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.”