Charlie Cook On #GASEN

July 25, 2014 10:12 am

by Charlie · 14 comments

The Cook Political Report has a lengthy update on where the race for control of the US Senate stands today.  Quick summary is that things are looking pretty good nationally for Republicans.  In Georgia, he expects a tight race:

The field in Georgia is finally set. Businessman David Perdue won the Republican run-off on Tuesday, beating U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston. The Democratic nominee is Michelle Nunn, the former CEO of he Points of Light Foundation and the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn. Nunn has had this race to herself for a year, which has allowed her to build an organization and a hefty bank account. On the flip side, she hasn’t rally been tested by any engagement with Republicans. That will change very soon. Democrats are happy to have Perdue as a challenger, contending that his record as a CEO of numerous companies gives them plenty of ammunition. He was also somewhat gaffe prone during the primary, although he exhibited more discipline in the run-off.

Not surprisingly, Nunn starts the general election with a lead over Perdue. According to theHuffPollster trend line, Nunn is ahead of Perdue, 44.8 percent to 42.9 percent.

This race is just days old and needs some time to develop, but expect a close contest.

Takeaway:  as expected, this race will be watched by a whole lot of people not living in Georgia.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Harry July 25, 2014 at 10:15 am

This is why Democrats shouldn’t get ahead of themselves on social policies and immigration “reform”
http://www.businessinsider.com/the-one-number-that-will-decide-this-years-election-2014-7

Ralph July 25, 2014 at 10:34 am

Not a professional pundit, but I predict that soon after Labor Day Perdue will be ahead in the polls and continue to expand his lead until elected by a landslide margin. The electorate opinions now are wide and thin, and currently reflect the competitive primary and runoff brutality. Campaigning (including a lot of outside money) will take hold in September and October, Republican turnout will be higher with the mid-term effect and dissatifaction with Obama and the Democratic Senate/ Harry Reid, Georgia is a red state without a single Democrat elected to state-wide office in a decade, and a CEO of several corportations with two degrees from Georgia universities has a stronger resume. Of course, these things will have to overcome the liberal media (mostly the AJC) that strongly backs Democrat Nunn.

TheEiger July 25, 2014 at 10:39 am

I tend to agree with you on your assessment, but you are leaving out one key component that could hurt Perdue. That’s a ethically challenged Governor with a strong candidate running against him at the top of the ticket with Perdue. This could drive down turnout on the GOP side.

Bridget Cantrell July 25, 2014 at 10:37 am

So… our race won’t really affect the control of the Senate either way, right? i.e. the naming of the majority leader doesn’t really hinge on whether we elect a Dem or Repub?

Charlie July 25, 2014 at 10:43 am

Actually, quite the opposite. At the end of the long read from Cook there is this:

The Bottom Line: We give Republicans about a 50-50 chance of taking the majority. They are halfway there, but picking up the other three seats won’t be easy. They can afford to lose one of their own seats and still have a chance at 51 seats, but they can’t lose both Georgia and Kentucky.

Bridget Cantrell July 25, 2014 at 10:45 am

Maybe the GAGOP should turn their support towards Kentucky?? ;)

BUT…McConnell vs Grimes will be an awesome race.

http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2014-kentucky-senate-mcconnell-vs-grimes

Her fun video with her grandmothers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Zn4LWSexl8

Salmo July 25, 2014 at 11:35 am

I’m guessing that absent any major gaffes by Perdue, this will be Nunn’s high water mark. Right now she’s only had a few PAC-funded attack ads against her and is otherwise just running as “Sam’s daughter”. We’ve also got a good number of Republican activists who are still a little sore over losing Kingston. Perdue is really going to need Jack to get out in front of his rural base and explain to people (in person) how important it is (potential control of the Senate) to show up and vote for Perdue. I’ve seen several places where South Georgians are already saying they would’ve voted for Kingston but are now voting for Nunn because they’re afraid that he won’t represent the “other Georgia”, something that Saxby was well-known for doing. Perdue is going to need to quickly get out in front of this Atlanta-based paranoia and nip it in the bud.

I’m thinking he’ll be able to do that (he can point out that since she was six years old, she’s lived in DC and Atlanta), and you’ll see a slow and steady climb to a 55-45 win in November for Perdue.

