Democrats wait for a tidal moment in Georgia with two Senate seats at stake

Republicans are struggling to defend their two Senate seats in Georgia as signs of trouble accumulate for President TrumpDonald John Trump Democrats criticize Trump for displacing Roger Stone: ‘The most corrupt president in history’ Trump confirms 2018 cyber attack on Russian trolley farm Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott MORE in the state.

Two outside Republican Party groups are preparing to invest tens of millions of dollars in television advertising in Georgia this week to bolster Senator David Perdue’s (R-Ga.) Reelection bid against Jon Ossoff, an investigative journalist and former candidate. to the House that won the state Democratic award. Primary Senate last month.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s junior senator, Kelly LoefflerKelly Loeffler The Hill Campaign Report: Is Georgia reaching a tipping point? Democrats wait for a tidal moment in Georgia with two Senate seats at stake Republican senators express confidence in Senate uphill battle MORE (R), is leaning toward a dispute over the Black Lives Matter movement with the WNBA team of which she is co-owner as she seeks to bolster her conservative credentials before November, where she will pit Republicans and Democrats against a primary-style general of the jungle ballot.

On Wednesday, Cook’s Political Report changed the state and its 16 Electoral College votes to a state of “change” in the presidential race. And while the two Georgia Senate seats remain in the “thin” Republican column, Democrats say they are about to win in a historically red state that has been on their political wish list.

“Georgia is the cornerstone, the most competitive state, the main battleground,” Ossoff said in an interview Thursday.

Georgia has seen some of the most competitive and high-profile races of the past decade. Each of those battles built a powerful infrastructure, trained tens of thousands of volunteers, moved the needle, and now Georgia is the most competitive state in the country. ”

Ossoff, who rose to fame in 2017 during his closed but ultimately unsuccessful special-election nomination for a suburban seat in the Atlanta House of Representatives, emerged last month from a crowded primary field to face Perdue, avoiding what many expected it to be a controversial second round. In the three weeks that followed, his campaign raised around $ 2.35 million, a sum that accounted for a third of all his second-quarter fundraising.

Polls show Ossoff and Perdue almost at a standstill. A Fox News poll released last month put the Republican headline ahead only by 3 points, while another from public policy firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) led shortly before and showed Ossoff leading by 1 point.

The tight race has sparked a wave of spending. Perdue launched the first announcements of its general election campaign this week, while two outside Republican-affiliated groups, One Nation and Senate Leadership Fund, are spending a combined total of $ 22 million on ad bookings to support it.

In Ossoff’s corner, Majority Forward, the Senate super Democratic PAC-affiliated political nonprofit, entered the race Thursday with $ 3 million in statewide advertising bookings and an initial television ad. And Ossoff’s campaign unveiled his first general election announcement, a six-figure purchase that speaks to his career as an investigative journalist.

Loeffler, meanwhile, faces a more messy race to keep his seat.

She was named to the Senate late last year by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) after the Senator. Johnny IsaksonJohnny Isakson The Hill Campaign Report: Is Georgia reaching a tipping point? Democrats wait for a tidal moment in Georgia with two Senate seats at stake Republican senators express confidence in Senate uphill battle MORE (R-Ga.) He announced his early retirement. But his appointment sparked the anger of some Republicans who questioned his conservative credentials and provoked Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen Collins The Hill Campaign Report: Is Georgia reaching a tipping point? Democrats await tidal moment in Georgia with two Senate seats at stake Loeffler doubles against BLM, calls move “anti-Semitic” amid continuation of WNBA (R-Ga.), A firm ally of Trump, to launch a challenge for his seat.

Under current state rules, there will be no partisan primary election to determine Republican and Democratic nominees in the November election for the remainder of Isakson’s term. Instead, candidates from all parties will appear on the same ballot, and if no one gets at least 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will head for a runoff election in January.

Democrats believe the second round could give a crucial opening to the Rev. Raphael Warnock, Loeffler’s main Democratic opponent. Recent polls show that Warnock beat Loeffler in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, while Collins only leads the reverend by a narrow margin.

