Depressing news from Georgia

Last week, I reported on polls by Trafalgar that had Sens. Perdue and Loeffler leading in their Georgia Senate races. But this week, Trafalgar shows both Republicans to be trailing — Loeffler by about a point and Perdue by about 2 (3 if you include “leaners”).

I asked my Georgia source, a well-placed state Republican who correctly predicted the Georgia outcomes in November, for his view from the ground. I was hoping for reassurance. Instead, I got this:

All of the oxygen has been sucked out of the room by the continued controversy around the November election. Loeffler and Perdue both almost immediately called for the resignation of the Georgia Secretary of State, the RNC and State GOP have filed suit against the Secretary of State, and there is growing tension among many elected officials over what exactly happened in November, and who, if anyone, is to blame.

This continued fighting (Georgia GOP vs Secretary of State, POTUS vs. Governor, etc) has led to a lot of Republicans telling me they are not going to vote in January. It seems to be some sort of righteous protest on their part—wanting to teach Republicans a lesson for either a) not doing enough to change election procedures for the January election or b) not doing enough to “fight for Trump.”

In fact, Democrats have placed billboards all over metro Atlanta stating “Loeffler and Perdue didn’t fight for Trump, don’t fight for them.” As you can imagine, every tv break, mailbox trip, and drive to the store has the election ads front and center.

The current trend lines actually show Republicans faring better than they did in early voting in November (trailing by less than they did at this point in the November election), but that also banks on historic strong turnout on election day from Republicans, which may not come this year because of frustrations noted above.

Absentee by mail voting once again appears to be much higher than any other year, and the controversial settlement agreement made by the SoS with the DPG and DCCC is still in place. Election observers are still unable to meaningfully observe the signature match process (often in another room or 50’-100’ away from the table where the match is happening), the newly implemented drop boxes have been expanded, and today Stacey Abrams’ sister halted elector eligibility challenges allowed under Georgia law. We have had 80,000 new voters register for the runoff, no doubt some number of them “moving” here just to vote and then leave.

Georgia is going to be ground zero for election reform battles in 2021. Signature match, no excuse absentee voting, national change of address list maintenance, election observer access, and much more will all be on the table when the legislature returns for session in just over two weeks.

Until then, if the election was held today, I return to my November prediction—slight advantage Democrats. If Republicans can get to rowing the boat in the same direction, they likely can pull it off, but time is running out.

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