Kasim Reed, Your US Senator?

January 28, 2013 8:30 am

by Stefan · 35 comments

Kasim Reed.

Why he’d run: He is effectively the leader of the Democratic Party of Georgia. He’s probably tired of not being able to accomplish the big ideas the city needs because of the financial roadblocks the state lays in the way. Additionally, legislative positions are lovely because you get to pick your priorities in a way that executives cannot. He could raise money without declaring by continuing to campaign for reelection (different cycle and level of race so wouldn’t require resignation  at any point).
Why he wouldn’t: It is too soon for him and the state. While Georgia is trending Democratic, it isn’t there yet. He has made strides as Mayor and is generally well -regarded, but he doesn’t have that one big accomplishment he needs to put down on his resume. Being a reasonable effective and not overtly corrupt big-city mayor is not quite enough – but maybe two terms of that plus the Beltline would be.
Why he’d win: His presence in the Democratic Primary would keep anyone else who could actually raise money out of it. He’s come into the General with 2 million at a minimum in hand against the survivor of a nasty slugfest from the Republican primary (or even runoff). The winner has burnished/developed his/her conservative philosophy to the point where actual Philistines are looking for a more reasonable choice. The Republican Senate Campaign Committee is fighting a multi-front war and doesn’t appreciate the threat quickly enough and is late with its media buy, and Kasim’s positives hit 60. Republican nominee’s knee-jerk reaction is a social attack based on the Reed’s bachelorhood repeating the Lipstick Alley type allegations combined with his support for gay marriage and it backfires. 51-45 with the Libertarian taking 6.
Why he’d lose: He’d win the Democratic primary without a real challenge, but in the general, the flack from the continued airport scandal, combined with the natural dislike of anything Atlanta and strong connection to Obama (whose popularity has suffered with his mandatory gun buy back program and the now-emboldened rampaging deer which have made Atlanta’s northern suburbs unsafe at night) would be his undoing. His stance on gay marriage is just a bonus, but ultimately he barely breaks 40%. His sadness is softened by whispers that John Lewis won’t be running for reelection in 2016.
But what if he did?
Depends a bit on how he did it. If he resigned or declined to run for reelection in 2013 in order to focus on the 2014 Senate race, a mad scramble would ensue. Mary Norwood proved in 2009 that the city of Atlanta electorate has diversified to the point that it is anyone’s race. Had Norwood been a little more grounded in that race, she could have pulled out a win. Her post-2009 decisions probably have eliminated her from the conversation but her run changed the way the Mayor’s race is viewed and widens the field of prospective candidates.
Caesar Mitchell: Would he? Definitely. Caesar is City Council President, the second highest position in City of Atlanta Government,, has citywide recognition, and has done an excellent job of generating positive associations with his positioning on issues. He always appears rational and his somewhat populist leanings serve him well. He would be the early favorite, unless…
Clark Howard: Yes, seriously. He flirted with a run in 2009 before deciding against it. His policy perspective on his show would lead a listener to believe that a Congressional position would be more to his liking, but it is Mayor he has mentioned specifically when asked about political ambitions. He could raise a fair bit of money, however, would he? Being able to call people for money is what separates paper candidates from real ones and if you’ve never done it before it could be a challenge. Many media types who could not self-fund were sacrificed on the finance altar early on and Clark may be another one. He would be the early favorite based on positive name ID.
Lisa Borders: The on again, off again, Mayoral candidate from 2009 could be back in the game for this rodeo. However, her funding base didn’t return to the race when she did in 2009 and likely won’t come back now.
Kwanza Hall: If you are a City Council candidate who voted for the pay increase of nearly 50% earlier this year, you can forget running for Mayor and might face a tough time keeping your seat. Not in that camp is Kwanza Hall. Kwanza’s intown coalition is waiting for an opportunity to fund him, he is acceptable to Buckhead voters  and he has a civil rights pedigree. He would be second choice if he decides to hop in the race, but if Caesar declares for Mayor, City Council President may be too tempting.
atlanta_advocate January 28, 2013 at 8:36 am

Kasim Reed’s coming out for gay marriage was a signal that he was not going to run for statewide office in Georgia.

