Friday, November 28, 2008

Georgia Senate Runoff

Some of us political junkies have not much to watch in terms of horse races. We can look at the transistion and we will post something about that soon but there is something we do not see talked about much. The Democrat have 58 seats in the Senate and to at least get to 59, they need to pick up the seat in Georgia. Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss received just short of 50% of the vote in the November 4th election against Democrat Jim Martin. Chambliss has been in Congress for a long time but was elected to the Senate in 2002 with 53% of the vote. He beat incumbent Max Cleland who lost body parts in Vietnam. Chambliss's campaign was that Cleland was not patriotic. Anyway, he still has to explain to us how you are unpatriotic if you go to war to serve your country and lose body parts in the process. That sounds very patriotic to us but what do you have to do to reach Chambliss's standards?
Now, we are going to explain this race a little bit. A reason that Martin got 47% of the vote is mainly because of high African American turnout which was 30% of the vote in Georgia, up from 25% in 2004. With Obama not on the ticket, it will harder to generate such a high percentage of African American voters. Also, this election will come down to turnout. People think that the turnout on December 2nd will be half as high as it was on November 4th. Also, early voting numbers show only 23% of early voters being African American which is alot lower than the 35% of early voters for November 4th being African American. In recent years especially in 2002, Republicans have won because of high turnout in counties that are near Atlanta but not in the core. The main ones are Forsyth, Coweta, Hall, Cherokee, Gwinnent and Cobb. The last two mentioned voted for McCain by much smaller margins than for Bush mostly because the areas are well educated and the turnout of African Americans was high. Chambliss won by doing well in those counties but times are changing and three of the conservative outer Atlanta counties, Rockdale, Newton and Douglas were won by Obama and Martin even though Bush won them easily in 2004. The reason for that is they are experiencing an in migration of African Americans. If Martin fails to get the turnout he needs in the Atlanta area, he must try to do well in the rural area. Although Obama did better than Martin in the Atlanta core area, Martin did better than Obama in the rural part of the state because he got a larger percentage of white voters to support him than Obama. It is important for Martin to win big in the counties containing Athens, Columbus, Augusta, Macon, Albany and Savannah and keep Republican margins in the suburbs low. Then Martin must do well in the central part of the rural state which has alot of African Americans.
Alot of prominent Republicans and Democrats such as Mitt Rommney and Al Gore have come to Georgia to campaign but Obama has not. Obama coming to Georgia could sway a few points and bring out more African Americans. He has a radio ad but it is not enough. He probably does not want to be tainted if Martin loses and Obama campaigned for him. Recent polls show Chambliss ahead by a few points but upsets can happen. In Texas, Republican Henry Bonilla was expected to keep his seat against Democrat Ciro Rodreguiez but Bonilla lost by 10 points.
Please feel free to share your thoughts.

No comments: