Category: 2014 Elections

Stacey Abrams, the New Georgia Project, and Winning Elections

Minority voter registration was one of the most hyped Democratic strategies of the 2014 Georgia election cycle. These new voters, it was presumed, would vote for Democratic candidates, and allow Michelle Nunn, Jason Carter and down-ballot Democratic candidates to prevail last November. In a MSNBC op-ed published in June 2014, former NAACP chairman Benjamin Jealous estimated that registering 60% of the previously unregistered black voting age population would be enough for the Democrats to win. Registering 60% of black, Asian and Hispanic non-voters would be enough to guarantee it.

House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams. Photo: Jon Richards
House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.
Photo: Jon Richards
The most visible voter registration effort was the New Georgia Project, an effort by House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams to register more minorities. Using paid canvassers, the group claimed it registered thousands of voters, but reports of fraud prompted Secretary of State Brian Kemp to file a lawsuit against the organization. As the voter registration deadline approached in October, the NGP claimed that 40,000 voter registration applications turned in by them had not been processed by local elections offices. And as election day approached with speculation that the senate and governor’s races could be extremely close, there was talk of post-election lawsuits.

Of course, the Republicans won the election by fairly wide margins, and memories of the New Georgia Project started to fade with the approach of the 2015 legislative session. That is, until Max Blau of Creative Loafing published his extensive investigation into the operations of the NGP earlier this week. But Blau’s essay is more than a postmortem of the voter registration effort; it is also an examination of Minority Leader Stacey Abrams’s actions leading up to the election. Read more

Our Opponents Are Not Our Enemies

David Barlow, a Fayette County Commissioner, has welcomed Pota Coston to the Fayette County Commission is a way that’d make anybody wonder if they’re welcome. Coston is the first black person to be elected to the Fayette County Commission. Barlow’s welcome refers to the Democrats as “Demoncrats” and calls them “evil.”

I am unsure if he next intends to burn a cross to keep Commissioner Coston warm in the Commission chambers.

This is really horrific coming from an elected official. Commissioner Barlow may be surprised to know, but the GOP did better with black and hispanic voters this year than any time in the past. His comments go a long way toward telling everyone that black and hispanic voters are not welcome with the Republican Party.

Equally troubling, Mr. Barlow says “conservative Christians have been unmercifully attacked by liberal demoncrats.” Note his spelling.

Jesus tells us to do under others as we’d like them to do to us. Does Commissioner Barlow want to be called a rethuglican? Oh wait . . . Republicans are. But Jesus said to turn the other cheek. Paul and Peter said to not seek revenge or to behave toward others in the negative ways they behave toward you.

We’re all sinners. We all like sheep go astray. But Commission Barlow could have set a great, Christian tone for this historic milestone in Fayette County. Instead, he behaved in the very way he is attacking others for behaving. He stooped to the level he accuses others of stooping.

I may not agree with Commissioner Coston on issues. We have never met. Being a Democrat, I doubt there is a lot we do agree on. But democratic organizations depend on respect between members of function properly for those they represent. Saying he prayed with the new commissioner really does not absolve Commissioner Barlow of the statement.

I hope he will apologize.

And perhaps Commissioner Barlow might want to take a deeper course in evangelizing, both politically and religiously. Christ said to go forth. Maybe Commissioner Barlow should go forth into Commissioner Coston’s district, spend time together, and understand the lives of others that do not look like him.

Is the Georgia Latino Vote Shifting to the GOP?

With both Nathan Deal and David Perdue winning with a wide margin, one has to wonder what happened to the Democratic Party of Georgia’s secret weapon, a.k.a. “minority voter turnout”. Did the anticipated voters not show up to the polls? Or did the Georgia Republican Party actually win a significant chunk of the minority voter share? Exit poll statistics of one demographic in particular seems to have surprised many.

From WABE:

National exit polls show Republican Governor Nathan Deal took 47 percent of Latino votes, while Republican Senator-elect David Perdue got 42 percent.

Compare that to the 2010 midterms, when Republicans nationally got about 34 percent of that demographic (Latino voting numbers were too small in 2008, the last time the state had a U.S. Senate race, for reliable polling data).

One could argue that the recent shift in Latino voting trends can be attributed to the Georgia Republican Party’s minority engagement efforts. Leo Smith, the Minority Engagement Director for the Georgia Republican Party is also quoted in the same article:

“When it comes to business opportunities and developing a personal economy, I think that our messaging really resonated,” said Leo Smith, who heads minority engagement for the Georgia Republican party.

