With Rodney Tom out of the running, the 48th Legislative District is gearing up for a good ol’-fashioned red-on-blue rumble. That’s bad news for the Republicans in a district where they’ve suffered a 20-year bleed of support.
Everything changed in the swing district with the announcement by incumbent Sen. Rodney Tom — the Republican, turned Democrat, turned Majority Coalition Caucus leader — that he would not run for re-election, citing personal and family issues.
This election is no longer about Tom. Instead, it’s an open seat race, likely to come down to a conventional Democrat versus a conventional Republican. That’s bad news for the Republicans. Crosscut's John Stang recently noted that the GOP now restarts the fight with a candidate problem – or, rather, the problem of having no candidate. I’d like to explain why the GOP also has a 48th LD problem. Namely, their problem is that it isn’t 1988 anymore.
Let’s start with a broad overview of the district, and then dive into the Republicans’ 48th LD dilemma.