Thursday, April 20, 2017

Luck Of The Draw-- Jon Ossoff Winds Up With A Truly Despicable Opponent


That was then

When 30 year old Jon Ossoff first jumped into the race, no one knew who he was and pundits were speculating that the GA-06 jungle primary would probably lead to two Republicans facing off in the June runoff. Instead, despite millions of dollars in negative campaign ads paid for by Paul Ryan's superPAC, Ossoff came in first-- by a mile, 92,390 (48.1%) to former Secretary of State Karen Handel's 37,993 (19.8%). In fact, to beat Ossoff, you would have to combine every single voter for the top 4 Republicans in the race and even then, you just get to 48.2%!

So now the pundits are saying Ossoff weill have no chance in the June 20th runoff. That's insane. Ossify now has an actual opponent to define, although her divisive, hate-filled career-- and some of the other primary candidates-- have already helped define her. Other than crackpot Trump crony Bruce Levell who wound up with 455 votes (0,2%), Ossoff couldn't have asked for a better opponent than Handel.

And, she wrote a book, Planned Bullyhood, about her most famous moment in the spotlight-- her ugly vicious war against Planned Parenthood. This Amazon review will give you some idea of who this person is that Ossoff will be facing:
This book is sloppily crafted by the author to push buttons and mislead readers in surprisingly transparent ways. For example, discussing her defeat in the race for the Georgia governor's office, she described her Republican opponent-- who had the support of the Georgia Republican “good old boy” network and the endorsement of the Georgia Right to Life organization-- as “the former pro-abortion Democrat with significant ethics issues.” (Page 50)

The author also glosses over much in her attempt to shine a light on her accomplishments. She claims in passing that she was accused of being racist without any context, but goes on to describe a few pages later how she forced a black woman sheriff out of office. She tells how she balanced a budget with a $100 million deficit without any details, which made me wonder which social safety net programs she probably axed to do it.

Some anecdotes and protestations of indignation I found very amusing. She was quite put out, for example, that Planned Parenthood's “Women Are Watching” website had the temerity to use the color pink, as she felt that color was owned by Susan G Komen. (Page 118) I am twice as old as the Susan G Komen organization, and I know for a fact that products aimed at women have always used the color pink. I know that Susan G Komen aggressively litigates against any other organization who uses “racing for” something to raise funds but having exclusive use of the color pink is beyond the pale.

It is painfully obvious that this book is the author's spin on events, and likely bears little if any resemblance to the truth. She frequently uses the passive voice to indicate that things happened, without any specifics or attributing any agency. Based on what little I do know about earlier events she described, I can tell she's leaving things out. So when she gets to the Susan G Komen-Planned Parenthood debacle, I spent most of my time wondering what she's leaving out and how she's spinning the tale to suit her own needs. That's the trouble with telling half-truths and using misinformation early on: by the time she gets to the meat of the book, her credibility is shot.

In the end, if readers don't get bogged down in the fascinating Machiavellian narrative, they will be able to glean one important thing. Early on, and even throughout the book, the author states that Komen was feeling pressure for making grants to Planned Parenthood and was being threatened with loss of participation and donations if the relationship continued. That is stated numerous times. And yet, over and over again, the author insists that the decision to defund Planned Parenthood had nothing to do with pressure from anti-abortion advocates. I have to wonder if she is even reading what she is writing. Despite her obvious narrative spin, it is clear that if Komen had not been pressured by anti-abortion forces, the relationship with Planned Parenthood would have continued as it had for 20 years.
We started covering Handel around 5-6 years ago, a dangerous extremist people had to watch out for. Fortunately the head-to-head match-ups all show Ossoff beating her. albeit narrowly-- all in this range:
Ossoff 42.4%, Handel 41.0%
Asked on CNN yesterday if Trump will come campaign for her, she responded "I would hope so" she says. No doubt Ossoff hopes Trump will come and campaign for her as well. When the last polls came in on Thursday and Friday, Ossoff was at an average of 43%. And then Trump jumped into the race with his idiotic tweeting and a nasty negative robo-call. Result-- Ossoff moved up by 5 points to 48% in just 4 days.

Goal Thermometer Also yesterday, Chuck Todd predicted this runoff will be VERY competitive. "[T]he race will be a good early test of what is worse-- President Trump or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi? Because Georgians are going to see a lot of TV ads in the next two months tying the nominees to both of these national politicians... [H]ere is one undeniable truth about last night: The GOP candidates who tied themselves to Trump did NOT do well. 'Bob Gray made allegiance to Donald Trump the cornerstone of his campaign, and he may have suffered for it. He got about 10 percent of the vote and came under a barrage of criticism over his pro-Trump bona fides,' the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. 'And Bruce LeVell, head of Trump's diversity coalition, got less than 1 percent of the vote. He also put Trump at the center of his campaign, and even made a last-minute trek to the White House to visit with the president, who didn't endorse any candidate in the race.'" Part of Harry Enten's post-mortem at FiveThirtyEight:
There’s some chatter out there that Ossoff’s showing is a bad sign for Democrats. He didn’t clear 50 percent, they say, and he barely improved on Clinton’s performance in Georgia 6.

I think that’s a flawed argument.

For one, Clinton had already greatly improved on previous Democrats’ performance in Georgia 6. She lost to Trump there by only 1.5 percentage points. Former President Barack Obama lost the district by 23 points in 2012, as did Democratic congressional candidate Rodney Stooksbury in 2016.

So if you’re just looking at the 2016 presidential result as your benchmark you’re probably missing something. Instead, our best estimate of the partisan lean of a district is to take a weighted average of its past two presidential election results. By that measure, a Democrat would be expected to lose Georgia 6 by 9.5 percentage points in a neutral national environment (one in which the two parties fought to a tie nationally). Democrats did far better than that on Tuesday, losing by 2 points. The Democratic candidates combined took 49 percent to the Republicans’ 51 percent.

The Republican +2 aggregate margin in Georgia 6 implies a national environment in which Democrats are competitive in a bunch of GOP-held House seats in 2018. According to the weighted average of the past two presidential elections, there are 48 House districts that were won by GOP candidates in 2016 that are bluer than Georgia 6. The district’s Round 1 results suggest Republicans could lose a good portion of those 48 seats. And Democrats need to win just 24 Republican-held seats for control of the House.

That’s clearly a good sign for Democrats.

...Polls conducted before Tuesday suggested that Handel and Ossoff were running in a near tie in a potential runoff. In an average of five polls conducted since mid-March, Ossoff held a scant 0.4-point lead over Handel.
One more thing about the nature of gerrymandering in GA-06 which was specifically drawn to guarantee Republican winners and to disenfranchise African-Americans. Democrats in the area were packed into GA-04 and GA-05, which are respectively D+21 and D+32. If, for example, Bulkhead or the area around Emory University were lopped off of John Lewis' district and added to adjacent GA-06, it would have no impact on Lewis' ability to run up gargantuan majorities, but it would made GA-06 a truly competitive swing district. If you'd like to help Jon Ossoff win in June-- or Montanan Rob Quist win in May-- tapping on the ActBlue "Flip Congress" thermometer above will take you to a page where you can help both or either.

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At 6:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like the perfect republican house candidate. Absent any damning actions or statements, like she's really a closet atheist, she'll win. Perfect combo of hate, anti-women and arrogance. Too much time will have passed for the pro-D/anti-T hysteria to stay adrenal.

At 8:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt Karen Handel has any worries about turning up pregnant.


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