The races in Georgia

Last night, in discussing the state of the race to control the Senate, I cited an analysis by FiveThirtyEight. That analysis gives the GOP the edge in picking up a seat in Alabama, but the edge to Democrats in capturing seats in Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, Maine, and Iowa.

These results would give the Dems a 51-49 margin in the Senate.

I also noted that the Democrats could get to 52 seats by picking up one of the two contested seats in Georgia. Winning both would get them to 53.

One of the two Georgia races pits Sen. David Perdue against Jon Ossoff. The other involves Sen. Kelly Loeffler, Rep. Doug Collins (both Republicans), and Democrat Raphael Warnock.

In response to my post, a reader with whom I have corresponded over the years — a seasoned observer of, and participant in, Georgia politics — wrote:

The Loeffler/Collins/Warnock race (a “jungle primary” to replace Johnny Isakson until 2022) will go to a January runoff for sure.

The Perdue/Ossoff race may go to a runoff as there is a libertarian pulling about 1.5-2%.

By January, the Democrats might have a working majority locked up (we might even know who the winner of the presidential race is). But if they don’t, Georgia will become the center of the political universe — all the more so if both Georgia Senate seats are up for grabs.

I asked my correspondent how he assesses the Perdue-Ossoff race and the presidential race in Georgia. He responded that both races are “razor tight.” He noted the following:

Trump won [Georgia] by 5 points in 2016 [by] 200k votes. In 2018 Kemp won by 50k votes, getting 100k less than Trump while Abrams got 50k more than Hillary.

He also pointed out that the GOP has outpaced the Democrats in registering voters this year.

Taking everything into account, he thinks Perdue will win, but Trump will lose Georgia. He has observed a goodly number of reliable Republican voters who say they are disinclined to vote for the president because (irrationally, in my correspondent’s view) they are unhappy with his handling of the coronavirus.

Our reader concludes: “At this point, it’s a turnout game, but advantage Biden.”

Most polls of Georgia give Biden the lead. FiveThirtyEight says Biden has a 58 percent chance of carrying Georgia.

No Democratic presidential candidate has won in Georgia since 1992, when Bill Clinton edged out George H.W. Bush, 43.5 to 42.9. No Democratic presidential candidate has won a majority in Georgia since native son Jimmy Carter did it in 1980.