Smith says the state GOP did virtually nothing to bring in Latinos in 2010, and looked to change that this time around. He said the party did a lot of outreach with the Latinos this year, speaking with community leaders, talking with Latino media and using Spanish messaging.

Leo Smith may actually be on to something here. A recent PewHispanic study shows that most Latino voters (49%) rate the economy as their number 1 issue, followed by health care (24%) and illegal immigration (16%). It is no secret that the economy was a key issue in the campaigns of Governor Deal and David Perdue. Is the recent Latino surge to the GOP a sign of things to come? Also, is the Republican Party’s fiscal platform enough to attract Latinos their way? Discuss.

Northwest Georgia: By The Numbers

It was a banner year for the Republicans. We gained seats in both chambers of Congress and won gubernatorial races that showed in pre-election polling that we wouldn’t win. Even here in Georgia, Republicans had the pleasant surprise to see a wide margin of victory in the top two races.

We did well. Statewide, we held a pretty good margin. However, the devil is always in the details. Northwest Georgia is traditionally a strong, conservative base for Republicans, but there are a few numbers that should be looked at and analyzed by Republican Party officials in our state: the trend for a few counties up here in northwest Georgia showed an increase in voter turnout, but a decrease in percentage points when compared to 2010. Those numbers didn’t decline due to the spirit of l/Libertarianism grabbing the hearts of folks. In fact, the number of votes for the Libertarian candidates in both the US Senate and gubernatorial races decreased when compared to 2010. I’ll use the numbers from my own county (Walker) to illustrate since the trends are similar in Dade, Catoosa, Chattooga, Floyd, and Whitfield.
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Libertarian Support Dissolves at the Polls

For all the speculation of a Libertarian candidate pushing two of the nation’s most-watched political races into a runoff, neither Andrew Hunt or Amanda Swafford were ever a factor in Tuesday night’s elections.

Libertarian support dissolved completely at the polls, allowing both Gov. Nathan Deal and David Perdue to cruise to comfortable victories.

As a result, Democrats in Georgia will continue to wander in the political wilderness for at least the next decade. Even with two election cycles between now and 2020, Democrats will not be able to gain enough clout under the Gold Dome to play an influential role in the next big political battle – redistricting, as mandated every time a Census is conducted.

For 2018, expect state Rep. Stacey Abrams and Secretary of State Brian Kemp to take their battle over voter registration to the governor’s race. Both have to be considered leading candidates in what will become an open gubernatorial contest in four years.

Why I Voted For Nathan Deal And David Perdue

Tomorrow is election day, but I have already cast my ballot. I’m obviously one of the resident Republican partisans here on Peach Pundit, but I just wanted to share my thoughts on why I voted for both Governor Nathan Deal and David Perdue.

Georgia has shown to be a very pro-business state, a fact that has been shown time and time and time again. That’s a point of pride for our state, and I believe that points to the leadership of Governor Deal and our state’s legislature. That’s something to think about. I know our governor doesn’t single-handily create jobs or spread out seeds that magically make businesses pop up all over the state, but he helps set the tone of what sort of policies should be implemented.

I know there are a lot of self-identifying Republicans (both implicit and explicit…that includes folks who show up to county party meetings on a regular basis, participate in the convention process, and/or get elected as officers in the Republican Party at some level) who have said that they will vote for the Libertarian candidate for Governor for various reasons. That’s fine. That’s your choice. You have the freedom to make up your mind since whomever you vote for is between you, the voting machine, and God. I will say, however, that if we see tomorrow evening or Wednesday morning with the headline “Another Carter Heads To Governor’s Mansion”, then you can expect a lot of conservative legislation coming from the Republican legislature will arrive on a Governor Carter’s desk to arrive DOA. If you’re a self-identifying Republican who is contemplating voting for the Libertarian, then you will only have yourself to blame if this scenario comes to fruition.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t think David Perdue had a shot at winning the Republican primary. He is a man who hasn’t been in the Republican ranks until he declared that he was running for Senator Saxby Chambliss’ seat. He’s positioned himself as an “outsider”, so now we have an “outsider” v. “outsider” campaign. Soon, one of them will no longer be an outsider. Michelle Nunn has stated that she would vote for the best Democratic leader that she believes would best get the job done. That’s a bit ambiguous, but that leaves enough room to say that she believes, in her judgment, the best Democrat to lead is Harry Reid. The same Harry Reid who has refused to bring up a large number of House bills for a vote in the upper chamber. Will David Perdue vote for Mitch McConnell as leader when the next Congress convenes in January? I’m not sure, and there’s a possibility he will, but that may not be an absolutely horrendous thing that folks have been crying about. (see the Mitch-Rand bromance that has blossomed this election cycle). When it comes right down to it, I would bet that David Perdue would vote for conservative legislation more often than Michelle Nunn would. Can I guarantee it? No, but party identification is a start.