As for the continuing airport scandal, I am sorry but I honestly am not familiar with that despite checking the AJC several times daily as well as listening to local talk radio on occasion. Can you fill me in? Thanks.

mpierce January 28, 2013 at 9:05 am
mpierce January 28, 2013 at 9:08 am
WeymanCWannamakerJr January 28, 2013 at 2:49 pm

The AJC is almost always late to the table and nibbles like a girl on a first date on anything to do with the airport. It has traditionally been the mayoral office’s primary source of baksheesh predating the neon Fly Delta Jets sign. Kasim simply inherited a long-standing tradition that has kept everyone mostly happy with the exception of Bill Campbell who just got a little too greedy.

northside101 January 28, 2013 at 8:41 am

I agree with AA—problem Democrats have is lack of appeal in rural Georgia, which is the icing on the cake for Republicans statewide. He would have to win big in 28-county metro Atlanta area—breaking even would not do—to offset inevitable big losses in the 20% or so of voters from rural Georgia. And no Democrat has won an open statewide contest in Georgia since 1998 (when Barnes, Taylor and some others were elected). Plus Obama lost the state by over 300,000 votes last November. No doubt Republicans would tie Reed to Obama—not a good place to be for a Democratic candidate in the Deep South.

Ed January 28, 2013 at 9:01 am

“Obama lost the state by over 300,000 votes last November”

More than 9 million people live in Georgia and not even 4 million voted (IIRC).

Just throwing that out there…

The Last Democrat in Georgia January 28, 2013 at 9:45 am

Actually, more than 10 MILLION people supposedly live in Georgia now as the state supposedly eclipsed the 10 million-inhabitant mark sometime this month.
http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2013/01/02/georgia-soon-to-be-no-8-most-populous.html
“The Peach State’s population should reach 10,020,000 by Jan. 27, ranking it the No. 8 most populous state.”

Three Jack January 28, 2013 at 9:09 am

Democrats have a viable candidate, State Rep. Scott Holcomb – District 81. Kasim Reed might be the most recognizable name, but Holcomb would have a much better chance if he can generate enough funding for a serious statewide race.

Stefan January 28, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I imagine he’d jump into the Congressional race when Price goes for Senate. That’s a more realistic race for him.

The Last Democrat in Georgia January 28, 2013 at 9:38 am

“Kasim Reed, Your US Senator?”

…Only in some kind of potent drug-fueled psychotic hallucinogenic daydream…Keep dreaming Democrats…

The most recent demographic numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau actually say that Georgia should be highly-competitive for the Democrats (like Maryland competitive) as the State of Georgia has a non-white population of nearly 45% which is comparable to that of the Democrat-dominated Northeastern/Mid-Atlantic state of Maryland which has a non-white population of just under 46%.
(White persons not Hispanic, percent, 2011 …Georgia: 55.5% …USA: 63.4%)
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13000.html
(White persons not Hispanic, percent, 2011 …Maryland: 54.4% …USA: 63.4%)
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/24000.html

Compare the non-white demographics of Republican-dominated Georgia (45% non-white) and Democrat-dominated Maryland (46% non-white) with the non-white demographics of Upper South-Atlantic swing states Virginia and North Carolina where non-whites each makeup 35% of the population and it becomes crystal clear just how much Georgia Democrats have vastly-underperformed in an increasingly diverse state where the demographics are clearly in their advantage against a Georgia GOP that hasn’t exactly been what one could call “robust” as of late.
(White persons not Hispanic, percent, 2011 …Virginia: 64.5%…USA: 63.4%)
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/51000.html
(White persons not Hispanic, percent, 2011 …North Carolina: 65.0% …USA: 63.4%)
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/37000.html

Despite what everyone keeps saying, that it’ll be at least a decade before Democrats are competitive in Georgia, the demographic numbers say that Democrats should already be extremely-competitive in Georgia, if not even dominant in some quarters.

With the numbers clearly in their favor, dare I say that Democrats could have this state if they REALLY wanted it, here in the 2010′s instead of waiting until the late 2020′s?

It’s not a highly-dysfunctional Republican Party that is standing in the way of Democrats being successful in Georgia. The only thing keeping the ‘Crats from being highly-competitive, if not somewhat dominant, in Georgia is the total lack of organization at the statewide level, ESPECIALLY in Metro Atlanta where the evolving demographics of many traditionally predominantly-white outer-suburban counties like Rockdale (59% non-white population), Republican-stronghold Gwinnett (57% non-white), Douglas (51% non-white), Henry (48% non-white), Newton (48% non-white) and even Republican bastion Cobb (44% non-white) are looking highly-favorable for the currently bottom-feeding ‘Crats.

Noway January 28, 2013 at 11:03 am

Kasim won’t win because no black candidate has ever won the top job. If a man like Andrew Young, with his pedigree and the resume he brought to the table couldn’t do it, Kasim doesn’t have a fantasy of even a prayer.

Noway January 28, 2013 at 11:06 am

Actually, thinking back, I confused the offices we’re talking about. But perhaps the same rationale might apply.

Ed January 28, 2013 at 12:33 pm

“Kasim won’t win because no black candidate has ever won the top job.”

You know this is a fallacy, don’t you?

Noway January 28, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Well, historically it hasn’t been, Ed. Name me a black candidate who’s won the governorship or US senate seat thusfar. Now, it could change in 2014, but it won’t.

Noway January 28, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Like I wrote earlier, Andrew Young, who was about the most qualified guy out there, couldn’t win against Zell back in the day. I don’t know what that says about GA voters but Young is a stud qualifications wise and he couldn’t break through.

The Last Democrat in Georgia January 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm

What it says about Georgia voters is that Andrew Young was a liberal black guy from an urban environment in the City of Atlanta and Zell Miller was a conservative white country boy from a rural environment in the North Georgia Mountains.

In a state that has been predominantly white and predominantly rural and conservative for much of its existence (up until very recently) the overwhelming majority of voters, most of whom hail from rural-to-exurban-to-outer suburban environments, were going to able to personally relate to the conservative rural white guy much better than they could the liberal urban black guy.

The fact that more voters would vote for Miller because he was a conservative rural white guy that the majority of the electorate could relate to was a matter of simple numbers and demographics, demographics that up until recently were overwhelmingly white (rural, exurban, suburban white) and conservative.

Those predominantly-white demographics that may have favored conservative rural and suburban Democrats and then rural and suburban Republicans for much of the duration of this state’s political history are now rapidly changing in favor of urban Democrats at at shocking rate.

Which means that what may have been the case with black urban liberal candidates like Kasim Reed not even having the remotest shot at winning statewide office will increasingly likely not be the case moving forward.

I mean, for crying out loud, historically-rural Georgia now has a racial demographic makeup that is virtually the same as urban Northeastern Democrat-dominated Maryland. If that doesn’t set-off warning signals for Georgia Republicans, I don’t know what does!

The Last Democrat in Georgia January 28, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Reed can’t win now (in 2014) because the Democrats don’t have anywhere near the organization needed to even compete, despite Georgia having racial demographics that are shockingly similar to Democrat-dominated Maryland.

Though, one can reason that Reed and the ‘Crats don’t need to try and compete now with wholly inadequate resources for U.S. Senate seats that will likely automatically be theirs due to a demographic tsunami before 2030.

I’ve heard political onlookers remark that a Hillary Clinton run for President in 2016 could be trouble for Georgia Republicans because the Clintons may want to spend money and build (or rebuild, depending on your viewpoint) the long-dormant Democrat Party organization in a State of Georgia (45% non-white population) whose racial demographics are quite similar to that of Democrat-dominated Maryland (46% non-white population).

