South Georgia in Play?

That is precisely what a recent article in the AJC suggests. You may recall, I blogged about a similar notion a few weeks ago.

Both candidates acknowledge that Middle and South Georgia will be prime battlegrounds for the next three months.

Barnes has spent more than an average of two days a week in the region since winning the nomination. He’s spread his attention out, too, visiting Savannah, Tattnall County, Vidalia, Beaver Creek, Waynesboro, Dublin, Thomasville, Houston County, Donaldsonville, Bainbridge, Homerville and Enigma.

“Middle and South Georgia have been a part of our focus since Day One,” Barnes campaign manager Chris Carpenter said. “… We feel like a pivotal part of the electorate is in Middle and South Georgia, and that Roy’s message of making Georgia work appeals to those voters.”

Deal hasn’t spent as much time in the region as Barnes, but that will change, Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said. The Deal campaign understands how important the region is.

“You can no longer just carry metro Atlanta and waltz into the Governor’s Mansion,” Robinson said. “The entire state is now a battleground.”

I’m going to go out on a limb here and argue with those fine people. South Georgia isn’t key to victory, it is an important piece of the puzzle but the key is turnout. The numbers just are not present in extreme North Georgia and South Georgia to clinch victory. Deal’s spokesman has the right idea of the entire state as a battleground – because that is what winning a state-wide election here has become. A campaign can’t just write off a county because of population or demographics.

Hurdle One, however, is getting voters to turn out. A strong showing of metro and a weak showing of rural Georgia will cancel all these efforts out. On top of everything else, this is a midterm election with typically lower turnout. These statewide campaigns are going to have to fight to get people to the polls and then fight for every vote they can get.

19 comments

    • Ron Daniels says:

      You can carry North and South Georgia and lose the election because you didn’t get votes in metro.

      I don’t question the importance of South Georgia. I just posit that turnout is the more important thing to concentrate on – no matter where in the state they come from.

  1. Jane says:

    The 2nd, 8th, and to a lesser extent the 12th congressional districts are in play at the congressional level. If Barnes carries these districts he will probably save these congressman. However even if Barnes win most of South and Central Georgia, he will still lose the election. The metro suburbs are Tea Party angry and will vote GOP blindly without giving the Democrats any consideration. The problem Barnes will have is that South Georgia wants a Governor who has a background in Agriculture. Barnes does not, but Deal can at least fake knowledge about raising chickens.

  2. Progressive Dem says:

    I believe people all over the state will turnout for the governor’s race. It won’t just be tea partiers either. Even the most casual observer knows that governor’s job is in play, the differences are large, and that if Barnes is elected it will be a watershed event.

    • Doug Grammer says:

      It’s going to be a watershed event either way. I wish it were here sooner so I could find out how many congressman and senators the GOP will pick up nationally, how many from Georgia, and if we will win every statewide race in Georgia.

  3. slyram says:

    This weekend, Rep. Elijah Cummings said the elections should be surgically and I thought about Chambliss winning his senate seat with a detailed plan. If my memory is correct, Ralph Reed was head of the Georgia GOP and outlined a strategy that included not running anyone against certain congressional Democrats with the logic that some Democrat voters would not care if their guy wasn’t endangered.

    Smart move and I thought the same thing this year about Isakson, his warchest and his vast statewide network. Jane is correct about the congressional seats in our state that are on the table. We can’t pick with the logic “if some must go, who should it be?” Ron is right about turnout and I would add that if or since the election is a referendum to some degree on this White House, a surprising number of people who would normally skip a mid-term will be out and Democrats who run from Obama might find surgical voting. The whole thing is a two-edge sword: you rally some folks to the battle while waking others who were sleeping.

    I am not sure about Southeast Georgia but Sowega is going to out there…big time. I almost feel that some pockets of the region was lobbying for the type congressional district they want to be in under the next map.

  4. Bulldog1 says:

    I think you are going to see a VERY high turnout among rural conservative voters. In the 8th district, even die hard Democrats are upset with Jim Marshall and his support of the Washington regime of Pelosi’s VERY liberal agenda with Obama.

    I don’t think that will necessarily transfer into support for either Barnes or Deal. People namely rural conservative voters and teachers have not forgotten how Barnes crossed them before. These same voters are very cautious about Deal and his ethics.

    My prediction- Marshall comes home in a very big upset, Bishop either survives or goes home by the “skin of his teeth”, Governor’s race either way 50/50 (Barnes’ money and adds did not help him last time)

    • Ha, you might want to check with die hard democrats before you speak with them. Most of them that I know either support Marshall because they understand he’s a conservative Democrat and doesn’t see things the exact same way that Hank Johnson and John Lewis do, or they are mad at him for not towing the party line.

      I know of almost 0 die hard democrats who are mad at Marshall for voting with the Dems too much.

  5. Jace Walden says:

    Ron,
    Not to beat a dead horse, but: Republican State. Republican Year. No, South Georgia is NOT in play.

      • Jace Walden says:

        I’m arguing with anyone who is buying into this ridiculous notion that Roy Barnes has a chance of winning this race.

        Which includes you, because as you said, you blogged about a similar notion a week or so ago.

        • Ron Daniels says:

          Let me include an excerpt from the post from a few weeks ago,

          While I do not expect the land of the red clay and gnats to decide the outcome of November’s elections – in any race – I do think we are about to witness all of the Statewide candidates making a strong grab for whatever they can get from down here.

          Similar notion does not mean equivocal statements. I think what I said is on point and factual given what the AJC has posted. Whether or not Barnes has a chance doesn’t factor into what I have said. Candidates are making grabs for votes, anywhere they can get them – and particularly the two candidates for Governor are making grabs in South Georgia.

          We’ve gone through this before – I think Barnes has a small chance of upsetting Deal. You think he has no chance. I don’t think my position is that unreasonable, but apparently you do. That’s fine, this is politics – people disagree of minuscule degrees of the same idea all the time.

  6. Doug Grammer says:

    I will agree that South Georgia is in play. I think Bishop and Marshall can be beaten. More would be nice, but I am content to start there.

    • Jace Walden says:

      Yes. I agree with Doug Grammer once again.

      If we define “in play” as “Democratic seats are in grave danger” then yes, South Georgia is in play.

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