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.