The latest update from Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics contemplates the runoff possibilities for both the Georgia Governor and Georgia Senate races.
The brouhaha over Governor Deal’s involvement in the affairs of the ethics commission could raise the possibility of a runoff in that race:
With ethics troubles making his life more difficult, Gov. Nathan Deal (R) may not be able to win in November; that is, he might have to win in a December runoff. Deal’s problems, which also include lingering frustration with the state’s response to ice storms this past winter, might push some voters toward Libertarian Andrew Hunt, a former tech company CEO. In a June SurveyUSA poll, Hunt garnered 7%. Hunt could send the race into overtime, so to speak, if he helps keep either Deal or his opponent, state Sen. Jason Carter (D), from winning a majority. Should that happen, a Dec. 2 runoff looms. Nonetheless, unless Deal’s problems get even worse (which they could), he would likely be positioned to win that runoff, which would almost certainly feature lower turnout than the November general election.
No matter whether David Perdue or Jack Kingston wins the GOP Senate runoff on Tuesday, there’s a possibility of a runoff there as well:
There, Libertarian Amanda Swafford could have a similar impact to that of her fellow party member Andrew Hunt, winning enough of the vote to throw the contest into overtime. In fact, Swafford, a former town council member in suburban Atlanta, polled at 6% in that same SurveyUSA poll where Hunt pulled 7%.
The federal judge’s decision to extend the amount of time between elections and runoffs will have an impact on runoffs in the general election. That’s because the nine weeks he mandated only applies to federal races. State and local races could continue as they have in the past, allowing three weeks between election and runoff. The legislature set the date of the primary and its runoff the same for both federal and state races in order to save money from having to hold two separate elections. Smart move, given we have a statewide runoff ballot for the federal Senate race and the state’s school superintendent race.
For possible runoffs in the November elections, legislators rolled the dice the other way, declaring the state runoff date to be Dwecember 2nd, five days after the country celebrates Thanksgiving. The Senate runoff, if required, would be on January 6th, five days after the country celebrates the new year. That’s also three business days after the new Congress convenes on the 2nd.
Most of the campaign operatives I’ve talked to from races still to be decided hate (that’s not too strong a word) the longer time period between election and runoff. Trying to sneak a little time away from the campaign in order to open presents on Christmas morning, or to watch a bowl game is something nobody is looking forward to.
But, it’s a possibility. And one that could be made much worse if control of the Senate rests on the results of a Georgia Senate runoff election held in January.