The race demographic numbers say that the overwhelmingly-dominant Georgia Republicans, who now enjoy a virtual supermajority in the Georgia Legislature and occupy all statewide offices, could be in a bit of trouble, especially if the Democrats ever decide that they want to take advantage of the state’s increasing diversity and continued sky-high population growth rates.

Heck, one of the state’s historically most reliably Republican counties, fast-growing Gwinnett has grown into being one of the nation’s most-diverse counties with whites now only making up just over 40% of the population of a county where whites were over 90% of the population just about 20 years ago.

If (or more likely WHEN) Gwinnett goes, it will be a sign that what we may currently think is politically impossible has become possible.
If (when) Gwinnett (57% non-white) goes blue, currently Republican bastion Cobb (44% non-white) likely won’t be all that far behind as Douglas (51% non-white), Newton (48% non-white) and Rockdale (59% non-white) have already turned blue as those formerly predominantly-white and predominantly-Republican outer-suburban counties went for Obama in 2012.

If Georgia Republicans are not careful, their current era of dominance will give way to leftist lawmakers like State Senator Donzella James of Atlanta at the 00:30 mark of this video:
http://www.gpb.org/prime-time-lawmakers/video/2013/gun-rights-and-the-democratic-agenda
“State Senator Donzella James of Atlanta explains her reasoning behind her legislation that would ban assault weapons. She tells us what should happen to existing assault weapons and their owners if her legislation becomes law….”
“….You don’t need an assault weapon to go hunting, you don’t need an assault weapon in your home…They need to have a buy-back and they need to turn them in and, because, why do they need them? Why do they need them? It’s not necessary. So we can’t go into an individual’s homes and take their weapons, of course, but we can encourage.”

…Notice how Democrat State Senator James aims her legislation, not at murderous criminals who use weapons illegally, but squarely at law-abiding gun owners who legally possess their weapons.
Yeah….These are the anti-2nd Amendment gun-grabbing nuts who will be in charge if (likely when) the Republicans screw this up. Bone chilling…Very scary, indeed.

gcp January 28, 2013 at 9:42 am

Look for Vernon Jones to run also.

Noway January 28, 2013 at 10:23 am

He may run but he has no chance. He wont even be the nominee and if he were he’d get less that Denise Magette (?) did against Isakson.

saltycracker January 28, 2013 at 10:24 am

Interesting analysis – Clark Howard’s name recognition on tightly controlled budgeting could attract a lot of crossover votes tired of politics as usual. Depending, depending on where he stands on many other key issues with Republicsns.

Noway January 28, 2013 at 10:36 am

I’d love to see Clark run. He’s popular ans smart as a whip. I don’t think it will happen, though. Why take the pay cut and have to deal with all of the personal attack crap that goes with politics.

saltycracker January 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm

He’d get a lot of tea thrown on him.

atlanta unfiltered January 28, 2013 at 10:50 am

“51-45 with the Libertarian taking 6.”

This adds up to 102 percent, which generally only happens in Telfair and Dodge counties.

Stefan January 28, 2013 at 3:09 pm

It was an unfunny polling joke about Libertarian overperformance. It wasn’t amusing in hindsight.

David C January 28, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Any Democrat worth his salt would hold on for 2016 anyway, with Presidential turnout demographics as opposed to the midterm ones, two additional years of demographic erosion of the Republicans’ strengths, and potentially a national Presidential campaign behind them. Four years ago, Jim Martin wasn’t that far behind Saxby on election day. I’m not convinced Isakson runs again and if he does he wouldn’t have Primary trouble. What makes Saxby so much more anathema to certain parts of the GOP base here than Isakson?

Also, why does no one speculate about Jim Marshall. I’ve always thought if he tried for it in ’08, he may well have snuck over the finish line vs. Chambliss

saltycracker January 28, 2013 at 1:40 pm

There are many things the Republicans can do to cause a shift – sone easy ones are to put some teeth into the Obamacare penalty, install private world checks & balances to address government benefit fraud, address government pensions and e-verify ALL employees…….look out !

