- McConnell Loans $1.8 Million to His Campaign
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- Begich Holds Double-Digit Lead in Alaska
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- Perdue Signs a Woman's Body
Posts in "Georgia"
October 21, 2014
Republicans have the wind at their backs this year. But not every GOP nominee is taking advantage of that dynamic. As usual, some candidates are under-performing, proving once again that candidates and the campaigns they choose to run actually matter.
That should come as no surprise to anyone who watched Republican Senate nominees Todd Akin of Missouri and Richard Mourdock of Indiana implode in 2012 or Delaware Republican Christine O’Donnell and Colorado Republican Ken Buck lose in 2010.
But this year, the problem children are not candidates foisted on the party by the Club for Growth or tea party groups. This cycle, the problem is a handful of candidates favored by most in the Republican “establishment.” They looked like strong nominees (some even like slam dunks) a year before Election Day, but they haven’t acted that way.
October 17, 2014
While national polls show a stable landscape, polls in individual races continue to show some movement. That movement leads us to make a number of changes to our Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call ratings.
Most of the House changes benefit the GOP, while the Senate and governor changes are far more mixed.
- Georgia (GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss is retiring) from Republican Favored to Leans Republican.
- Louisiana Senate (Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu) from Pure Tossup to Tossup/Tilts Republican.
(Read more about the Senate changes in the Oct. 17 Rothenberg Political Report ($))
House Changes: Full story
September 23, 2014
With six weeks to go, the fight for control of the Senate is down to five states, four of them currently held by Democrats.
Republicans must win only two of those contests to guarantee the 51 seats they need to control the Senate for the last two years of Barack Obama’s presidency. And they need to win only one of the Democratic states if they hold the only GOP seat at serious risk.
While things could still change — and national polls continue to show an environment that may produce a substantial GOP wave in the House and Senate — the Senate battle has boiled down to two reliably red states and three swing states.
August 8, 2014
Republican Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia is in a competitive race for re-election against Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter. But the limited public, automated polls — some of which showed Carter with a significant lead — appear to be driving a narrative of the race that doesn’t match reality.
Deal endured some negative headlines for his handling of a severe ice storm in the Atlanta area, and his state ethics commission director alleges the governor’s office pressured her to make ethics complaints against Deal’s 2010 campaign go away. Some GOP strategists also admit the governor isn’t particularly well-defined for an incumbent about to finish his first term.
But that doesn’t mean Deal is on the verge of defeat. Full story
July 1, 2014
Party campaign committees and outside groups aren’t allowed to coordinate, but as they outline their fall television ad strategies, interested groups are doing a very public dance to ensure they don’t step on each others’ toes and waste money duplicating efforts.
Now we have some specific examples of districts where this collaboration is taking place. Full story
May 23, 2014
Gov. Nathan Deal had no problems in the Republican primary this week, but the November general election could be a different story.
Democrats held the governorship in Georgia for more than 130 years, until Republican Sonny Perdue defeated incumbent Gov. Roy Barnes in an upset in 2002. It looked like Democrats wouldn’t get another shot at the governor’s mansion for years to come, but a couple of missteps by Deal in his first term and his opponent’s unique pedigree could give Democrats an opportunity later this year. Full story
April 29, 2014
I’ve noticed with some alarm how many people fail to make reasonable distinctions among races that admittedly have some factors in common.
So let me make an important distinction: While Democratic Senate candidates Alison Lundergan Grimes, 35, and Michelle Nunn, 47, have difficult races ahead of them in Kentucky and Georgia, each has a path to victory.
Conversely, I don’t currently see a path for West Virginia Democrat Natalie Tennant, 46. Full story
April 11, 2014
Democrats plan to turn out thousands of African-American voters this fall, in an effort to hold the Senate majority. The challenge is that some of them aren’t yet registered to vote.
Which begs the question, after opportunities to elect and re-elect the first black president, why would an African-American choose this year’s midterm elections to finally jump from the sidelines and into the game?
This question especially matters given that contests in North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, Michigan and Louisiana will help determine control of the Senate.
Democratic strategists believe there is low-hanging fruit in the black populations in Arkansas and Louisiana, where Democrats are defending seats, because those states never saw a well-financed and organized get-out-the-vote effort from President Barack Obama’s campaign. After all, neither state was regarded as competitive in the past two presidential races.
This cycle, Democrats on the House and Senate sides are investing unprecedented amounts of money into their party’s ground game for the midterm elections. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is set to spend $60 million on 4,000 staff in top states through the Bannock Street Project to get out the vote.
Part of that effort is focused on boosting black turnout from traditional midterm levels to something closer to presidential levels in Arkansas and Louisiana, as well as one of the Democrats’ best pickup opportunities in Georgia, and potentially Michigan and North Carolina — both of which saw plenty of attention in 2008 and 2012.
Democrats are encouraged by the Obama campaign’s ability to boost the black percentage of the vote in Ohio from 11 percent in 2008 to 15 percent in 2012. (Interestingly, the 2010 exit poll in Ohio found blacks constituting 15 percent of the state electorate in that midterm, two years before the Democrats’ major effort in the Buckeye State.)
