Georgia On All Our Minds by Tom Reynolds
In the 100 seat Senate, political parties need 51 seats for control. (The Vice President breaks ties.) After the election, Republicans have 48 for sure and 1 that is almost certain and 1 that is highly probable for a 50 total. Democrats have 48 for sure. The two remaining undecided seats are both in Georgia.
A Senate candidate in Georgia must win 50% of the vote or there is a runoff election between the top two candidates. There were two Senate elections in Georgia (one a special election) and no candidate won 50% in either election. So, there will be two Senate seats on the line in a January election. The Republicans need one victory to maintain control while Democrats need a sweep of both.
In one election, Republican David Perdue leads by 90,000 votes with 49.8%. His challenger, Democrat John Ossoff, got 47.9% of the vote. The rest (115,000 votes, 2.3%) went to Libertarian Shane Hazel. So, one immediate question is: where will Hazel’s voters go, (if they don’t sit out the January election)?
Hazel is a Marine combat vet who supports 2A. He was a former Republican who was disenchanted with the party and became a Libertarian (but he did not become a Democrat). His web site has a mix of positions but would seem to lean Republican. However, did his supporters vote for him or against a major party; and if so, which party?
If exactly the same people vote in the special election that voted in the recent one, the Republican needs only 13,000 of the 116,000 who voted for Hazel. Of course, exactly the same people won’t be voting for exactly the same party.
The other election is a real mixed bag. Democrat Raphael Warnock got 32.9% of the vote (1,612,000). There were two major Republican candidates totaled 2,254,000 total votes (45.9%). Of the three major candidates, the two Republicans led by 642,000 votes. But there were 1,040,000 votes (21.2%) that went to 16 other candidates and some of these other candidates also identified as Republicans or Democrats!
All candidates who identified as Republicans got a combined total of 2,425,000. All Democrat candidates totaled 2,341,000. There were about 134,000 votes that went to other candidates; primarily Independents and 1 Libertarian.
50% of the total votes would have been 2,450,000. Therefore, Republicans need 25,000 of the 134,000 votes and Democrats need 109,000 of the 134,000 votes, if the same people vote in the same way they just did. But of course, exactly the same people will not vote for exactly the same party.
While every voter should have been aware that the majority in the Senate hung in the balance, it has now hit them like a 2 by 4 as to how important their Senate vote will be and that may change some votes.
Republicans will probably emphasize that winning Georgia would allow the Democrats to implement their radical agenda while Democrats will emphasize that winning Georgia allows them to implement their agenda and reverse the Trump agenda. Under this scenario, will moderate Democrats be afraid of the radical left’s agenda and either: not vote or vote Republican? Will more Republicans be motivated to vote in order to stop the radical left? Under this scenario, very few Republicans will change their vote to a vote for the radical Democrat agenda. But they have to show up!
Will Republicans show up? What will turnout be like? Given the importance of this race, there will be multi-millions of dollars spent and turnout should be heavier than a normal for a Senate only race. But will turnout rise to the level of the just completed race, when presidential candidates were on it?
Will gun rights be an issue, given the huge increases in NICS checks and gun sales, especially sales to first time gun owners?
The Senate Majority Leader has huge powers to determine what gets done (or not done). Expect Republicans to emphasize that this is election is between Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell and New York’s Chuck Schumer for Majority Leader. Do Georgians want a New York Liberal dictating policy to Georgia? Democrats may try to offset that by bringing up the recent Supreme Court fight, which may or may not help them.
Democrats are threatening to admit Puerto Rico and Washington DC as states with, presumably, all Democrat Senators in those two states. They need a Senate majority to do that. How will that play?
Democrats also threaten to pack the Supreme Court. Republicans will use this to motivate Republicans while many Democrats have polled a bit negatively towards this power grab and it may demotivate them.
Unfortunately, the election is two months away.