The Races For GA-8, GA-12 Just Got Interesting

According To Gallup, the “Generic Ballot” Question now indicates that the gap Republicans have been facing, once as high as at least 15 points, has recently closed to within 3 points.

Here’s the takeaway line:

If these numbers are sustained through Election Day — a big if — Republicans could be expected to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

This article in the Financial Times says the dems are in panic mode and sense they may be losing both their shot at the White House and their grip on Congress.

Which brings us back home to Georgia.  The two competitive congressional races we have, GA 8 and GA 12, are seats held by democrats.  It would seem that the competitive advantage they have is that they can argue they are aligned with the majority (if not outright claiming allegiance with the Speaker) and thus can deliver the goods back home.

If Republicans maintain their enthusiasm, and with Barak significantly scaling back his Georgia operation, does this put Marshall and Barrow’s seats legitimately in play?

45 comments

  1. rugby fan says:

    Sen. Ensign ruled out the GOP taking back the Senate. If that doesn’t instill confidence in the Dems retaining at least on branch, I don’t know what will.

    That said, those seats have always been in play and they’ve avoided two top of the ticket disasters in Georgia.

  2. Icarus says:

    I still think the Republicans will be lucky to be able to hold a filibuster in the next Senate, but it’s nice to at least see the House “in play”.

  3. Common Sense says:

    “It would seem that the competitive advantage they have is that they can argue they are aligned with the majority ”

    Why of course! I remember back in 04 when Marshal and Barrow were toughting their alignment with the majority.

    Or maybe the fact is that these two have out preformed generic dem in their districts by significant margins for several cycles now.

    If McCain does better than Perdue Marshal may have problems but for better or worse Barrow is safe—he has no real opposition.

  4. fishtail says:

    John Barrow’s seat in play? What are you smoking? I’d like to get some for myself. I’ll bet not many voters in the 12th even know there is a Republican running for this seat, much less his name.

  5. At this point in 2006 there were dozens of individual district polls that confirmed that individual members were in trouble ala the national generic ballot. This year I haven’t heard of any. I think Democracy Corps released a poll that showed Democrats polling at something like 65-35 in districts they held and Republicans polling about the same in districts they held.

    As the cash register might say “no change”.

  6. Doug Deal says:

    If Obama crashes and burns, the Republicans will win the House back.

    Freshmen are the most vulnerable of seats and a number of seats the Dems won were leaning Republican to strong Republican base districts. With an energized base, those seats would be trivial to take back. The only question is if they can win the more toss-up districts and maybe a couple of lean Dem seats.

    In the Senate, a filibuster proof majority is a pipe dream. Right now it is looking like 56-44 as the median, with a 58-42 as the worst case. Plus, I would not be surprised if Lieberman doesn’t flip caucuses if the Dems extract revenge on him next Congress, which would make it 57-43 as a worst case.

    The Udall brothers (they are actually cousins) are also not looking to good right now, and that crook Stevens may even eek out a win (particularly if he is acquitted), which could make it 53-47 (With that result, Lieberman would likely be appointed to something by President John McCain, which would counterbalance the Dem gov of Arizona appointing a Dem to replace McCain).

    In any event, this election could be a huge disaster for the Dems, when it should have been a year of overwhelming victory. That’s what happens when you select people based on a speech read off a teleprompter as your candidate 10 years before he is ready.

  7. StevePerkins says:

    I have to hand it to the GOP (or at least reverse-hand-it to the Dems)… the turnaround in this year’s campaign has been breathtaking. My wife has never cared one iota for politics, and has always just asked me who she should vote for. Now, she’s joining every Sarah Palin facebook group she can find, and argues whenever I mention Barr (actually I enjoy this, I’m not used to talking politics at home!). The Dems are drifting off-message and all over the map, and “stopping Bush’s 3rd term” seems to be losing its punch a a national campaign platform.

    I still think that re-taking Congress is not plausible this year, but I think the bleeding will be only slight. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve also started to seriously entertain the possibility that McCain can keep the White House.

