group of voters that should be heavily predisposed to stick with Scott-- those who rated Scott as doing an excellent job as Congressman!
The bottom line is that with just two months to go until voters start casting ballots in the primary election for this redrawn Congressional district, voters in the 13th district have only superficial and shallow support for the long term incumbent and are eager for a change candidate who will swear off corporate money, advance the traditional Democratic agenda, and bring fresh leadership to Congress.
The primary is May 24. If Fort has the resources to reach voters with messaging that explains who he is and who Scott is, he'll win this thing-- meaning a progressive reformer will replace a corrupt conservative in a deep blue district. Again, you can contribute here. The average Blue America contribution is around $45-- but that includes lots and lots of $10 and $20 contributions, the backbone of grassroots funding of solid candidates. You can read more about why we endorsed Vincent Fort here.