So... An Election in Georgia Today

by: Matt Stoller

Tue Dec 02, 2008 at 09:06


"The truth is . . . we will be fine on most major issues. We will almost always have some moderate Republican support."

Senator Amy Klobuchar

Better Democrat Jim Martin is up against Saxby Chambliss in Georgia today, and it's pretty clear, sitting in DC, that there just is not that much enthusiasm for this race on the Democrati side.  The last nine polls are showing Chambliss ahead.  The dynamic here is set by Republicans throwing everything they have into the race, including surrogates like John McCain, Sarah Palin, and Mitt Romney in there, whereas Democrats have put Al Gore and Bill Clinton to surrogate for Martin, but not Obama.  Obama has cut a radio ad and some robocalls, but the high voltage press and field jolt that would be possible - especially among African-Americans - in a low turn out run off is missing.  That choice seems to have contributed to a corresponding enthusiasm drop across the party for Martin, as it should.  Obama has put his organizers in the battle, but not his own prestige.  I have seen the number of mentions of '60 votes in the Senate' drop substantially, ironically even as that goal is quite possible should Franken win and Martin take the seat.  If nothing else, this should suggest that the 60 vote goal was always something of a chimera.

From what I understand, Chambliss is a weak candidate, failing to do good constituent services or really endear himself to Georgians on a local basis.  This will come down to turnout, but it seems unlikely that Chambliss has been framed well enough to lose him that slender margin he's always carried.  People just aren't that interested in the race.  Sean Quinn down in Georgia suggests that Obama field organizers are finally seeing GOTV numbers they are happy with.  That's a hopeful sign.

Matt Stoller :: So... An Election in Georgia Today
It would be great if Martin took the seat, and if he does, it will be a real testament to the organizers down in Georgia, who will have been able to overcome a persistent and slender lead in a Southern conservative state.  Obama will deserve some credit for that, considering the campaign he put together, but the organizers, who are working fiercely in the most disempowering environment possible - a Southern state beset with apathy, are just heroic.  If Chambliss takes it by a substantial margin, this was never meant to be.  But, depending on the margin, this seat went to Chambliss, a mediocre mean-spirited loser in a Republican caucus that spans the vicious to the sociopathic, there will be wonder whether Obama picked working with 56 Democrats in the Senate (plus Sanders and Lieberman) over putting his own prestige directly on the line.  

That might be a good strategy, in fact, I might suggest it to Obama were I advising him, since he's putting together a government and doesn't necessary need a political loss right out of the gate (though the inauguration would sweep that memory away).  But it's still a damned if you do damned if you don't scenario for Obama, which is probably why he's been relatively quiet.


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Hold on (0.00 / 0)
Don't we only need Martin or Franken to get to 58+Sanders+Lieberman?

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!

No - both (4.00 / 1)
So far there are seven new Senators in place of outgoing Republicans: Warner, Shaheen, M.Udall, T.Udall, Hagan, Merkley, Begich.

That's 58 up from 51.


[ Parent ]
reminds me of Landreau in 04 (4.00 / 1)

There was a runoff for the Senate seat in Louisiana. And while we Dems saw it as one last chance to recover a modicum of dignity after Kerry's loss, and threw everything we had into it, the Repubs were pretty lackadaisical about it (though I think Bush DID make a personal appearance). It's  an unfortunate dynamic for us this time around, but not an unsurprising one.

Of course, I may be remembering this all wrong...


We got about 8 calls about voting lat night (4.00 / 4)
from a combination of humans and robots representing or impersonating Obama, his wife, the state and national Democratic party, and some other folks.  We live in Cobb County GA, suburban Atlanta in what was once Newt Gingrich's district.

I asked the SEIU lady why the union was opposing single payer health care.

Got a meeting at noon, guess I will vote before then.


"If you want that good feeling that comes from doing things for other people, then you have to pay for it in abuse and misunderstanding..."
Zora Neale Hurston


well that's just dumb on Obama's part (0.00 / 0)
So the hell what if he campaigns for Martin and Martin loses? It's Georgia! It doesn't mean the country suddenly doesn't like Obama or something. What, is he scared of RNC press releases now or something? Bah!

Yeah, I'm very disappointed in this particular adoption of CW by Obama's team. (0.00 / 0)
How much would it really hurt him to have pushed hard in Georgia and lost?  He already lost Georgia on Nov 2, who can pretend it's some huge defeat that he loses it again?

I can see the argument that Obama would exicte Chambliss' vote more than Martin's, especially since the GOP base is considerably larger than the Dem base if it's a base-only election.  Still, some low-key ads on black television would be nice.  Although there may be no such thing as low-key for Barack anymore.

I guess that leaves us with radio and organizers.  It still doesn't feel right to not be trying.  If I heard of last minute, unanswerable ad or robocall saturation on Monday, then I'd have felt like someone had been paying attention all along, but there's been nothing like that.

This is the kind of decision where I hate the idea of Emanuel next to Obama all the time.


[ Parent ]
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