Opinion: The Georgia GOP’s real problem going into 2018

A special election — actually, three of them — finally went Democrats’ way in Georgia. After the bonfire of the punditries that was their expensive bust in the 6th Congressional District, these successes are heralded as the omen of a blue restoration in state government.

Republicans are right to be concerned about 2018, but not because of last Tuesday’s results.

Special-election upsets are notoriously fleeting. In 2015, a Republican named Janice Van Ness squeaked out a surprise win in a heavily Democratic Senate district covering parts of DeKalb, Newton and Rockdale counties by 84 votes. In the general election last year, she lost to the same opponent by 41 percentage points. The difference? Just 7,646 people voted in the special election; a year later, 71,611 did. The Democratic faithful who’d skipped the off-cycle contest showed up and voted as expected.

We might forecast a similar market correction in the two Athens-area districts Democrats won Tuesday. Turnout there was about 40 percent of the level from last November, with about two-thirds of the drop-off coming in the reliably Republican counties. The results should look different next November.

In Senate District 6, which covers parts of Cobb and Fulton, Republicans won a slim majority of the votes cast. The problem is those votes were divided among five candidates, and a pair of Democrats threaded the needle to lock up both spots in a December runoff. That district is more evenly divided than the Athens districts, but higher turnout next year should bode well for the GOP there, too.

If the special-election results aren’t what should scare Republicans, what should? Try the fairly weak field for next year’s top-of-the-ticket race for governor.

I have lost count of how many times this year I’ve heard two things. The first is a lament by someone who had recently attended a fund-raiser for one of the Republicans and came away uninspired.

Party loyalists are worried. I hear little faith in the two biggest names, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp. There were high hopes for state Sen. Hunter Hill, and it’s not over for him, but nor has there been a surge in his direction. State Sen. Michael Williams is running as Donald Trump, but without the money, fame or charm. A political newcomer, Clay Tippins, doesn’t seem to be catching on (or these panicked conversations would be going differently).

The anxiety is even spreading to ordinary voters I hear from. If Democrats can field a strong candidate (which isn’t a lock) and if the national political tide turns in their favor (which looks more likely), they might break through in a race that still ought to favor the GOP.

That brings me to the second thing I keep hearing: Is it too late for someone else to get in the race?

The 2018 primary is six months away, so the idea someone could jump in now and compete with campaigns that have been months, if not years, in the making would normally be far-fetched. It probably still is.

But that isn’t stopping some seasoned Republicans from asking around. They know it would take someone with an existing base of support, pretty good name ID, money (or the network to raise it), motivation and ambition. Who might fit their profile? How about a member of Congress who represents a deep-red district and has some pull within the party?

Doug Collins, call your office.

Reader Comments 0

91 comments
bendedknee
bendedknee

The women of  Alabama will decide if Roy goes to the Senate   just like women in Virginia decided Gillespie's fate. Tide is turning over there if you read the main newspaper. See Al.com.

Nice article about how all the local teenage girls in Gadsden knew Roy was trolling the mall 40 years ago looking to pick up young girls.

DeepStateDawg
DeepStateDawg

@bendedknee Wow. Good tip. 


I wonder if Brietbart will attack al.com now? 


You know, since they're part of the deep state and main stream media and all. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

He won't bow out and - sadly, scarily, unfortunately, amazingly - there are enough Alabamians who support him that he could actually wind up getting elected.


He will still win.Maybe by a good margin.


1. White Alabama voters see the Democratic party as the party of "those people". They arent going there.


2. Moore being a pedophile doesnt concern them. He is their pedophile.


3. As long as Alabama keeps winning football games honestly they could care less. That is the most important thing in that state. 

DeepStateDawg
DeepStateDawg

The biggest problem the GOP has is that it's been fueling it's momentum for the last several cycles on the sugar of truthiness rather that the shredded wheat of actual accomplishment. 


It is now and has been for quite some time more important for electors in the GOP to convince their base that something is true (or alternatively cast doubt that something is not) rather than to just do the things that help the people they are so outwardly professing to care about.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

Looks like Roy Moore is cooked. And dragging down Hannity with him. But still think the stubborn old coot is not bowing out. I am glad having to see the GOP squirm to find a way to keep him out the senate. Making America Grope Again.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@McGarnagle


He won't bow out and - sadly, scarily, unfortunately, amazingly - there are enough Alabamians who support him that he could actually wind up getting elected.


