Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Election Day In Georgia's 6th District-- The End Of The Trumpanzee Agenda?


Today’s the day in GA-06. The most recent poll shows Ossoff up but within the margin of error, as most polls have shown. This one has Ossoff winning with 49.7% to Handel’s 48.0%, despite Ryan and Trump pouting tens of millions of dollars into the race. Many see the race as a referendum on Trump. 91% of Ossoff voters have an unfavorable opinion him and 78% of Handel voters have a favorable opinion. About 140,000 people have already voted-- a gargantuan number which favors Ossoff.
Ossoff has a 15-point lead among self-described early voters in the Opinion Savvy poll, a 13-point lead in a poll from The Trafalgar Group, a 14-point lead in a SurveyUSA poll conducted for WXIA-TV in Atlanta and a 9-point lead in a WSB-TV/Landmark Communications poll. Then there is the Atlanta Journal Constitution poll, the only live-caller poll, where Ossoff led by 31 points among early voters.
The key to winning these kinds of races is field-- something the DCCC opposes, since none of their crooked staffers can funnel money into their own pockets-- but, thankfully, Ossoff has poured millions of dollars “into an unprecedented ground game to turn out new voters and those who haven’t voted in non-presidential elections previously.” If that reporting is accurate, he’ll win.

GA-06 voters are divided on Trump-- 50% approve and 50% disapprove. Tom Cole (R-OK), former chair of the NRCC told the NY Times that “first and foremost, this is a referendum on the Trump presidency. The stakes here are not just for the House, the stakes are for the Trump presidency.” But there’s another important factor voters will be using today: TrumpCare, which divides the 2 campaigns and which the voters oppose.

The GOP is in a bad situation. If Handel wins, all she did was win a deep red district that Tom Price won last year by 23 points-- and at a cost of over $40 million. Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin wrote that “Republicans, weighed down by Mr. Trump’s growing unpopularity, must demonstrate they can separate themselves from the president enough to hold suburban districts that only now are becoming battlegrounds.”

The DCCC hacks they spoke with for their piece emphasized that a win by Ossoff will help the DCCC recruit more candidates. That’s something that should scare all progressives, since DCCC recruitment-- led by 2 conservatives, multimillionaire New Dem Denny Heck (WA) and wretched Rahm Emanuel protégée Blue Dog Cheri Bustos (IL)-- means wealthy self-funders, “ex”-Republicans, corrupt careerists and, first and foremost, dull conservatives who will take orders from leadership and not rock the corporate, donor-driven boat.
Republicans, weighed down by Mr. Trump’s growing unpopularity, must demonstrate they can separate themselves from the president enough to hold suburban districts that only now are becoming battlegrounds.

…An outright win in Georgia would serve as validation of the party’s overall strategy. Democrats have been recruiting aggressively in Republican-leaning seats-- including in Michigan, Illinois and New Jersey-- and party officials expect a wave of new challengers to announce their candidacies after the start of the next fund-raising quarter in July.

The stakes are highest for Republicans, who have held the district since the Carter administration without much of a challenge to speak of. Ms. Handel, the well-known former board chairwoman of the state’s most populous county, Fulton, and also a former Georgia secretary of state, is facing Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old Democrat and former congressional aide who does not even live in the district.

“It’s a race that we have to win,” said Georgia State Senator Brandon Beach, a Republican whose district includes part of the terrain being fought on here.

Republican officials worry that if Mr. Ossoff wins, it would send a resounding statement about the intensity of the backlash to Mr. Trump, prompting incumbents to think twice about running for re-election, slowing fund-raising and, most significantly, further imperiling their already-stalemated legislative agenda.

“It’s not just symbolic-- we really can’t afford to lose any seats at this point,” said Representative Tom Rooney, Republican of Florida, noting that “the factions” among congressional Republicans make their majorities more tenuous in practice than they may seem on paper.

In a district that was once nobody’s idea of “swing,” the parties themselves have elevated the stakes. The two candidates and outside groups have now spent more than $51 million.

Republican Party leaders thought having total control of Washington would end the gridlock of the Obama years. But with lawmakers unable to put a single piece of significant legislation on Mr. Trump’s desk and the president threatening the party with his unceasing Twitter eruptions and intervention in the investigation surrounding his campaign, Republicans fear that losing in Georgia may hasten the sort of every-man-for-himself acts of self-preservation that typically do not come this early in an election cycle.

And if vulnerable lawmakers turn inward, that could make passing controversial legislation, like an overhaul of the health care or tax system, even more difficult.

