Cook Political Report moves GA-8 to “toss-up”

Charlie Cook is impressed by the internal polling from Austin Scott’s campaign, so much so that he has moved GA-8 to a “toss-up”:

Like clockwork, this southern Georgia district almost always becomes a huge headache for Democrats in midterm cycles when African-American turnout goes down. In 2002 and 2006, Marshall took just 51 percent of the vote (in 2004 and 2008, he received 63 percent and 57 percent respectively). Now, a new poll taken for GOP state Rep. Austin Scott’s nascent campaign by American Viewpoint shows Scott trailing Marshall 44 percent to 39 percent, a pretty strong initial finding for the challenger considering he comes from the less populous southern end of the district. Scott’s initial fundraising ($250,000 in his first quarter campaigning) also suggests he will be able to keep pace with Marshall.

More than just polling, numbers from the late July primary are flashing warning signs for Marshall, who has taken pains to vote against the Democratic leadership this Congress but voted for the banks bailout in 2008. In the 2006 primary, Marshall received 33,133 votes to 30,749 for his GOP opposition. This year, Marshall took just 28,819 votes compared to 42,378 for the combined Republican field, suggesting a broad partisan enthusiasm gap. Republican insiders admit this race will come down to Macon, where Marshall was mayor and Scott is undefined. But if other districts in rural Georgia are even slight headaches for Democrats, this one will be a migraine.

GA-2 and GA-12 are still listed as “Likely Democratic.”


      • Jace Walden says:

        If the GOP can’t knock of Marshall this time around, then they might as well just hang it up. The conditions have never been more favorable (and might never be more favorable) for a GOP takeover.

        Republican State.
        Conservative District.
        Great Candidate

        This is your last best chance GOP!

  1. Tyler says:

    One thing that’s different about the race is that Austin chose to place his HQ in Macon rather than Warner Robins. His name recognition in Bibb has increased as a result.

    This race is heating up and I’m loving the numbers coming in this early. Austin has a tenacious campaign team that will fight till the bell rings.

  2. John Konop says:

    What I like must about Austin is he not only is he a very smart guy but he is an outsider not part of the Washington insider club! We need more like Austin in Washington.

    • Lady Thinker says:

      I agree John. I can’t wait to see the fireworks Austin provokes. Too bad he is running for that position rather than in Isakson’s or Chambliss’s place.

  3. EverythingZenX21 says:

    As soon as this comes to light, the Keown will likely be at Young Gun status by the NRCC.

    Representative Sanford Bishop (D-GA):

    • Under Investigation by: The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).
    • Under Investigation for: The GBI launched an investigation into a youth program for which Rep. Bishop has earmarked almost $200,000.1 The “Junior Marshall” program employed Rep. Stanford’s step-daughter and her husband.
    • Status: In the first quarter of 2009, Rep. Bishop paid $25,000 in legal fees. In March 2009, a GBI special agent stated, “The FBI is aware of it, but there is not a criminal investigation at this time.

    • jeff says:

      I know this probably isn’t the right thread but you missed some info I think people would find important. According financial disclosures on the FEC website, Sanford Bishop’s campaign didn’t just pay $25,000 in legal fees in March 2009. They also paid $30,000 on 6/5/09, $30,000 on 7/2/09, $31,000 on 1/6/2010, and $30,000 on 5/17/2010. Since March 2009 Sanford Bishop’s campaign has paid $146,000 to Greenberg Traurig, LLP for legal fees. That is not all however, if you look at Sanford Bishop’s personal financial disclosure filed with the Office of the Clerk on 5/13/2010 he lists a personal liability to Greenberg Traurig, LLP for an amount between $250,001 and $500,000. He has paid $146,000 but still owes at least $250,001. Those are some serious legal fees. Looks like he is trying to hide something.

  4. I think the most overlooked part of the poll is that Austin Scott leads Jim Marshall by double digits among those who know both names. Despite the fact that this is somewhat skewed by Republicans having more people who know both candidates, it still indicates that Austin Scott will gain as his name recognition increases and Marshall will shed voters.

    If Austin Scott raises enough money to be competitive, then he will win this race. He has a good staff put together and fundraising has been a real positive.

    • polisavvy says:

      Now that Cook has declared the race a toss-up, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the NRCC send some significant funds his way. Between Austin, his staff, and his supporters/volunteers — they are everywhere. The name recognition is most definitely getting out there.

      • Hi Poli,

        I’m also hoping for significant support from Republicans in safe seats. This is an important race needs to be treated as such. Simply being able to get a majority in the US House means setting the agenda, and that alone makes GA-8 important.

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