As for Hannity - here's hoping he steps directly in the path of a giant moving bus.

bendedknee
bendedknee

@McGarnagle Just wait when the Orange Groper puts  his twitter comments on the record about Moore. Both accused of  assaulting 14 year old girls. I bet money he will challenge McConnell and not Moore.

bu22
bu22

@bendedknee @McGarnagle  Accused by the same Democratic activist attorney.  The anonymous 14 year old whose case disappeared when it became clear the lie wasn't working.  They should have made up a story about a supermodel and Trump.  That might have been believable.  Now the original WaPo 14 year old wasn't represented by a sleazeball Democratic attorney and didn't accuse him of assault, but of really improper actions.  She might be telling the truth.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

The Army's new policy for relaxing standards for enlistment must be examined closely by congress. The close examination must also include reconsideration of the draft.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

Why on Earth would we start the draft when we have enough volunteers?

Being a soldier is a career. Studies have shown that only 30% of the population can shoot a person under any situation. We let that 30% volunteer and we have a better, more effective military because of it. The draft is bad policy, and hardly anyone wants ot back.

Starik
Starik

@JFMcNamara With a draft, we have a citizen Army, not a mercenary one. We'd be less likely to have incidents like Bo Bergdahl and Abu Ghraib and the recent incidents with the Navy. I like the idea of universal service for everybody who is qualified, not necessarily in the military. We do not have enough quality volunteers.

Starik
Starik

@McGarnagle @Starik @JFMcNamara The draft was mishandled - the sons of influential folks escaped the draft. Look up "Project 100,000" The most spectacular atrocity, My Lai was perpetrated by Lt. Calley, a junior college dropout who had no business being an officer.  The draft, done right is the way to go. 

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

We have the best military in the world. We can't conquer the entire world, but we are far more effective than anyone else.

Forcing people to kill isn't healthy. We have major problems wity PTSD among volunteers who are the predisposed warrior class. The draft had ugly consequences.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

To me it isn't about Roy Moore being a wonderful human being and an upstanding conservative Republican, it's about filthy dirty politics. Anyone who can boldly say that they did nothing stupid from their teens until their early 30's is an absolute liar. Many people do stupid things and behave stupidly far beyond their 30's. I don't really know what Moore did or what he didn't do as a young man but I do know that the political sanctimony on the part of both parties is absolutely sickening. Drain the swamp we have to get back to a government by the people and for the people.

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit Keeping the likes of Moore out of government is a big step toward fixing what's wrong with our country. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik @SGTGrit 

This is the United States of America and the people of Alabama elected Moore to office and it should be their decision to remove him. No one else or group has the right to accept him or reject him.

MiltonD
MiltonD

@SGTGrit @Starik He has not been elected, he won the republican primary.  Moore winning the nomination is the reason people make fun of Alabama (not that GA is much better). 

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@SGTGrit @Starik


Well I m rooting for the old pervy sage. I want to see him and McConnell go one on one. I think the turtle has him beat.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

I think most everyone can say they weren't a pedophile. This isn't drinking too much, smoking reefer, or doing college pranks. He was abusing his power as the D.A. to proposition underaged girls.

You can go somewhere else with your pedophile false equivalence. There's no justification.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@JFMcNamara 

It hasn't been proven that Moore is a pedophile. All the girls were of age with the exception of one and who knows what really went on after 40 years. Recollections back forty years when someone was in their early teens often aren't completely accurate and Moore denies all of the allegations. Whoever that says they believe or disbelieve Moore is doing so out of pure political motive. Now one knows that wasn't there whose telling the truth. The hypocrisy here is over the top. Let the voters decide.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@RoadScholar @SGTGrit 

Justifying??? I've said that I don't know the truth in this matter. Seems like you're justifying Moore's guilt purely for political motive since you didn't witness that event either 40 years ago.

bu22
bu22

@SGTGrit  Well if he messed with a 14 year old that is beyond stupid.  There are a lot of things that are simply stupid that can be forgotten.  The question is whether he really did it or not.

bendedknee
bendedknee

For average voter in Alabama  none of this Moore stuff matters. what is important is who wins the Auburn/Alabama game.

