Thursday, July 24, 2014

5 Thoughts on Tuesday's Primaries

Democratic Senate Candidate Michelle Nunn

I skipped last week’s primaries but with only a few Tuesday’s worth noting for the rest of the year (including major Democratic races in Massachusetts and Hawaii, because Democrats do have primaries too), I didn’t think I could pass up the runoff elections in Georgia Tuesday night.  Here are my five thoughts about the results:

1. Polling Sucks this Year

Admittedly, they were not all the crème de la crème of the political polling world, but almost all polling and conventional wisdom had Rep. Jack Kingston, a longtime Republican congressman, defeating businessman David Perdue.  In a year where polling has been sketchy at best (see also the Mississippi Senate primary and Eric Cantor’s reelection campaign), it is becoming extremely difficult to see the actual race between all of the polls.  I’d like to think that this should hopefully cut down on polling companies that are out there (this is a less is more sort of circumstance), but considering the way the media covers every poll that comes out, I doubt that happens.

2. Is this Good News for Michelle Nunn?

The big question of the morning, particularly since this is the first GOP surprise against the establishment in a Senate primary this year (Kingston was a longtime legislator and had more support out of Washington) is whether or not Perdue’s victory makes the Republicans more or less certain of victory in this race.  I do feel that Perdue adds an element of “what will happen? “  that Kingston doesn’t.  Perdue has said a few off-the-cuff comments against some of his primary opponents that give him more potential to say something ostentatious (Kingston is more practiced), though he doesn’t have the Washington politician baggage for Nunn to use (the perfect opponent for her, Paul Broun, didn’t survive to the runoff).

3. The Democrats Have Done Well This Year in Georgia

This is particularly important because the Democratic Party has done an amazing job this year in Georgia.  Name me another red state where the Democrats got a decent candidate against every statewide Republican.  Though all of the press has been about Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn running strong races against Republicans in a state where demographics favor the GOP, but by a decreasing margin, it’s worth noting that Democrats got a number of politicians of various experience levels to run for all of the constitutional offices in the state.  As the Democrats position themselves for 2016 and beyond in the Peach State (which looks a lot like Virginia did eight years ago), a strong showing by either Carter or Nunn in November could create coattails, giving Democrats in the state something they are severely lacking: a bench.

4.  The End of the Road for Bob Barr?

Few politicians in the past two decades have had a career quite as storied as Rep. Bob Barr’s.  Elected during the 1994 landslide by defeating longtime incumbent Buddy Darden, Barr went on to be one of the most boisterous and controversial figures in Congress during his eight-year tenure there (he was one of the House managers during the Clinton impeachment trials, probably his most noted achievement in Congress).  He later went on to be a vehement critic of the Bush administration, and adapted a Libertarian philosophy that won him the party’s nomination for President in 2008 against Barack Obama and John McCain.  His loss in the runoff (which was expected) probably spells the end of any hope of Barr reaching Congress again-his appearance in the runoff was a bit of a surprise to begin with, and it’s doubtful he’ll be in a situation where he’s that close to winning a seat again.

5. Jody Hice is a Name You’re About to Learn

While Bob Barr and his headline-grabbing talking points are not going to be in Washington next year, Jody Hice won the primary race to succeed Paul Broun (and when you’re looking more eyebrow-raising than Paul Broun…).  With Michele Bachmann leaving Congress, John Boehner may have been breathing a sigh of relief, but Hice will surely make up for her absence.  Hice has made deeply incendiary remarks about Islam not qualifying under the first amendment, said incredibly offensive things about gay people (both that they are trying to turn America’s youth gay and that same-sex marriage is similar to losing a parent in a car accident), and has said that women should be able to run for office, provided they are “within the authority of their husband.”  So yeah, this guy will be in Congress next year.  Good luck America.

And those are my thoughts coming out of Georgia-there’s one more thought I have regarding the Senate race, but we’ll be getting there this weekend.  What about you?  Anything I missed in Georgia on Tuesday?

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