Ed January 28, 2013 at 2:25 pm

“Four years ago, Jim Martin wasn’t that far behind Saxby on election day”

I keep telling people this and NO ONE listens… the race in 2008 was a once-in-a-lifetime extreme aberration. Do not draw any inferences from it…

Nonchalant January 28, 2013 at 4:28 pm

I see no future in a Democratic-ran state, and it looks to be one. Oh well, new horizons.

The Last Democrat in Georgia January 28, 2013 at 4:32 pm

See my post up above at 1:21 pm…I can already hear the first things that Georgia Democrats would say upon taking power in the Statehouse: “Turn in your guns and let me see your paycheck….”

Stefan January 28, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Totally, future generations will say, the Golden Years of Georgia were from 2002-2018, remember those? We lost a ton of jobs, failed to protect our rivers and streams, raised unemployment over the national average for the first time in many, many years, went overboard for special interests on bills involving immigrants and women, ethical problems galore, way overpaid for nuclear power, oh, and we didn’t have to follow any grammar rules. Those were the salad days.

The Last Democrat in Georgia January 28, 2013 at 8:15 pm

^ This bit of sarcasm from a member of a party that lost to Sonny Perdue, a man who has gone down as one of this state’s worst Governors, ever, TWICE and a party that could not beat the ethically-challenged (though comparately sane and competent when compared to Sonny Perdue) Nathan Deal.

Find some competent candidates to at least COMPETE against some of the most incompetent leadership this state has ever seen and then we’ll talk.
Until then, maybe you should keep quiet, seeing as though your party gets laughed off of the stage every time you try (and fail) to compete against these clowns.

Scott65 January 28, 2013 at 6:44 pm

I still say…if she could be talked into running, Carol Porter would be a perfect fit. She pulls the womans vote, she gets the urban vote (mostly for having a D after her name). I dont believe she has any ethics violations in the past. I thought maybe her husband would be a good fit, but she is very good at retail politics, and won over a lot of people when she ran for Lt Governor

The Last Democrat in Georgia January 28, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Porter, like many other Georgia Democrats, is way too nice, has too few statewide resources and would proceed to immediately get un-mercifully creamed by most any opposing Republican who is going to be campaigning like a “Bat-out-of-hell” coming out of a hotly-contested GOP Primary.

Though if you need a slightly-lukewarm body with a faint pulse to at least show up to provide some type of very-minimal resistance to keep the Republican nominee from running unopposed in the General Election, I guess that Porter is a good fit.

Sure, she got creamed by Cagle when she ran for Lt. Governor in 2010, but she is well-liked by people all across the political spectrum, though she, like any other Georgia Democrat would have absolutely no shot of winning that U.S. Senate seat in ’14.

The best that any Democrat could do in the 2014 Senate race is to attempt to lay a future foundation and provide some glimmer of hope of better times ahead for a Georgia Democrat Party that has been in total disarray while wandering deep in the political wilderness in recent years.

Scott65 January 28, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Plus…Reed wants to be Governor…not Senator…just watch and see. Not this upcoming, but next cycle after that

The Last Democrat in Georgia January 28, 2013 at 8:39 pm

I agree, but Reed has got A LOT of work to do to rebuild a Georgia Republican Party whose organization and party structure are pretty much completely non-existent at the statewide level, to have a legitimate and realistic shot at the Governor’s Mansion in 2018.

Reed’s seemingly impossible task of attempting to capture the Governor’s Mansion will be made even more difficult considering that he is likely to be running against one of two very-popular Republicans in either Casey Cagle, the leading vote-getter in the 2010 elections that you mentioned earlier in the reference to Carol Porter, who was at the very short-end of that overwhelming Cagle victory, or Sam Olens the popular Attorney General who has a lot of pull from his days as an exceedingly-competent and very well-liked Commission Chairman in highly-influential Cobb County and the politically-dominant I-75/I-575 Northwest Corridor (Cobb, Cherokee, Paulding counties).

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