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

" If Democrats can field a strong candidate..."

Well at last report their leading candidate's signature issue is her plan to scrub Confederate history off of Stone Mountain, which might fly with a few but likely won't resonate with most Georgians.

Cagle will win easily. Too bad because the Peach State needs two strong parties to keep things honest - but Dems just keep fronting unappealing candidates.




bendedknee
bendedknee

Well Roy's accusers went to Wash Post and Gloria Allred. For the cons that is all they need to know about the accusers.

bu22
bu22

@bendedknee  Gloria Alldred and yes, you know its pure fiction.  WaPo may have a real story.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@bu22 @bendedknee


Even with the yearbook evidence. If you believe the WaPo, then Gloria Alldred is not far fetched. Get the pervy sage in congress. Solidify the Repub brand.  

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

I was confused for a minute. Former NBA coach Doug Collins. When did he get into politics.

bendedknee
bendedknee

Doug Jones chances just got much, much better.  Rednecks and confused GOP women will still vote for Moore. 

breckenridge
breckenridge

It's time for Roy Moore to throw his sorry, scummy, perverted old arse on his horse and ride off into the sunset.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@breckenridge


He's getting in. And frankly no one is more scared then McConnell. I say let the old fart in and screw up the GOP agenda.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@breckenridge @McGarnagle


If he gets voted in then the people have spoken. It will be such a disaster if GOP go against the choice of the voters. I frankly have grown weary of people defending his actions. Let the dirty old man in. Collins and Murkowski better watch out.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

@McGarnagle @breckenridge Those are too old for him.  He'll be trolling the DC school zones for high school girls.


I think you are right though.  If he wins, seat him.  He has not been convicted of any crime. 


Before I get jumped on.  I abhor the guy and want him to drop out, but if the voters vote him in anyway, I don't see how you strip them of their vote.

PDPDP8
PDPDP8

@JFMcNamara @McGarnagle @breckenridge  Rejecting him will greatly p-off the Alabama voters.  Cant believe so called Christian leaders as Franklin Graham (Billy Graham's son) and Faldwell are whole-heartedly support Moore.  Makes you wonder about religious beliefs.

Geraldine
Geraldine

@breckenridge Isn't it interesting to see this furor over Moore, when all the Repubs, including women, voted for that drooling wolf who is now president after he exhibited, time after time, his disrespect and sneering jokes about grabbing womens private parts.  Evidently, respect for women has its limitations.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

@PDPDP8 @JFMcNamara @McGarnagle @breckenridge We need to have a sit down in America and talk about religion.  Religion has become a branch of a political party, not a non governmental charitable organization. 


Graham and Falwell are political leaders.  They are supporting their political candidate.  It has nothing to do with right, wrong, or the bible.

bu22
bu22

@Geraldine @breckenridge  At least he didn't rape women like Bill who the Democrats were all drooling over while disrespecting and sneering at Bill's victims.  If its one of their own politicians or their Hollywood contributors, Democrats really don't care about rape or pedophilia.  You just really look ridiculous complaining about Republicans with Bill and Hillary.

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

@McGarnagle @breckenridge  Won't completely surprise me if the people of AL elect him to the Senate just to give the middle finger to McConnell and other perceived establishment types not to mention the left media.

Once he's in the Senate we'll soon forget the alleged indiscretions - 'United States of Amnesia' ya know.

RufusATL
RufusATL

@bu22 @Geraldine @breckenridge Were we talking about Bill and Hillary?  Keep at it, and I'm sure you can find a way to blame Obama also for your boy Roy's shameful behavior.  

bu22
bu22

@RufusATL @bu22 @Geraldine @breckenridge  He blamed Republicans without acknowledging that Democrats had supported someone much worse than Trump in "disrespecting" women.  Work on your reading comprehension before trotting out standard talking points.

kreedham
kreedham

They won't elect him to give the middle finger to McConnell, they'll just vote for him because 1) they like him and 2) they won't vote for a democrat for any reason.