If Republicans fail to retain control of either the governor’s mansion or the US Senate seat, then you can expect the Democratic National Committee to be licking their lips in 2016. They’ll see the Peach State ripe and ready to pick as another southern state that they can put back into their blue basket. Elections have consequences, and having a Democratic governor and/or US Senator would certainly have some ramifications for Georgia’s political landscape in the future.

It’s your choice. I encourage you to choose to vote Republican on Tuesday.

Early Voting Numbers

UPDATE: Final numbers released by the Secretary of State’s office:

General Statewide Turnout
Number of ballots cast: 939,136
Number of ballots voted in person: 846,118
Number of mail-in ballots returned: 93,018
Number of mail-in ballots outstanding: 32,223

Top 5 Counties With Highest Turnout
Fulton: 94,944
DeKalb: 80,502
Cobb: 68,966
Gwinnett: 55,090

Original post:

Let’s take a look at some early voting numbers. The Secretary of State’s office said that as of Thursday night…

The following is a cumulative summary of statewide advance in-person voting and vote-by-mail turnout as of the morning of October 31, 2014:

General Statewide Turnout
Number of ballots cast: 798,309
Number of ballots voted in person: 714,219
Number of mail-in ballots returned: 84,090
Number of mail-in ballots outstanding: 39,641

Top 5 Counties With Highest Turnout
Fulton: 79,065
DeKalb: 67,735
Cobb: 58,132
Gwinnett: 46,768
Henry: 26,466

At the Gwinnett GOP breakfast Saturday morning in Lawrenceville, Kemp said Friday’s voting across Georgia could top 100,000, so I would expect us to top 900,000 ballots cast at the close of advanced in person voting.

The folks at say this (full spreadsheet here): Read more

Final SurveyUSA Poll has Deal Up by Five; Perdue Up by Three

Governor Nathan Deal appears to be closing in on re-election without a runoff, according to a new SurveyUSA poll out this morning. The poll is one in a series commissioned by Atlanta’s 11Alive.

Deal leads Jason Carter, 47% to 42%, with Andrew Hunt and undecided voters each at 5%. Deal leads every age group except millennials, where he trails by 15 points. Deal and Carter split the female vote, with 45% each, and among those who have already voted, Deal has 51% to Carter’s 45%. The Libertarian, Hunt only gets 3% of those already voting, another sign that libertarian leaning Republicans may be voting GOP in order to avoid runoffs. Acording to the polling memo issued by SurveyUSA,

[S]hould Deal win by 5 points, and/or should Libertarian Andrew Hunt be held to less than 5% of the vote, a runoff will be avoided, and Deal will win his next term tomorrow, 11/04/14. Should Deal win by fewer than 5 points and/or should Hunt get 5% or more of the vote, a January 2015 [sic — runoff date would be December 2nd] runoff will follow. A Carter win would be an enormous upset, given these poll results.

Things are a bit closer in the Senate race. There David Perdue leads Michelle Nunn 47%-44%. Amanda Swafford has 5% and undecided voters make up the final 4%. Roughly the same number of people in each age group support Perdue as support Deal. Similarly, support for the two GOP candidates is similar among whites and African Americans. The difference making the Senate race closer than the Governor’s race is women voters. In the Senate race, Nunn leads Perdue by six points. Is a runoff likely?

Were Perdue to win the seat by 3 percentage points, and were Libertarian Amanda Swafford to get less than 3% of the vote, a runoff would be avoided and Perdue would win the seat outright tomorrow, 11/04/14. Were Perdue to win the seat by less than 3 percentage points, and/or were Swafford to receive more than 3 percent of the vote, a January 2015 runoff would be required. Were Nunn to win the seat, and only a narrow Nunn win would be consistent with these results, that would be a significant upset.

