Bad weather and ethics charges, along with slow but steady trends in Democrats’ favors, have caused Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, to downgrade Gov. Nathan Deal’s chances for re-election.
The center now says that the governor’s seat is ‘Likely Republican’ instead of its previous ranking, ‘Safe Republican.’
“Responses to natural disasters or statewide crises can have a markedly positive or negative effect on governors, although Deal might’ve gotten a do-over of sorts with a smooth state handling of the second storm,” writes Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball. “Perhaps more seriously, Deal has been dogged by ethical questions in office, and there’s a possibility that they could be a liability in the fall. Assuming he defeats a pair of primary opponents, Deal is slated to face state Sen. Jason Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, in the fall.
“Democrats are banking on demographic changes in the Peach State to make these races competitive, and Georgia is slowly moving in the Democrats’ direction,” Kondik continues. “As one shrewd local observer told us, Atlanta’s suburbs, politically, are similar to Northern Virginia 15 years ago, and we know how Democratic that region has become. But for this year’s elections, the more important factor for Democratic statewide campaigns here is the quality of the Republican candidates. Carter needs Deal to be in trouble to win, and Michelle Nunn, a promising Senate candidate, is banking on a bad Republican nominee to emerge in the open U.S. Senate race.”