But it’s one thing to boost African-American turnout in a year when the first black president is seeking re-election, and it is something very different to boost that same turnout during a midterm.
One of the biggest challenges facing Democrats this cycle is enthusiasm. Dan Balz had a good piece on this in The Washington Post after the special election in Florida’s 13th District.
And the African-American community is not immune from the enthusiasm challenge. Democratic strategists aren’t eager to reveal the specific messages they will use to mobilize black voters, but they are likely to try to rally those potential voters around the president and his legislative agenda, including issues of equality and fairness, such as a minimum wage increase, equal pay for women and an immigration overhaul.
Complicating the task is that Democratic strategists will be asking these new black voters to support vulnerable Democratic senators such as Mary L. Landrieu, Mark Pryor and candidates such as Michelle Nunn, each of who must demonstrate a level of independence from Obama’s agenda in order to remain competitive with white voters.
Even if Democrats succeed in registering and turning out more black voters, they will only affect total turnout in those contests at the margins. Of course, in razor thin margins, that could be enough to matter.
In Arkansas, Democrats estimate that there are 121,000 unregistered African-Americans by using census data. By registering a fraction of that population (even somewhere between 10 percent and 30 percent), Democratic strategists believe it could tilt the outcome of the race between Pryor and GOP Rep. Tom Cotton.
The black population of Arkansas is 15 percent. In the 2008 presidential election, black voters made up 12 percent of the electorate, according to exit polls. In the 2010 midterms, black voters made up 11 percent of the electorate. Because the media consortium chose to cut back its exit polling operation, there is no exit poll data for Arkansas for 2012.
Of the top 14 Senate races, Arkansas is one of seven states where the black population cracks double digits. The other states include Louisiana (32 percent), North Carolina (21 percent), Michigan (14 percent), Virginia (19 percent) and Georgia (30 percent).
The other half of the Senate playing field includes states with miniscule black populations. Those states include Alaska (3 percent), Colorado (4 percent), Iowa (3 percent), New Hampshire (1 percent), West Virginia (3 percent), South Dakota (1 percent) and Montana (less than 1 percent).
In Georgia, Democrats are excited about the long-term demographic trends in the state, but strategists believe there is a short-term opportunity to increase black turnout this year. There are an estimated 375,000 African-American voters who voted in 2012 but not 2010, and 572,000 African-Americans still unregistered. And in Louisiana, where Landrieu is running for re-election, Democrats estimate 185,000 African-Americans voted in 2012 but not 2010, and another 228,000 African-Americans are unregistered.
The New York Times did a nice piece on the relationship between the Landrieu family and black voters going back to the senator’s father and up to her brother’s recent mayoral election in New Orleans.
In 2008, black voters made up 29 percent of the vote in the senator’s re-election race, according to the exit poll. Landrieu won the black vote, 96 percent to 2 percent but lost the white vote to Republican John Kennedy 65 percent to 33 percent in her 52 percent statewide victory. Two years later in the midterm, the black percentage of the electorate slipped to 24 percent.
Theoretically there is also an opportunity to increase black turnout in Michigan. The Obama campaign was able to increase black turnout from 12 percent in 2008 to 16 percent in 2012, and there are an estimated 304,000 unregistered African-Americans in the state. But in midterms, black voters have made up closer to 10 percent of the electorate, according to pollsters who have worked in the state.
Considering long-term historical trends, increasing African-American turnout in a midterm election looks like a long shot or bank shot for Democrats. But for their strategists and campaigns, having a plan and being proactive sounds much better than simply waiting on the shore to be hit by a wave.
July 29, 2013
The recent entry of Michelle Nunn into the Georgia Senate race is good news for national and state Democrats who hope to swipe a normally Republican Senate seat in the Deep South.
Nunn, the daughter of former Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn, is CEO of Points of Light, a nonprofit organization that “helps put people at the center of transforming their communities.”
Democrats hope she can tap the reservoir of good will in the state that her father still has and that her outsider message of change and pragmatism will prove appealing, especially if Republicans nominate an uncompromising conservative member of Congress. Full story
July 11, 2013
This cycle, the South is dominated by competitive Senate races. That doesn’t mean there won’t be critical House races (including Florida’s 18th and 26th districts) or other interesting contests (such as the crowded Republican primary in Georgia).
Here are the top five races to watch in the South next year:
Arkansas Senate. Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat, is one of the most vulnerable senators in the country, and he represents a state where President Barack Obama has never been popular. Republicans are likely to nominate Rep. Tom Cotton, who appears to be a rare breed in that he appeals to both the tea party and the establishment. If Republicans can’t defeat Pryor, they ain’t getting back to the majority anytime soon. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call Rating: Pure Toss-Up. Full story
June 14, 2013
Open seats are supposed to be opportunities. Without longtime incumbents on the ballot, these districts should be easier to takeover. But six months into the 2014 cycle, that just isn’t the case on the House side.
So far, there are 10 districts slated to be open seats because the member is running for higher office or retiring in 2014. Either President Barack Obama or Mitt Romney won all of them with at least 55 percent last year.