FranInAtlanta July 25, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Talk about Georgia being watched from out of state – I have a Dem friend in Idaho and, bright and early Wednesday morning, he was posting (from dailykos) what was wrong with Perdue and it concentrated on his business experience.
My take is that the people of Georgia will not easily understand someone making $200K plus as the head of a non-profit, BUT I already have a cousin from South Georgia who has posted why we should support Michelle Nunn.
In the regular primary, there were several who saw both Perdue and Kingston as “unAtlanta” reps – Perdue grew up south of Macon and lives there now. Perdue does need Kingston – and, if Kingston does right, I think he can get the nomination if Johnny retires.

northside101 July 25, 2014 at 12:50 pm

55 is too high for Perdue. Libertarian candidate will get maybe 3 or 4 percent of the vote. Obama got slightly over 45 in the state last time with no effort here, so Nunn she be able to come within (at a minimum) a few points of that—maybe a “rock bottom” of 42-43 percent for her. I suspect if both Deal and Perdue were offered 53 percent today, they would take it (say 53-43 and 4 for the Libertarian). 53-43-4 was the 2010 margin in the race for governor between Deal and Barnes and the Libertarian.

But I agree with Salmo about the rural base—that and areas outside metro Atlanta really are the deciders in a general election in Georgia. Metro Atlanta (now up to 29 counties, believe it or not) narrowly backed Obama in 2008 and 2012 (thanks to huge Obama margins in the Democratic tripod—Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton) but McCain (2008) and Romney (2012) won handily in the other 40%+ of Georgia to take the state in their respective contests. In 2002, Sonny Perdue and Barnes ran about even in metro Atlanta, but of course the rest of the state went big for Perdue. It should not be hard for Nunn to break even (at least) in metro Atlanta—she will win easily in the tripod, will also win increasingly Democratic Douglas, Newton and Rockdale Counties along I-20 (all 3 of which backed Obama in both 2008 and 2012), may break even in Henry (where Romney got just 51 last time) and can probably get into the mid 40s in Cobb and Gwinnett (where almost all the growth these days is minority). If Georgia were just metro Atlanta, a Democrat would be the odds-on favorite to win this November. But of course it is not.

If you look at the statewide races by congressional district, Nunn and Jason Carter of course win the 4 majority-black ones (CD 2 in southwest Georgia and CD 4, 5 and 13 in metro Atlanta). But neither is going to win statewide by carrying just those 4 districts. And Romney won each of the state’s other 10 districts by 10 points or more. And the views of the majority of voters in those 10 districts are likely to differ from those of Ms. Nunn’s neighbors in very liberal Inman Park.

The Last Democrat in Georgia July 25, 2014 at 4:48 pm

It’s the traditionally overwhelmingly predominantly white outer-suburban counties in metro Atlanta where the minority population is growing much faster than whites (Henry, Newton, Rockdale, Douglas, Gwinnett, Cobb) that the GAGOP very seriously needs to be concerned about….Maximized Dem voter turnout in those counties could give the GAGOP fits.

Dave Bearse July 25, 2014 at 7:47 pm

I think of Georgia as a 55-45 GOP-Dem state and figure Georgia Libertarians would go at least 2:1 for the GOP if there wasn’t a libertarian candidate. Do you think Nunn is a weaker candidate than Perdue, or the Dem turnout will be low, to explain Nunn’s 42-43%, or some combination thereof?

The Last Democrat in Georgia July 25, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Nunn would have to totally implode to get only 42-43%….Though with the concern that Deal’s troubles could potentially spillover into the Senate race and with Nunn being highly-attractive to female voters, it might be dangerous for Republicans to assume that Nunn will only garner 42-43%.

Bobloblaw July 25, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Id say there is a strong likelihood of a runoff. It will be interesting to see how well the Libertarian candidate does now that Boortz isn’t around anymore.

The Last Democrat in Georgia July 25, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Though I’m not a fan of Sonny Perdue’s gubernatorial legacy, I’m very concerned about any potential fallout from Deal’s ethics issues possibly spilling over into the Senate race….I’m also concerned about Nunn taking too much of the female vote.