Last week, Charlie briefly mentioned the potential entry of Ebenezer Baptist Church pastor Raphael Warnock as a Democratic candidate running against Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson in 2016. The AJC’s Greg Bluestein explained the Moral Mondays leader’s thoughts about the race as told to his congregation on Sunday, and Jim Galloway describes Senator Isakson’s reaction to a potential Warnock challenge in today’s column.
Does Dr. Warnock have a realistic shot at unseating Isakson, who has $4 million in his campaign account, and who has been actively campaigning since announcing his re-election bid less than two weeks after ballots were counted for the 2014 election? Charlie doesn’t think so, but according to this story in the Huffington Post, Justin Barasky of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee wants to believe there’s a chance:
“As Georgia’s demographics continue to change in our favor, Democrats are excited about running a strong campaign against Sen. Isakson in a presidential election year, and we’re confident that this will be one of the most competitive states in the country in 2016,” he said.
Georgia’s House minority leader, Stacey Abrams, who has attracted similar amounts of buzz, said Warnock “will be a formidable candidate” should he jump into the race. Abrams founded a voter registration group called the New Georgia Project two years ago to reach out to the hundreds of thousands of unregistered voters in a state where African-Americans make up about 30 percent of registered voters. (As Newsweek pointed out, 80 percent of those who moved to Georgia between 2000 and 2010 were nonwhite.)
Elsewhere in the HuffPo story, after recapping the David Perdue Michelle Nunn Senate race from last year, there’s this:
One question is whether a Warnock bid could sufficiently energize Democrats in the Peach State, which has remained red despite recent demographic changes. The higher turnout that generally comes with a presidential election could also make for a friendlier electorate: President Barack Obama came within five points of John McCain in 2008.
So is this really a bunch of Democrats blowing smoke about their chances in 2016, or is there a real possibility that the demographic changes that are supposed to turn Georgia blue could come to pass next year?