The Obama campaign expended little money or effort in Georgia in 2012, but he still took 45.5 percent of the vote in Georgia.
President Obama is very unpopular in some quarters of the state, so it seems more than reasonable to conclude that a Democrat with more positives or fewer negatives could attract enough votes to beat a Republican in a statewide race.
Those numbers right there are enough to suggest that Democrat Michelle Nunn has a very good chance to win Georgia’s open Senate seat.
But will the Obama coalition — dominated by Georgia’s black residents — turn out in sufficient numbers? Of course they will. Black turnout has been increasing for the last 20 years across the country; the Obama team will push hard to increase turnout among core Democratic constituencies in advance of the 2014 midterm elections; Democratic leaders are well aware that much of the Obama agenda relies on keeping control of at least one house of Congress.
And Nunn has a lot of things going for her, at least on the surface. Many Georgians would like to see a woman elected to the Senate. Nunn also has some automatic credibility — rightly or wrongly — because she’s the daughter of Sam Nunn. It will be interesting to see at what point, if at all, the Nunn campaign uses the father in advertising and in appearances.
And Nunn has been getting some very good press, including last week from the conservative editorial page of the Savannah Morning News.
That editorial was so curiously positive that I posted to Peach Pundit about it: Savannah Morning News editorial page has some kind words for . . . Michelle Nunn?
Posts in a similar vein appeared at Daily Kos — GA-Sen: Conservative GA Newspaper Praises Michelle Nunn (D), Mum On Support For GOP Candidates — and at Talking Points Memo — Conservative Georgia Newspaper Praises Senate Dem Candidate Michelle Nunn.
The editorial desk at the Athens Banner Herald noted all these posts and had this to say:
At Peach Pundit, Bill Dawers suggests it will be “interesting to see if she gets positive press like this from conservative voices in other corners of the state.”
I don’t know whether I’d go as far as “pdogcomedy” in assessing the impact of the Morning News editorial, but I do believe it’s likely that “conservative voices in other corners of the state” might give Nunn some “positive press.”
I also believe that whatever “positive press” Nunn may get in conservative corners of the state, it will be intended less as praise for her than as a subtle warning to the GOP and its voters that launching a hard-right tea-party-style candidate in the Senate race — read particularly Broun — might be a mistake.
Of course, it seems very likely that the Republican candidates for the Georgia Senate seat being vacated by Saxby Chambliss will spend several months in 2014 stumbling further and further to the right.
I wouldn’t yet say that Nunn is the early favorite, or that she has even odds at this point.
But we’re looking at a very close Senate race in 2014, one that is likely to be decided by turnout and by the decisions of the 5-10 percent of voters who are somewhere near the middle.