Such a vicious cycle, retrenchment ensuring inaction, could only further demoralize grass-roots Republicans, deteriorating the party’s standing even more. That malaise has already hobbled Republicans in Georgia, forcing national super PACs to spend heavily to aid Ms. Handel while Mr. Ossoff has raised over $24 million on his own, mainly with support from small donors.

“We actually have to have victories,” Mr. Rooney said.

Notably, Mr. Ossoff has made opposition to the American Health Care Act, the health care bill approved by House Republicans last month, a signature issue of his campaign. And while Mr. Ossoff has run on a centrist message over all, Democrats have run advertisements targeting liberal-leaning voters, especially African-Americans, with appeals to send a message to Mr. Trump: Republicans on Saturday circulated a picture of a truck parked in the district with a sign reading, “Hold Donald Trump Accountable, Vote Tuesday, June 20.”

…On the Democratic side, elected officials and party strategists say that Mr. Ossoff’s campaign has already served as a galvanizing force, spurring small donors into action and focusing the attention of voters and activists on the battle for the House. The notion that Mr. Price’s once-safe seat could be in play, strategists said, has helped encourage Democrats in other conservative-leaning seats.

Should Mr. Ossoff win, it could spur another wave of Democratic candidates to run in challenging districts.

Citing Georgia as a model, Andy Kim, a former national security official in the Obama administration, said he is likely to enter the race against Representative Tom MacArthur of New Jersey, who vaulted into the national spotlight as an architect of the House Republicans’ health care bill.

“We want that same energy,” Mr. Kim said. “We want people around the country to focus in and say: This an opportunity for us to push back and hold MacArthur accountable for his actions.”

In Arizona, Randy Friese, a trauma surgeon turned state representative, said he has watched the Georgia race as he weighs a challenge to Senator Jeff Flake. Mr. Friese, who said he is leaning toward running, noted that Mr. Ossoff’s message-- casting him largely as a nonpartisan candidate-- had resonated with both Democrats and independent voters.

“Voters need people who have the political courage to stand up for their values and not just bend to the will of the party,” said Mr. Friese, who entered politics after treating Representative Gabrielle Giffords for a near-fatal gunshot wound in 2011.

Among the Democrats likely to announce campaigns in conservative-leaning districts, according to party strategists, are Matt Longjohn, a physician who is the Y.M.C.A.’s national health officer, against Representative Fred Upton of Michigan; Brendan Kelly, the St. Clair County, Ill., state’s attorney, against Representative Mike Bost; and Nancy Soderberg, a former ambassador, against Representative Ron DeSantis of Florida. Elissa Slotkin, a former Defense Department official, is moving toward a campaign against Representative Mike Bishop of Michigan.

All would be running in seats that tilt clearly toward the Republicans and where Democrats typically struggle to enlist strong candidates.

And in California, Gil Cisneros, a Navy veteran who won $266 million in the lottery, has been meeting with strategists about a challenge to Representative Ed Royce, according to Democrats familiar with his preparations. Mr. Royce has already drawn a promising Democratic opponent in Mai Khanh Tran, a pediatrician and former refugee.

Democratic officials argue that even a razor-thin defeat for Mr. Ossoff should be taken as an encouraging sign, but the party is under pressure to win. House Democrats only reluctantly, and minimally, competed in special elections earlier in the year in Kansas and Montana. But they poured millions into this race, even as Mr. Ossoff largely ran from the party’s agenda and leadership.

“My concern is that we might raise the bar too much, the expectations,” said Representative Michael E. Capuano, a Massachusetts Democrat. “Look guys, these are seats we shouldn’t even be playing in.”

Republicans are not even bothering to play down the consequences of losing.

“We all know this is a harbinger of national politics,” Mr. Perdue said, “and the world is looking, the nation is looking.”
Wow, enough identity politics in there to make you want to puke your guts up. Early today, I saw some well intentioned woman candidate from Houston babbling on twitter that the solution to the country’s problems was getting more women into Congress. I was happy to point out that though the best voting record in the House belongs to a woman-- Pramila Jayapal (100%)-- the worst Democrat, by far, also belongs to a woman-- Blue Dog nightmare Kyrsten Sinema (10.0%). How about kf we look at the quality of candidates instead of the identity politics bullshit?