  8. odinseye2k says:

    “In any event, this election could be a huge disaster for the Dems, when it should have been a year of overwhelming victory. That’s what happens when you select people based on a speech read off a teleprompter as your candidate 10 years before he is ready.”

    Doug,

    Um … that strategy is exactly what has led to the resurgence of the GOP Presidential campaign. John McCain is this year’s Bob Dole and John Kerry put together … all “it’s my turn” type candidates with decent resumes but ultimately unable to get a majority buy-in for their vision for the country.

    Also, the media is going to get bored with Palin just as it has with Obama … they are quite fickle that way. Even with the big surge, McCain has gotten back to even at best.

  9. Doug Deal says:

    Steve,

    I know my wife and the women in her office have gone batty for Palin. She has even told me that women she doesn’t even know have come up to her and started talking about Palin. It is anecdotal, but I wonder if the Democrats realized that she would have this effect when they went after her in the beginning, or if they thought she would be a bust and attacked her anyway.

    50 days is still a long time, but it seems that all the Republicans have to do is just at least achieve a split in the debates and run out the clock by keeping Obama off message.

  10. Doug Deal says:

    odin,

    The media has had 18 months to get board with Obama. The media has about a month and a half left to get board with Palin. It’s called peaking too soon.

    I agree with you though, that the Republicans have a habit of selecting the next in line candidate. McCain was not that candidate though, there really wasn’t one. McCain was selected because he was the only one sufficiently outside the Republican brand to stand a chance in a very anti-Republican year. I disliked him, but I always recognized him as the only one that stood a chance. He was my fourth choice behind Rudy, Romney and Fred, fifth if you include none of the above.

    Palin was a brilliant pick whether McCain wins or not. The Dems were fools to not recognize it immediate and prepare instead of taking her lightly. Biden, on the other hand, was the political equivilent of a blown tire.

  11. Chris says:

    I’ve heard similar. People who would sit out the election or throw their vote away on Barr and now planning to vote for McCain/Palin.

    In the meantime, I’m starting to worry about her. Palin Derangement Syndrome on the left, and a near fanatical following on the right isn’t going to be good for our little lipsticked pit-bull. She needs to hire someone to say Sic transit gloria mundi on a regular basis.

  12. Chris says:

    Err Memento mori was the latin phrase I was looking for.

    Sic Transit Potentia would be better for our congress critters.

  13. slyram says:

    I live three miles from Ty Ty (which is the 8th). The key for Goddard winning is to let Marshall beat himself. What is going to happen to the 7300 votes Nowak got against Marshall. Collins lost in 2006 by a 1000 vote turn. Those diehard Dems are not going to vote for someone dissing the Dem team.

    Hillary PUMAs could be convinced that Marshall dissed her and we Blacks know that Marshall supporting Obama/Biden would have been sweet as a Fort Valley peach.

    As I wrote on our Black moderate/conservative blog, Goddard should just do what Barrow and Marshall have perfected: make yourself appealing to the center…i.e. Isakson style.

    Macon visitors to this site likely know of a dozen Democrats eager to run in 2010 as a “real Democrat” against Goddard. Those Democrats should be cheering for Goddard.

    And yes, the Dem Team needs the Blue Dogs but Sanford Bishop and Heath Shuler went to Denver while Marshall did not. Palin is right about “thinning the herd.”

  14. tobin smith says:

    Interestingly, Marshall has not accepted debates or interviews in his district for quite some time. He is either taking this race for granted, or is too tire or lazy to really campaign. His campaign thus far has consisted of acting like there is no campaign.

    He is between a rock and a hard place. If he speaks he ticks off the Democrat base because he does not actively support Obama. And if he has to answer questions in a debate he runs the risk of alienating more conservative voters because he is a Democrat and does vote for the Speaker.

    Poor Jim. He just has to hope he can cross the finish line without having to lift a finger. I predict this will be his closest race yet and that Goddard may actually take him out.

    There are some Democrats who are voting for Goddard just to send Jim a message.

