Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Today At The Races: Georgia


It's another vile lesser of two evils election in Georgia today. Neither Jack Kingston nor David Perdue is fit for any public office, let alone for the U.S. Senate. But, then again, neither was Saxby Chambliss, the imbecile who's resigning the seat. The Republican primary itself was May 20 and the top 5 candidates didn't generate much enthusiasm:
David Perdue- 185,466 (30.64%)
Jack Kingston- 156,157 (25.8%)
Karen Handel- 132,944 (21.96%)
Phil Gingrey- 60,735 (10.03%)
Paul Broun- 58,297 (9.63%)
Perdue, who was endorsed by his cousin, Sonny, the ex-Governor, by professional Republican clown Herman Cain and by a shady super PAC (Citizens for a Working America, which has spent over $1.5 million attacking Kingston), won with the weakest showing of any first place finisher in a senate primary by either party in Georgia history. Kingston, who has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (i.e., the GOP Beltway Establishment, and has already spent $920,000 on his behalf) and by Brent Bozell, Michelle Bachmann, Sean Hannity, Steve Forbes and other right-wing celebrities, will probably win today's runoff. All 4 polls released this month show Kingston with 41%. PPP has Kingston with 47% with voters who say they are definitely voting today. Neither candidate is especially popular in the Atlanta area, where most of the state's voters live, maybe 70% of the expected GOP turnout.
[No] candidate can ignore metro Atlanta and north Georgia and have any hope of winning a statewide election. But the dynamics of this particular race, which has already garnered national attention as Republicans seek control of the Senate, means the election will likely be won or lost based on what happens there.

...With a competitive primary for Kingston's current seat in Congress, turnout is expected to be strong along the coast and Kingston will have to run up the numbers like he did during the primary when he claimed 78 percent of the vote in his home base of Chatham County. But the coastal areas alone can't carry him across the finish line, and Kingston will have to perform very well in metro Atlanta and north Georgia.

"Jack Kingston can still win statewide without winning those areas," Lake said. "He just needs to run up his margins on the coast and he needs to make sure that even though he's not winning in those north Georgia counties, he's not losing by a wide margin."

Perdue, who hails from middle Georgia but has a home on the coast, did very well in north Georgia during the primary, capturing a majority of counties across the area. Although it's his first political campaign, his cousin is former Gov. Sonny Perdue and his campaign and advisers are all veterans of state politics.

Perdue knows he must build on his primary vote totals and broaden his base of support. Meanwhile, Kingston has smartly collected endorsements from two of their former rivals with broad metro Atlanta support who finished third and fourth in the primary.

Kingston is banking on those endorsements to help him cut into Perdue's lead, while Perdue has been using those endorsements to hammer Kingston as the establishment candidate who's been in Washington too long.
If Kingston wins, he will face off against conservative Democrat, Michelle Nunn in November. Although most polling shows Nunn ahead, I'd bet that once the primary runoff is over and the Perdue votes get behind Kingston, he'll overtake her. Democrats will waste millions of dollars on her campaign that could easily elect Rick Weiland in South Dakota and save the Senate for the Democrats.


Confounding all the pollsters in a very low turnout election-- not one showed Perdue even close (of the 2 most recent, Landmark had Kingston up by 7 and Insider Advantage had him up by 5)-- and freaking out the GOP Beltway Establishment, Perdue beat Kingston 245,493 (51%) to 236,987 (49%). It was close, but outside the margin of recount and Kingston, no doubt bound for K Street, conceded before all the votes were counted. Kingston spent $6,174,978 and Perdue spent over a million less-- $5,031,036. (For those who care: Perdue has $783,540 cash on hand to Nunn's $3,681,570.)

Paul Broun's replacement in GA-10 won't be the Establishment favorite either. Crazy right-wing extremist, Hate Talk Radio host and bigoted Baptist preacher Jody Hice beat Mac Collins' son Mike 26,959 (54%) to 22,673 (46%). Both are far right crackpots but Hice has much more potential to regularly embarrass the House Republicans and reduce their approval rating by even more. With Bachmann and Broun retiring, Hice will immediately be in contention for the title, "craziest clueless Republican in the House." Move over Louie Gohmert. Hice and Collins spent around the same amount, respectively $493,490 and 479,576 (as of the July 2 FEC report). Two gun nut groups put in around $9,000 for Hice. Santorum's endorsement didn't help Collins, who was slightly ahead in the May primary.

Over in GA-11, Gingrey's district, Barry Loudermilk crushed ex-Congressman Bob Barr 34,641 (66%) to 17,794 (34%), successfully portraying him as a serial flip-flopper. Barr had outspent him $709,714 (including contributions made in BitCoin) to $599,119. Loudermilk had been endorsed by Club for Growth, RedState, FreedomWorks, the Madison Project and Georgia Right to Life. Barr was endorsed by Tom Tancredo, Richard Viguerie and Gun Owners of America.

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