In down ballot races, Casey Cagle leads Connie Stokes in the Lt. Governor race, 54% to 38%. Brian Kemp is ahead of Doreen Carter, 52% to 40%, and Sam Olens has 51% to Greg Hecht’s 39%. In the race for School Superintendent, Richard Woods holds a narrow lead over Valarie Wilson, 47% to 44%.

The poll of 591 adults was conducted from October 30th to November 2nd. The poll’s 4.1% margin of error keeps the Senate and State School Superintendent’s race tied within the margin of error. View the crosstabs here.

Poll: Republicans Look To Hold Georgia’s 1st Congressional District


Landmark Communications has also polled the 1st Congressional District, and it looks like Republicans will retain the seat that is currently held by out-going Congressman Jack Kingston (R).

A new poll released Saturday by Landmark Communications, Inc. concludes that Republican Buddy Carter is leading his Democratic opponent Brian Reese by a solid 60-37% margin in the race for Georgia’s First Congressional District. Landmark conducted 500 interviews of self-described “likely voters”. The poll was conducted Thursday evening, October 30th. Only voters who responded that they are “somewhat likely” or “definitely likely” to vote, and who completed all questions in the survey, were included in the results, a method that is standard in the polling industry.
Carter is a client of Landmark Communications.

You can find the crosstabs posted on Landmark’s site.

Upshot: Perdue Likely to Win #GASen, Maybe Without a Runoff

Over at the New York Times, Nate Cohn takes a look at the numbers in the Georgia Senate race, and concludes it’s unlikely that Michelle Nunn can win. Why? Because she’s not likely to win enough of the white vote.

For all of the justifiable focus on the rapid pace of demographic change in Georgia, the reality was always that Ms. Nunn needed to come near 30 percent of the white vote to have a shot at breaking 50 percent, even under the most optimistic scenarios for black turnout. But the most recent polls give Ms. Nunn only around 25 percent of the white vote.

A favorable turnout among blacks might well be unfolding for Democrats — the black share of early voters has matched that from 2012 — but with 25 or 26 percent of the white vote that’s probably enough for Ms. Nunn to receive only around 47 or 48 percent in total after allocating undecided voters.

Of course, there’s more to the story. Nunn has done better than any Democrat over the last decade in attracting the votes of whites, even though it won’t be enough to win in 2014. But then, this warning:

What should be very concerning to Republicans, however, is that Ms. Nunn would probably win Georgia if the electorate were as diverse as it probably will be in 2016. A Democrat could conceivably win by then with just 23 percent of the white vote — about what John Kerry received in 2004. Ms. Nunn’s showing might not help Democrats in their pursuit of retaining the Senate, but it has increased the odds that the state will be a presidential battleground in 2016.

NBC/Marist: Perdue, Deal Lead, Both At 48%.

A new NBC/Marist poll shows Republicans David Perdue and Nathan Deal have 48% of the vote and based on the polls 3.3% margin of error could be closing in on the margin needed for victory.

Republican David Perdue captures 48 percent of likely voters in the new NBC/Marist poll, compared to Democrat Michelle Nunn’s 44 percent. Three percent goes to libertarian Amanda Swafford.

Like in Louisiana, the Georgia race goes to a runoff if no candidate reaches 50 percent. In a hypothetical head-to-head matchup between just Perdue and Nunn, the Republican leads 49 percent to 46 percent.

Both candidates are reasonably well-liked. Forty-seven percent have a favorable impression of Perdue, compared to 42 percent who have an unfavorable one; Nunn has a 49 percent favorable rating compared to 39 percent who view her negatively.

In the state’s closely-watched governor’s race, incumbent Republican Gov. Nathan Deal gets 48 percent, while Democratic challenger Jason Carter gets 43 percent. Libertarian Andrew Hunt snags three percent.

In a hypothetical runoff, Deal leads 50 percent to Carter’s 46 percent.

Poll questions here (pdf).


Landmark: Hice Has Big Lead

A poll by Landmark Communications of 500 likely voters conducted October 30th shows Republican Jody Hice with a substantial lead over his Democratic rival Ken Dious.

If the election for US Congress were held today and the candidates were Jody Hice, the Republican, and Kenneth Dious, the Democrat, for which candidate would you vote?

Hice: 60.6%
Dious: 32.2%
Undecided: 7.2%

Landmark’s Mark Rountree said:

“Jody Hice has successfully consolidated Republican voters after a bruising primary. Self-described Republicans are supporting him by a 93-3% margin, which is actually remarkably a high percentage. The only way a Democrat would have been able to win an election in the Tenth would have been to win a significant number of Republican votes. That just hasn’t happened here.”

Another result of note is the poll shows Hice pulling 10.9% of the African-American vote. Are African-American Christians tired of seeing a Pastor bashed for his beliefs? Just a theory.

Cross tabs here (pdf).


Allen Leads Barrow in #GA12 Poll

Landmark Communications is out with a new poll tonight that shows Republican Rick Allen with a slight lead over incumbent Democrat John Barrow. Topline results have Allen leading Barrow by 48.1% to 44.4%. Allen’s 3.7 point advantage is just slightly under the margin of error of 4.4%. Landmark polled 500 voters in the 12th to get the poll results.

The demographic makeup for this poll largely matches what Landmark forecasts for statewide races. The African American voting percentage is 32.8%, while women make up 54% of those polled. One wonders, however, about party affiliation. Based on what I see, Republicans make up 50.6% of the sample. Maybe that’s the 12th, but it seems too high to me.

Yet Another Poll Has Deal and Perdue in the Lead

Another poll on the Georgia Senate and Governor’s races is out, this time from Vox Populi, and it shows comfortable leads for Republicans Nathan Deal and David Perdue. But unlike the one from Monmouth University out earlier this week, the Vox Populi poll has more accurate likely percentages of African Americans and women.

The poll has Nathan Deal leading Jason Carter 49% to 42%, with 3% for Andrew Hunt and 7% unsure. In the Senate race, David Perdue has 48%, Michelle Nunn 43%, Amanda Swafford 3% and 6% unsure.

From the memo accompanying the results:

Both Republican candidates receive strong support among Independents, with Governor Deal winning Independents 51 to 38 and Perdue leading 51 to 41. Deal and Perdue are also leading with women voters. If the election were held today, women would vote for Nathan Deal by a margin of 46 to 42 and for David Perdue by a margin of 45 to 43.

“David Perdue appears to have opened a small lead outside of the margin of error,” said Vox Populi Spokeswoman Lisa Boothe. “Both Perdue and Deal owe their leads in part to their strength with Independents and female voters. However, both races remain close and there are a lot of undecided voters so the numbers could shift in the closing days.”

The poll’s toplines show the poll consisted of 29% African Americans, and 57% women. Both those numbers could easily fall within the expected range of outcomes in this election. What’s more interesting, though, is that the pollster’s sample had 29% of respondents as Democrats, 41% as Republicans, and 26% independent. If that’s correct, it would mean either that blacks are not as loyal to the Democratic party as one would expect, or that few Republicans and independents plan to pull a Democratic ticket on Tuesday.

The poll was taken on October 28th with 600 voters, and has a 4% margin of error. This is comparable to the most recent SurveyUSA poll, which found stronger support by women than what conventional wisdom dictates.

But again, the poll was sponsored by the Ending Spending Action Fund, the group that brought you this and this. It’s unlikely they would publish a poll in which their preferred candidate was not in the lead.

England: Georgia’s middle class has a bull’s-eye on its back.

A guest post from House Appropriations Chairman Terry England (R-Auburn).

Georgia’s middle class has a bull’s-eye on its back.

In his attempt to topple Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, Democrat challenger Jason Carter is courting the votes of teachers and the middle class – and walking in lockstep with the national Democratic machine.

Early in this campaign Carter told a reporter that he absolutely “is not” a “national Democrat.”

And he has, at times, publicly distanced himself from his liberal grandfather, Jimmy Carter, as well as from President Barack Obama.

But make no mistake about it: the fingerprints of both former President Carter — and the Democrats’ national political machine — are all over Jason Carter’s campaign.

The former president not only helped fuel his grandson’s campaign by hosting fund-raisers in New York, Washington D.C., California and Georgia — but he also helped him vet his cadre of consultants.

Campaign finance reports show Jason Carter has been using the services of at least nine companies that over the past quarter-century have helped elect Democrats to Washington D.C.’s pinnacles of power.

The national consultants are providing the campaign with political strategy, media services, fundraising services, data management, polling and web hosting.

As of September, Carter had paid almost $100,000 to AKPD Message & Media LLC of Chicago, a firm founded by David Axelrod, the chief strategist for Obama’s 2008 winning bid for the White House.
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