    And we all know his wife wants him back home and out of politics anyway.

  15. RuralDem says:

    slyram,

    If going to the Convention makes one a “real democrat” then, well, you and the other “progressives” that share this view should consider joining the Greens or something.

    I’m so sick of hearing that “real democrat” argument. Some “progressives” have this view that anyone who even puts their toe on the centrist line on ONE issue is automatically bad.

    Icarus,

    Anyone with some sense would know a “progressive” cannot win that district. It’s like me saying Gene Taylor could win in John Lewis’ district.

    Some people seem to have this view that as long as the district is represented by a D or R, anyone with a D or R next to their name can win.

    In many districts that might be true, but it’s certainly not true in Marshall’s district.

  16. slyram says:

    Icarus, maybe not, but it is not always about winning. Sometimes they need to realize that the district is not for you. It’s the American way. I would love to see Senator Obama as president because I like his plans but the people will decide and I respect that.

    Don’t get me wrong; Marshall is impressive but I watch the White Democrats congressman from Georgia of the early 90s retire or lose after the redistricting (including my boss.) Great men who stood with the Dem team when defeat was imminent.

    To be honest, I would like prefer seeing Goddard be civil to President Obama than watch Marshall act cold. You must be thinking: who says Goddard would be civil to a Dem President. That is the question but know that the blueprint for a Goddard victory is obvious: moderate the rhetoric and get the center. If you don’t believe me, take a look at McCain.

    Tobin, remember Marshall is Princeton smart; he did not debate that Nowak guy for the same reason you can’t find a picture of him with Obama.

    But, he must do the GPTV debate. “Send him a message” Please, send him to the crib or let McCain make him Ag Sec.

  17. RuralDem says:

    So, what about the state legislators that did not attend? Not because they lost in the delegate selection, but because they never ran in the first place?

    Are they “real Democrats” or not?

  18. Icarus says:

    “but it is not always about winning.”

    I was young and idealistic once. Not so much any more. This is politics. Losers get no vote in a representative democracy.

    As an example, the Senators from Maine give the Republican base fits. But they’re voting the wishes of the people of Maine. Rick Santorem voted the way the base wanted. 60% of his voters threw him overboard.

    When you start to let the great be the enemy of the good, you become a minority party.

    Over even worse, the Libertarians.

  19. atlantaman says:

    There are actually 2 competing representative philosophies.

    1. You have a core values and beliefs. You campaign on those values, and make the voters aware of them at every opportunity, and then vote those values no matter you think your district wants.

    2. After you are elected you try to take the pulse of your district and vote according to how the majority of folks would want you to vote. You’re quite willing to compromise your political values and beliefs.

    I’m not sure which philosophy is better as far as representation. I know #2 is better for staying in office.

    I know the philosophical debate is naive and simple, but in a perfect world it’s an interesting discussion.

  20. tobin smith says:

    I won’t support a coward who only wants to stay in office and who will violate his own true beliefs. Keeping an office should never be the true goal, but keeping the faith.

    Marshall is no Democrat, but neither does he really hold the views he represents in DC. He is a true liberal, but he is willing to be a hypocrite to keep his job and get a cushy congressional retirement. He will eventually be asked whether he will vote for Obama and it will be interesting to hear his response.

    His wife is tired of having to walk this find line and run these tight and difficult races. I am going to help bring him home and I know many others who feel the same.

  21. Icarus says:

    I’m looking at it more from the electorate’s point of view. I’m not suggesting anyone go against their core values. I’m suggesting that a lot of folks, in both parties, would be better off if they realized that a friend that agrees with you 80% of the time is still your friend, and better to have on your side than someone who is against you 80% of the time.

  22. tobin smith says:

    Ordinarily I would agree. But Marshall will not even accept debates where he can discuss important issues and help shape the opinions of the people who are electing him.

    He hides in the shadows and just hopes that he will not have to say anything and that his luck will hold out one more time.

    I’ve worked for him in the past, but no longer. We don’t get his vote in DC most of the time anyway, so why not at least get someone else to run for that seat in two years. I don’t think there will be much difference with Goddard there.