Nate Cohn did a fascinating piece for the NY Times yesterday that listed the 15 best educated districts in the country-- best educated in terms of college degrees-- and correlated the list with congressional representation. All but 2 are represented by Democrats and of the two represented by Republicans-- GA-06 and VA-10-- only one was won by Trump last year, GA-06, very narrowly. They’re the only districts where at least half the adults have degrees. “The list,” he wrote, “includes plenty of caricatures of the liberal elite: ‘limousine liberals’; ‘Hollywood liberals’; ‘latte liberals’; ‘San Francisco liberals’; ‘Massachusetts liberals’; and the ‘D.C. establishment.’ It also includes Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, where a special election on Tuesday has been held up as the first big litmus test of Democratic strength in the Trump era. Education explains why the race is competitive at all.” The list includes some of the most committed and effective progressives in Congress-- Ted Lieu, Ro Khanna, Jerry Nadler, Pramila Jayapal, Jamie Raskin and Katherine Clark. It would be nice seeing a Georgia district on a list like that!
The district has been staunchly Republican for a generation. Mitt Romney won it by 23 percentage points in 2012-- larger than his margin of victory in Alabama or Kansas.

But President Trump won it by just 1.5 points, and Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old Democrat, won 48.1 percent of the vote in a big field in the first round of voting. Of the 15 best-educated districts in the country, this is the only one Mr. Trump won in November.

…If Mr. Ossoff wins the election, Republicans can argue-- with some credibility-- that Georgia’s Sixth was a particularly ripe opportunity for Democrats at a time when Mr. Trump’s ratings among college-educated voters have sunk into the low 30s.

But even if he loses, Mr. Ossoff’s strong performance has already demonstrated that Republicans in well-educated but traditionally conservative areas now shoulder the burden of Mr. Trump’s weak performance. It suggests that previously safe Republican incumbents in Orange County, Calif., or the suburbs of Dallas and Houston could face serious challenges next November. And most important, a close race in Georgia’s Sixth suggests that control of the House is in play, regardless of which candidate comes out on top.
I couldn’t find much on the group that started running an ugly and divisive negative ad campaign on Sunday-- only on Fox News-- blaming Democrats and Ossoff for Steve Scalise’s shooting. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the Principled PAC “bills itself as a group that only supports ‘principled conservatives who have the backbone to stand up to the Washington elite’ but is a bit player in the political world and has faced staunch criticism from conservative leaders.” Ossoff called on Handel to ask the group to take down the ad. Her campaign issued a statement saying the group “should be ashamed” but refused to ask them to take down the ad. The PAC appears to be a scam operation and Laura Ingraham once urged people NOT to heed their call to contribute to her own short-lived Senate campaign through them, calling them trolls. The only records I was able to find for the Principled PAC previous to this buy was some small contributions to some fringe candidates no one has ever heard of and a $5,000 contribution to the North Carolina Gun Rights PAC last year. Kind of ironic.

Today will come down to turnout. I’m betting Ossoff’s gamble on investing heavily in field and GOTV will give him the edge. We’ll know in a few hours.

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At 6:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

$40 million for a House seat race. Can anything else point out so clearly the graft and corruption of the Congress?

When the DCCC blows this, and because they have done nothing about electoral fraud they will blow it, will more people see that it's time to let the Democratic party merge with the less-insane corporatist corruption party and form a new party?

We'll see.

At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Exit 135 said...

Democrat Pam Keith announced Saturday her candidacy for Florida's District 18 congressional seat, held by Republican Rep. Brian Mast...Keith, a Palm Beach County attorney, has been considering running against Mast for months. She unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in 2016, but still garnered 15 percent of Democratic primary votes. TCPalm 06-17-17.




Mast is a movement conservative salted with a healthy dose of Calvinism. But Mast according to commentator "Impeach Trump" lives in a $712,000 house after never having a private sector job in his life. Mast is on the receiving end of lots of free stuff. But stuff like comprehensive affordable health insurance simply can not be had in the 21st century post-Obama America according to Ryan & Mast.


At 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's $50 million and it's obscenity that is off the scales.
Evidently Ossof is relying on a shitload of new voters. What happens in 2018 when those voters see no results and resume inactivity at the polls?

And if you subtract 1 from the R side and add 1 to the D side, THAT leaves the R side with a big majority.

I fail to see how that stops the R agenda or the trump agenda or the Pelosi agenda.

At 6:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK. Another DWT optimism crushed. It took $50 million but fucking GA proved to be no better than fucking GA once again.

And, of course, the R agenda (Drumpfsterfire's only agenda is to get richer and be loved/adored/worshipped) marches on with or without GA-6. It'll still be 'with'.

I'm truly sorry that my skepticism ended up correct. again. still.

DWT, please reconsider my thesis. The democraps need to be euthanized. starved of all votes. As long as they survive, we can never make any progress. I realize it is against your positive, optimistic outlook. But please give it some thought. We need your advocacy for conditions to improve. Your continued advocacy for good people running as democrats is not useful. As GA-6 proved. again. still.

Democraps are anathema to good candidates. How many good people would run if the democraps weren't there to suppress them?


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