Tuesday, July 23, 2013


47. That's the highwater mark for a Democratic candidate in a statewide race in Georgia in the past decade. It was achieved by Jim Martin in 2008 against Saxby Chambliss*.

Chambliss is now retiring and a new Democrat is seeking to replace him. Michelle Nunn is the daughter of legendary Georgia Senator Sam Nunn and she will certainly face whatever candidate emerges from the crowded Republican primary field.

47 is daunting but it gets worse. In the last election where President Obama was not at the top of the ticket, the Democratic highwater mark was 43% by Roy Barnes in 2010.

You will hear many stories today that will use words like "battleground" and "changing demograpics", but they will ignore the cold hard math. The last time a non-incumbent Democrat posted over 45% in a statewide race where Barack Obama's name wasn't at the top of the ticket was Michael Coles well-funded campaign against Paul Coverdell in 1998.


Anyone who ignores the unsexy numbers while charging towards the sexy narratives are dreaming of dog wagging tails in the political doldrums that suffocate the summer before a big election.

*Editor's note - Democratic candidate for PSC Jim Powell actually achieved 48% in 2008 but there was so much craziness in that election, it shouldn't be considered comparable.


Anonymous said...

Given the length of the wait for this official announcement, it was possibly the least impressive roll out I've ever seen. School board candidates in middle GA had their shit together better than this.

I'm prepared to be underwhelmed till fall of 2014


griftdrift said...

I see Democratic optimism is already in full force.

I'm going to disagree. This was exactly the right time.

Late July and August is a completely dead time of year. Political reporters are starving for something new. A new narrative. And as I pointed out, they are already running full bore into the name recogntion/she's a woman/demographics are changing stories.

This was exactly the right time to plant the narrative and let the natural momentum build.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I wasn't clear... it's not the timing, but the shoddy nature of the announcement.

Grayson: Atlanta, GA said...

No, it's not sexy. So thus just the kind of thing that you'd write about. What I'm far more interested in is whether Ms. Nunn will "catch fire" or inspire Georgians to vote for her. Now that's a much more interesting conversation.

SweetPea said...

As long as everyone understands the math, this is a good thing. Georgia Democrats will benefit, in some measure, from a well-spoken, well-heeled candidate like Ms. Nunn traversing the state with a D by her name. Her campaign will give a broken party and various splinter groups something positive to rally around. There's little downside.

Todd Rehm said...

Excellent analysis. One of the best I've read.