  23. midtown_maven says:

    RuralDem has it right.

    Democrats are ruled by the inside the 285-perimeter crowd, and they double down in every primary.

    Georgia is a RED state but not necessarilly a REPUBLICAN state.

  24. rugby fan says:

    “He will eventually be asked whether he will vote for Obama and it will be interesting to hear his response.”

    “My vote is private.”

    Not that hard to imagine…

  25. rugby fan says:

    “Democrats are ruled by the inside the 285-perimeter crowd, and they double down in every primary.”

    DuBose, Robert Brown, Calvin, Tim Golden, and Jane are from inside 285 (same with Thurmond and Templeton)? Moreover, 66% of their Constitutional officers are from outside 285.

    and they double down in every primary.

    Mark and Cathy are from inside 285?

    Wow, the things you can learn…

  26. midtown_maven says:

    Figure of speech my friend.
    Keep trying to win back that majority, you’ll get there.

    Who elected Jim Martin? Rural or urban, progressive or moderate Democrats?

  27. rugby fan says:

    No that was called a lie or a flat out exaggeration.

    I’m not trying to win back anything for anyone.

    Frankly I don’t know or care who elected Jim Martin. I’ve never voted for him and likely never will.

  28. midtown_maven says:

    Oh please, calling someone a liar on the internet.

    Try this, take all the Democrats who got elected with votes inside the perimeter.

    Now what is left? Who has more power in the party? The inside the perimeter crowd.

  29. rugby fan says:

    Now what is left? Who has more power in the party?

    Well if I understand your scenario correctly, you would be left with the Democrats who can actually affect legislation so I would say the OTP crowd.

    Maybe you are saying which activists have more influence, to which I say, who cares about activists.

  30. SkylerA says:

    I don’t know what polling you’re seeing, but out of the low approval ratings Congress has, its the Republican’s with the lowest.

    Democrats will make MAJOR gains in Congress this year, even if we lose the White House, because almost 70% of American’s favor divided Government.

    Democrats have won all three special elections, where we even captured Speaker Hastert’s district in Illinois. Its the first time in American History the opposition party of the President has one three consecutive special election’s to Congress.

    You can look at slanted polling all you want, but I can promise you that Democrats will make major gains in the House and Senate, and that Rep. Barrow and Marshall will hold onto their seats, handily.

    Even the GOP leadership is admitting it…http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/10/gop-rep-obama-could-destr_n_111842.html

  31. bpolitical says:

    In assessing these races, I believe many people are missing the trees for the forest. From my recent observations, GA-8 and GA-12 are very much in play. These Congressional seats, afterall, are decided on the local level; not by some intangible lead democrats may hold on the national level. Case in point: while the Democrats won over 40 Congressional seats in 2006 general election, John Barrow in GA-12 barely escaped defeat by a paltry 800 votes (out of 140,000). GA-12, that year, was the closest congressional race in the entire nation.

    Once again, just as in 2006, GA-12 seems vulnerable. The two major urban centers, Augusta and Savannah, may not be able to pull the weight they did for Barrow back in 2006. This year, voter turnout in our state will be extremely high not only in the cities but in suburban and rural counties as well. Statistically, Republicans do better in races where voter turnout is up. The GOP will typically pick up 2-5 percent of the vote in election cycles with high voter turnout.

    John Stone, the Republican candidate seeking to unseat John Barrow has, interestingly, run his campaign using guerilla-style tactics. Although he does have a SIGNIFICANT cash disadvantage compared to Barrow, Stone is making a connection with suburban and rural voters. This demographic may very well be the voter group that hands him the 12th district seat. A recent poll conducted for the 12th district race shows Stone and Barrow in a dead heat race. Of course, it is impossible to predict the effect of television ads. In my view, Democrats should not be celebrate a victory quite yet.

    As theses races stand today, I am not convinced that the current Democratic congressmen in these two highly competitive districts have re-election in the bag.

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