The General Election in Georgia will be held Tuesday, November 2, 2010. The Governor’s race has been a long and tiring one for Georgia citizens. First off, both the Democratic and Republican fields were full before the primary. Barnes (D) handily won his, but Republicans Nathan Deal and Karen Handel battled it to the end. Deal beat Handel by a mere 2,500 or so votes. Now, Deal has a sizable lead over Barnes but he still does not have the magic number of 50 percent plus one. Can we as citizens endure a gubernatorial runoff? It appears it may be headed in that direction.
The John Monds Factor
John Monds, the Libertarian candidate, accounts for four percent of the Georgia vote, according to a recent poll conducted by Landmark Communications in Duluth, Georgia. This may seem like a small insignificant portion of the overall vote and so small it could not possibly make a difference. The race is so close, however, that four percent could make or break Deal or Barnes. If we enter a run-off situation, will that four percent Libertarian vote head in Barnes’ direction? Another possibility is that the four percent will feel they have made their statement and not return to a runoff vote as a complete group.
Another fact to consider is that Landmark Communications is headed up by GOP consultant Mark Rountree and could be, by nature, slanted towards the red side. The poll interviewed 3,277 Georgia voters and assumed an African-American turnout of 26 percent, and this could actually turn out to be much higher.
The Karen Handel Factor
Many Republicans voted for Handel in the Republican primary and then went back to the polls again in the runoff to vote for her again. Handel spoke on Friday, October 22, 2010 at the Pocketbook Politics group, which is a non-partisan women’s group based in Atlanta. Although she said she continues to support the ticket, she did not give a true endorsement of Deal. This may or may not be reflected in the polls. Although this is only anecdotal information, I continually see former Handel supporters in various political forums and blogs announcing their intention to vote for Roy Barnes.
The Georgia Voter Factor
Georgia is a red state without a doubt and polls continually show that most Republican candidates will easily triumph over their Democratic contenders on November 2, 2010. The Governor’s race is by far the most highly contested. In Georgia history, no Democratic candidate has won in a runoff. However, there have been few runoffs of this sort. Democrats have had a stronghold in the Governor’s Mansion since Reconstruction, until current Governor Sonny Perdue won two consecutive terms by defeating Roy Barnes after Barnes’ former stint as Governor.
The biggest question may be if Georgians have the stomach for another month of nasty ads and the continuous bickering back and forth between Deal and Barnes. Historically, more Republicans turn out for a runoff than do Democrats. There are also the 10% so-called undecided voters. As a native Georgian, I find it hard to believe that 10% of the voter population in the state of Georgia could be undecided at this point in the game. Undecideds often decide not to vote at all. Either way, it looks fairly likely we will head into a runoff. If faced with a runoff, Democrats hope that Republicans will be focused on recent Washington D.C. wins and the attention given this contentious Governor’s race will wane, leading a Barnes inroad to the Governor’s Mansion in Atlanta.
Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution Political Insider with Jim Galloway