Predictions And Random Observations OPEN THREAD

Post your predictions here. A few of mine, along with some random thoughts:

I continue to believe that Karen Handel is in a runoff for Governor. I frankly have no idea who she’s going to face. I have a hard time believing the polls that Ox has fallen as far and fast as they say. Two reasons that it could be true:

1) His support has always been a mile wide but an inch deep, and
2) His decision to go exclusively negative during the final week.

Consequently, Eric Johnson may have been the primary beneficiary of Deal and Ox going exclusively negative. Anyone turned off by them but not willing to vote Handel may have become an EJ voter courtesy of Ox and Deal’s media buys. I still think most late polls over-correct.

My gut tells me that it’s 1) Handel, then Ox and Deal within 2% of each other, with Johnson close but still 4th. Frankly, Georgia is better served if it’s Handel vs. Johnson. The Republican Party is better served if it’s Handel vs. Oxendine. A quote I’ll steal from a good friend: “John Oxendine is the one man that can unite the GA Republican Party. Unfortunately, it is not in the way he would want.”

Gut call: Handel vs. Oxendine.

I’ll admit my gut may be affected by that being the matchup I want. And as I was writing this, I received some data indicating late deciders are breaking between Handel and Deal.

I’ve compared this race to Alabama once before. 2nd and 3rd place were decided by about 140 votes. It could be a late night.

I’m very interested in looking at the power of the “grassroots” vs the power of the establishment, and there are two races that I will use as proxies: SOS and Insurance Commissioner.

I think there are a bunch of candidates fighting to be in a runoff with Maria Sheffield right now. She needs to hope that my gut is wrong, and that Ox isn’t in the runoff if she is. Same for Tim Echols. Woe to all of them if all three are in a runoff. They just created a “ticket” for their opponants, and they won’t be on the winning side of it.

I think Mark Butler’s robocalls raised his name ID more than he ever hoped it would. The name ID appears to be 100% negative, however.

I’m interested to see if Clay Cox was able to retain his outsider/insider coalition. He should be close to winning GA-7 without a runoff.

Likewise, I’m looking to see how many votes Tom Graves picked out of Hall, Dawson, and Lumpkin now that he’s establishement in GA-9, and how many he loses in Dade and Catoosa to Steve Tarvin for that same reason. Graves finishes a strong first. I still think Tarvin may be in 2nd this time around. Not 100% sure there’s a runoff here, however.

Austin Scott skates easily in GA-8.

GA-12 has been completely off our radar, but I’m thinking Ray McKinney is the decided front runner, though that race has gotten more interesting in the last week.

Several State Senators are facing primaries. Wiles and Hill have received scares. Balfour doesn’t want any more tough questions. Mullis isn’t scared. All four probably return.

Gwinnett has a lot of house races being contested. Josh Clark vs. Wayne Hill is the battle to watch old guard/new blood. I expect Josh, Buzz, and Brett Harrell in the house from the Gwinnett delegation next year.

I won’t pretend to know what’s going on in the Democratic primary, with one exception. It appears that the Barnes Machine wants Ken Hodges to beef up turnout in SW GA. It’s an interesting proposition as the top of the ticket appears to be based on gender/racial diversity, while the down ballot races appear to be centered geographicly on Middle and South GA. By taking on Hodges, however, the Dems cede ethics as a major November issue.



  1. Karen Handel – 32%
    Eric Johnson – 24%
    Nathan Deal – 19%
    John Oxendine – 15%
    Jeff Chapman – 7%
    Ray McBerry – 2%
    Otis Putnam – 1%

    Handel/Johnson runoff.

    • AthensRepublican says:

      Gov- Handel vs. Johnson in run-off (maybe Deal though)/Barnes wins without a runoff
      SS-Kemp wins- No clue on Dems
      AG- Olens in a run-off with Wood/Teilhet wins
      Ins Comm-Hudgens in a run-off with Harp or Sheffield
      Sch Sup- Barge wins/no clue on Dems
      Ag Comm-Black wins
      Labor-Everson wins/Coleman wins
      PSC- Brush and Douglas in a run-off (though just a guess here, I really have no feel for it)
      8th Cong Dist- Scott wins

    • KingWulfgar says:

      I think you overestimate Ox’s slump. If he does fall to 3rd or even 4th, it will only be by a few points. I believe he’ll stay in second.

      But, I guess there’s no harm in wishful thinking.

  2. Chris says:

    I would not be surprised to go to bed praising God above that Handel won today without a run-off.

    Otherwise, I think its Handel/Deal, with Deal winning in three weeks and Barnes as the next governor.

      • Chris says:

        The Ox and EJ people won’t back her in the run-off. Unless she’s got a much, much better GOTV than Deal, she’s toast.

        • CobbGOPer says:

          They’ll stay home rather than get motivated for one of the 10 most corrupt members of Congress.

          • biagio bruno says:

            Interesting point. Nobody has attacked Deal yet have they? — bad press but no attacks. I wonder how he would make out in a runoff if Handel really went negative.

            Not much left to say about Handel at this point.

            • CobbGOPer says:

              If it’s Deal who makes it, expect mail and ads with that line “Top 10 Most Corrupt in Congress” a lot. Trust me. If Handel’s the top vote-getter today, she takes it easy in 20 days.

              Plus, look at the history of runoffs in this state: it’s been like 100 years since a second-place finisher has overcome the top candidate in a runoff. Everyone says “oh, but it’s possible if Deal/Ox/EJ gets the supporters of the others who didn’t make it.” That’s never what happens. The other folks either go with the top vote-getter in the runoff, since there’s a built in sense of wanting to pick the winner, or they stay home ’cause their guy didn’t make it in the first place.

              • Doug Grammer says:

                It depends on how close it is. Less than 5%, the second place finisher can come from behind. more than 10%, it’s a lot tougher. It will also depend on who is in the run off.

              • USA1 says:

                Plus, look at the history of runoffs in this state: it’s been like 100 years since a second-place finisher has overcome the top candidate in a runoff.

                Uh, it’s not been 100 years. It’s more like two years. In 2008 Vernon Jones finished first in the U.S. Senate Democratic primary but Jim Martin defeated him in the runoff. And that’s just one I remember off the top of my head.

                • Gonzo ATL Guy says:

                  Didn’t Paul Coverdell beat Fowler in a runoff after coming in second in the general election? And didn’t Mary Norwood come in first against Reed, Borders, et al, but then lose in the runoff?

  3. Romegaguy says:

    I heard Ray McBerry was happy to hear that schools were being used as polling places but disappointed when he learned that no kids would be there. Who knows what he will do with the truck loads of puppies he bought for today

  4. vladimir says:

    I’ll go with these numbers:
    Karen Handel – 26%
    Eric Johnson – 21%
    Nathan Deal – 20%
    John Oxendine – 18%
    Otis Putnam – 0%

    EJ wins the runoff, then beats Roy Barnes, and becomes Georgia next Governor.

    If OX/KH runoff Handel is a winner, but loses to Barnes. If D.R/KH runoff Handel wins and loses to Barnes.

    Good luck, Georgia!

  5. vladimir says:

    What I’m saying is Barnes has 70% probability to become the next Governor, EJ – 30%, and the rest of the bunch – 0%

        • Agreed, he could start it. But then he’d have to deal with all these pesky ballot access laws. I’d like to see him push to overturn them if he wins in November.

          • Doug Grammer says:

            I would think that Barnes would have the following and organizational skills to get that done as a Whig.

              • Doug Grammer says:

                Because he said he’d be a member if the Whig Party if he could. He could have, he just chose to lie to show how in the middle of the political spectrum he is. He’s a Democrat, the same party of President Barak Obama, and he can’t run far enough or fast enough from that.

      • USA1 says:

        If he earned respect from any so-called conservatives, then they either don’t know what the Whigs stood for, or are not limited-government conservatives in any sense.

  6. John Konop says:

    If Karen is the candidate the GOP has a good chance against Barnes. If Karen is not than it will be self inflected wound by the base and Barnes will send a thank you card.

    • B Balz says:

      So goes the prevailing thought processes ‘roun heah, for the last six months. Not everyone got that memo, I’m just saying….

        • B Balz says:

          I may be proven wrong with a predicted 32% Ox turnout.
          Past that Handle above Deal, or vice versa, with EJ getting “Most Improved” and breaking into the the mid-teens. (Hold the jokes on you know who.)

          It gets to what Mr. Grammer stated about that 5% mark in a runoff. If Ms. Handel is all-in at 28% it will be close. If the roles are reversed, Mr. Oxendine at 28%, he has a lot of stuff he has already ‘revealed’.

          Who wins the runoff vote? READ: For OX; negative would be the ‘check’ and positive would be his Contract. Handel; negative would be about 120K things, positive would be her platform . . . . .

          I stated early on that I did not think that the issues Mr. Oxendine had in February would sink him. The campaign donation ‘irregularities” will be beaten into voters, but there may be enough plausible deniability for it not to matter. The money was returned immediately. The rest of it is nonsense, frankly.