This week, Loeffler, co-owner of the Atlanta Dream WNBA team, opposed a league plan to allow players to wear warm-up shirts stamped with “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name,” insisting instead that the jerseys They have an American flag.

Loeffler’s dispute with the WNBA was seen by some as an attempt to strengthen his position among conservatives, especially given Trump’s criticism of recent civil unrest over racial injustice. In a statement to The Hill, Loeffler’s communications director Stephen Lawson said Georgia’s junior senator “has significant campaign advantages in resources, infrastructure, message and the road to victory, and is working toward a great victory. for Georgia in November. “

Georgia voters have not elected a Democrat to the Senate in two decades, and both parties viewed the state as a safe haven for Republicans for years; The last Democrat to win a presidential race in Georgia was former President Clinton in 1992.

But Democrats say the peach state is in their favor.

Hillary clintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump Confirms 2018 US Cyber ​​Attack on Russian Hillicon Valley Trolley Farm: Facebook Considers Political Advertising Ban | Senators Raise Concerns About Civil Rights Audit | Amazon reverses by telling workers to remove TikTok campaign Biden hires senior cybersecurity officials to fend off threats MORE Trump lost him in the 2016 presidential election by 5 points after former President Obama lost him to Republicans Mitt romneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt Romney Democrats await the tidal wave in Georgia with two Senate seats up for grabs. The sixth Republican senator probably will not attend the Republican convention. The Koch-backed group urges the Senate to oppose the “bailout” of the states in new announcements. PLUS in 2012 for 8 points. In 2018, Democrat Stacey Abrams was 1.5 percentage points away from winning the governor’s mansion.

Democrats also point to favorable demographic changes in the state. Last year, some 322,000 active voters joined Georgia’s lists, including many younger voters and people of color. Meanwhile, the percentage of white voters has declined slightly since 2016, a trend Democrats say works in their favor.

“We don’t have that many undecided voters here. It is a state of participation with a large number of Democrats to whom we can turn, “said Seth Bringman, spokesman for Fair Fight, the voting rights group founded by Abrams after his 2018 run in the governorship.” And when Democrats Georgia’s are as motivated as we are, and a third of our electorate is black, that puts us in a position of victory. “

Jay Williams, a longtime Georgia Republican strategist, said it is not surprising that Senate elections are competitive for Democrats, but acknowledged that the national landscape, including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, an economic recession and widespread protests Because of racial injustice and police brutality, it has further complicated the outlook for Republicans in Georgia.

Trump’s handling of those crises has not helped, he said.

“I think it’s probably a little bit more competitive just because the president is making him more competitive,” Williams said. “Obviously it has some problems that will be difficult for Republicans to solve.”

But Williams also warned that, with four months to go before Election Day, there are still plenty of opportunities for political tides to turn, signaling the shift to the left of Democrats on issues like police policy and calls by some to dismantle local law enforcement.

“For the most part, Georgia’s electorate is a little bit more to the right of the center,” he said. “They are not going to agree with the kind of nonsense that is happening with the left right now.”

Still, Democrats say Georgia is within reach, noting the numbers of Trump’s fallen polls in the state: A Fox News poll late last month showed he was following the former vice president. Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump Commute Roger Stone Hillicon Valley Sentence: Facebook Considers Political Advertising Ban | Senators Raise Concerns About Civil Rights Audit | Amazon reverses by telling workers to remove TikTok House Democrat warns of ‘inaccurate’ polls: Trump voters are ‘fundamentally less numbered’ MORE for 2 points in the presidential race, and record voter turnout in last month’s Democratic primaries as signs that 2020 could be the year Georgia turns blue.

“There is no question at the moment that Georgia is the most crucial battleground state in 2020,” said Joshua Karp, Ossoff’s campaign adviser. “Trump is running ads there, the Biden campaign is looking for opportunities there, he has two seats in the Senate, and Democratic enthusiasm is reaching record levels.”