          He has a Contract be it as it is, and has had a very strong Statewide campaign running for quite awhile. The effect of helping so many people with their insurance problems for so long, cannot be discounted.

          I have not heard one person say, “I never got relief from the Insurance Commissioner.” In fact I have heard A LOT to the contrary.

          So why can’t Mr. Oxendine prevail against Roy? I think history will repeat and the masses will vote OX, perhaps some holding their noses, over Roy. If there is enough anti-Obama in the polls, Roy will suffer. His previous track record and the ‘retread Roy” moniker are going to be hard to shake. I just never bought into the premise the poll leader for the entire campaign would just crumble.

          Finally, I am guessing the Libertarian Party will see a record turnout, still not enough, yet.

          The hour grows near, my band of merry men and I have exit polls to conduct. May the best candidates win.

          • Chris says:

            “I just never bought into the premise the poll leader for the entire campaign would just crumble.”

            three words: Fred Dalton Thompson.

            Who in 2007, besides Bull Moose, would have predicted McCain would get the nomination?

  7. vladimir says:

    Another bit of useful stats – expectations and active members/supporters

    Celebration Party Tonight:

    take part yes/maybe

    KH – 156/170
    EJ – 116/176

    OX/DR – no parties expected

    Handel has more active supporters, but undecideds are split pretty equally.

  8. GOPwits says:

    I think Handel is in the lead by at least 10-15 points with Deal and Ox in a dead heat for second place… They may spend a week fighting to see who won that second place spot…

  9. vladimir says:

    Handel loses to Barnes because there’s not much difference between them two other than than Roy is a stronger and Karen is a weaker version of the same… Voter will go for the real and known. Besides Karen is too close to Sonny’s statius quo.

  10. Doug Deal says:

    Handel 37%
    Deal 21%
    Ox 19%
    Johnson 16%
    Others 7%

    Ox makes the big mistake of not understanding how runoff systems work and failing to attack Deal when he had the chance.

    To much uncertainty to predict the other races.

  11. Sandy Brothers says:

    Every two to four years Republicans eat their own and do the homework for the Dems by showing them our rearends. But I just don’t buy this “so and so’s voters will never support the other candidate if he or she wins.” That never really happens. Some said the Reed supporters would not bak Cagle, but they did. If Karen Handel wins she will get the support she needs to beat King Roy. There is a legitimate question as to which candidate Barnes has the best chance of beating. Ox is at the top of that list obviously. Deal and Johnson will have targets because of ethics questions, legitimate or not. I think Handel is our best bet, but I’ll support our nominee and those who say others won’t do the same don’t have a clue.

  12. Jane says:

    Eric Johnson, in you heart you know is right.

    If Handel gets into a run-off against Ox, it will be the Crook against the Moderate and the conservatives will pick the Crook. Barnes will run as an honest candidate and win. If Handel wins the run-off, Barnes will run to the right and he will win again because enough former Conservative Dem will come back to the Dem party to give him an edge. If Johnson wins the run-off, it will be an easier race for the GOP to win in the General.

    • WCHeadhunter says:

      I totally agree. If Handel goes into a run-off with Ox or Deal it will be a disaster for republicans. Roy Barnes will have the whole state pointing and laughing at both of the candidates as they cover each other in mud and slime.

  13. Gonzo ATL Guy says:

    Handel is in the runoff, but it’s too close to call until Thursday between Deal and Johnson. They each teeter around 18%, while Handel gets 38%. Ox winds up with single digits. (I don’t think he ever really had any support, just a pile of money raised from people who were paying for access. And those people won’t be happy about wasting their money.)

    Ox has himself to blame for the meltdown in the past week. Calling himself an outsider in his commercials when he has been a State elected leader for so many years came across as a man who would say anything to get elected at least, but most likely an admission of incompetence. The Lauren Geary interview will be studied for years because it showed so many things a candidate should never do the week the voters go to the polls.

    Barnes at 49.8%, but forced into a run0ff against Porter. Barnes does not recover from this and Porter wins the runoff, because even the Dems realize Barnes is unelectable. (Barnes has set himself up in a way that anything other than over 50% will look like a loss.) People don’t want incumbants and are afraid of candidates who have raised buckets of money, as they are the old-school candidates the average voter is trying to get rid of! Barnes smells on both counts. The only think that might save him are Reps crossing ranks to vote for him in the hopes that he is the easiest candidate to beat in November.

  14. Straight Talking Jim says:

    Oxendine wins with no runoff. There will be a Barnes/Baker or Barnes/Porter runoff.

  15. Kellie says:

    I voted at the Gainesville Civic Center at 4:40 and they had only had 300+ voters out of 15,000+ that are registered. That surprises me since this is Deal’s hometown.

      • Kellie says:

        No they don’t include early voters but that was light in Hall county. At friend of mine voted at 5:30 in another city polling place and she was number 299 there.

    • AlanR says:

      Thanks for the insight. That’s not good for Deal. Wheres the voter turnout.

      Good to see your post. You’ve been missed.

  16. chefdavid says:

    I will bite on the Ox line. With low voter turn out I can see him coming in second to Handel. In the last few months a lot of us have tend to forgotten how faithful the Ox cult is. If they are mobilized I can see them as one of the top two. I didn’t vote for either. I can also see Cagle winning the Republican Primary.

    • WCHeadhunter says:

      I think low turnout hurts Ox rather than helps him. In every poll it seems very few have ‘no opinion’. In other words everyone has heard his name and in a low voter turnout scenario name recognition doesn’t help as much.

  17. Oz says:

    Most of the people I’ve talked to are voting for Handel / Deal.

    Once the primary is done, expect about 50 pieces of mail about Handel giving benefits to gays.

    Deal wins the runoff and then Barnes wins the whole thing (sadly for me).

    Voted for Deal today. Will vote for Handel in the runoff.

  18. flyonthewall says:

    Handel/Deal….Deal wins in three weeks…and no, I am not smoking crack.

    Let’s assume for a second Karen wins with 28-32%…split the difference…30%? Where does she get the other 20% in a runoff 3 weeks out? Eric likely endorses Deal (at a minimum let’s his folks go to push for Nathan). No science here, but I can’t imagine less than 70-75% of Johnson supporters that do return to vote in the runoff likely break to Deal.

    Exactly what portion of Ox’s supporter that do ultimately do return to vote in the runoff does Karen get? I can’t imagine more than a quarter.

    The perception of Karen by the rest, justifiably or not, is that she is clearly the least “conservative” of these four candidates. She also has a huge geographic issue to deal with. The overwhelming majority (i am not saying all) of her support is in the metro area, while both Deal and Johnson have their support in regions that Karen may get sporadic support, but will not make any significant waves.

    I don’t know where the majority of this board resides geographically, so this statement is not targeted at this board or any posters here, but rather is a general statement made figuratively. Far too many republican/conservatives from the metro-Atlanta area disregard or overlook South and North Georgia (especially in the primary). The fact of the matter is that N. Ga accounts for about 25% of the republican primary and while S. Ga. account for significantly less than that, it becomes significant when added to the overwhelming support that Nathan will recieve from N. Ga. That leaves the Ox supporters that will basically serve as a the swing group during the runoff.

    If they break to Nathan in a majority, I don’t see how Karen beats him. Further, other outside factors could include notorious poor turnouts for N. Fulton in runoffs and a potential Congressional runoff in the 9th.

    In my very humble opinion it’s as simple as Johnson and Deal being the only two candidates that can beat Roy, because Karen simply will not get North or South Georgia support in a general. Those voters will break to Roy in huge numbers.

    Geography matters and in this case it favors Deal and Johnson. For the record all these arguements apply to a certain extent to Johnson if he get’s in the runoff (assuming Deal then endorses Johnson).

  19. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    I predict that we the people are screwed. The republicans in control have doubled spending. They have served special interest an when they were not pandering to lobbyist they were down at Motel 6 screwing them. Our republican governor leaves office with an ethics violation, I think the first in Georgia history. And look at the republicans jockeying for his seat. Basically more of the same. Lipstick on a pig. Get ready for the possible nightmare. Governor Barnes. The republicans did everything they could to make it happen. I also predict that the right middle side of this page will soon be blank.

    • B Balz says:

      The People are screwed regardless. Wake up and smell the ersatz coffee, pally.

      The middle class is on the Endangered Species list.

  20. Doctor Death says:

    Look like your gut was Wrong Icarus, you and all your McGinnitie lovin, spineless, sapsuckers. Your predictions, like your version of truth, is COMPLETELY WRONG!

    • EllaPatriot says:

      Doctor — seriously?!?! It is better to have tried and lost then to never have tried at all. Just becuase someone is wrong in their predictions doesnt mean you need to be namecalling.

      This election was very strange in a bunch of races — not at all where it looked like it was going.

  21. Red Phillips says:

    All those predicting a Barnes victory in Nov. need to look at the Rep vs. Dem turnout. Almost 2 to 1. Doesn’t bode well for the Dems. Anyway, I’ll be voting for the Libertarian in the general as a protest.

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