Last updated on October 31, 2020
Some very good news today out of Georgia courtesy of PPP’s latest poll:
PPP’s newest Georgia poll finds Jon Ossoff right on the cusp of avoiding a runoff in his race against David Perdue. Ossoff is at 47% to 44% for Perdue with Libertarian Shane Hazel at 3%. Ossoff’s 3 point lead represents an improvement from PPP’s last poll, which had him ahead 44-43. The main change in the dynamics of the race seems to be a decline in Perdue’s approval numbers in the wake of his racist comments about Kamala Harris at a recent rally- before that incident he had a 41/46 approval spread but that has now declined to 39/49.
PPP also conducted a private poll in Georgia’s 7th Congressional district on Monday and Tuesday which found Ossoff at 50% there to 44% for Perdue and just 2% for Hazel, lending further credence both to our statewide poll and others this week that have shown the contest trending in Ossoff’s direction.
One way to try to game out where the race will end up is to allocate the undecided voters for Senate based on whether they are voting for Biden or Trump, given the decline in ticket splitting in recent elections. That would put Ossoff at 49.9% with Perdue at 47% and Hazel at 3.1%. Of course polls aren’t that precise but regardless it shows how razor close to the 50% line the winner in this race could end up.
In Georgia’s other Senate race Raphael Warnock continues to grow his support and is now at 46% to 27% for Kelly Loeffler, 19% for Doug Collins, and 2% for Matt Lieberman. Warnock is a popular candidate with a net +21 favorability rating at 48/27. By contrast both the Republicans are unpopular- Loeffler has a 30/48 approval spread and Collins has a 26/40 favorability.
In the Presidential race Joe Biden is at 48% to 46% for Donald Trump. The generational divide in the Presidential race continues to suggest that this year may usher in Georgia being a key battleground state for years to come- Biden is up 53/39 with voters under 45 and 51/44 with voters between 46 and 65 and the only thing keeping Trump in the ballpark is a 60/36 advantage with seniors.
WOW – @ossoff utterly shreds Sen. Perdue here. I hope we flip this seat.
— A Hopeful Citizen (@ThePubliusUSA) October 29, 2020
Opening his salvo on the incumbent in Savannah, Georgia, last night, Ossoff said Perdue had attacked the health of Georgians with his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and his record of health care votes.
“You did say COVID-19 was no deadlier than the flu, you did say there would be no uptick in cases,” Ossoff said. “All the while, you were looking after your own assets, and your own portfolio. And you did vote four times to end protections for pre-existing conditions.”
The Democratic challenger added that Perdue’s proposed bill to replace Obamacare, the Protect Act, contained loopholes for insurance companies to block policies for those with pre-existing conditions.
“Can you look down the camera and tell the people of this state why you voted four times to allow insurance companies to deny us health coverage, because we may suffer from diabetes, or heart disease, or asthma, or have cancer in remission?” Ossoff added.
A clip of the Georgia Democrat’s remarks has been watched more than 2.7 million times since it was posted on social media late last night. A tweet of the footage has been liked and shared over 20,000 times.
Ossoff to Perdue:
“First, you were lengthening my nose in attack ads to remind everyone I was Jewish” pic.twitter.com/6agclGULFo
— Bill Grueskin (@BGrueskin) October 29, 2020
As Ossoff has homed in on the pandemic, Perdue has attacked his challenger’s company for working with Middle Eastern and Asian clients, falsely suggesting that Ossoff was “endorsed” by the Communist Party. He returned to those broadsides on Wednesday, when he dramatically pulled out a financial disclosure showing Ossoff’s firm had done business with a Hong Kong entity linked to the Chinese government.“He needs to own up to it, because sooner or later, we need someone in the United States Senate who will stand up to Communist China,” Perdue said.
That accusation led to another emotional rebuttal from Ossoff, where he pointed to an ad run by Perdue that had enlarged the size of his nose, an anti-Semitic trope. (Perdue’s campaign said the distorted image was an “unintentional error” by an outside vendor.)
“You’ve continued to demean yourself throughout this campaign with your conduct,” Ossoff retorted.
This year, Ossoff has centered his campaign on the corruption of both Trump and Perdue—the Georgia senator, with a blighted corporate past as CEO of Dollar General, last January bought stock in a personal protective equipment company on the very day he received a private Senate briefing on the impending Covid crisis—and the pandemic itself. It surged in the summer, thanks to GOP Governor Brian Kemp’s premature reopening, and is now surging again.
Ossoff is also benefiting from Abrams’s campaign, and her voting rights crusade. The group she founded, Fair Fight Action, says Georgia has added an astonishing 800,000 new voters since voter registration closed in October 2018—right before Abrams almost won. There’s more than one Senate race in Georgia this year: The retirement of GOP Senator Johnny Isakson has led to a free-for-all special election, in which Republicans Kelly Loeffler (the Kemp-appointed incumbent) and Representative Doug Collins are trying to out-Trump each other, as Democrat Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor of Atlanta’s storied Ebenezer Baptist Church, tries to sneak past them—and seems to be succeeding. Given Georgia’s complicated election laws, both races will go to January runoffs if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote. So control of the Senate could easily come down to Georgia. Stay tuned.
But Ossoff’s focus seems to be paying off, and several unforced errors by Perdue are only helping. National pollsters have moved the race from a “likely Republican” win to a “toss-up”; his campaign says its internal polling shows him beating Perdue 50-45. The clearest sign of the threat he poses is that Mitch McConnell’s Senate Victory Fund has spent more to defeat Ossoff than to thwart any other challenger in the country—more than $32 million, representing one in every five dollars spent to date, according to The Daily Beast.
Warnock, the 51-year-old senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, has adopted a get-out-the-vote strategy focused on ginning up enthusiasm among first-time voters and liberal diehards. It’s similar to what Stacey Abrams attempted in her failed 2018 gubernatorial bid. But with anti-Trump sentiment running high and control of the Senate possibly at stake, Democrats here think this time will be different.
Drawing on his past work as chairman of the New Georgia Project — an organization founded by Abrams — Warnock is aiming to turn out young and minority voters at record levels. He’s campaigning heavily in densely populated metro Atlanta while paying special attention to rural outposts like Cuthbert, a town of 4,000 near the Alabama border where he met DJ Ray J.
About 800,000 new voters have registered since 2018, nearly three times the number Abrams registered during her campaign. Young voters and people of color form the majority of those newly registered. Moreover, Trump is on the ropes in Georgia, polling evenly with Joe Biden within the margin of error — a sign that onetime supporters of the president are defecting to Democrats.
As for Loeffler, she’s either been resorting to racist dog whistling:
Loeffler, you see, is a co-owner of the Dream, and she criticized the league’s social justice efforts to try to burnish her credentials with conservatives. Players expressed outrage initially, but then went silent. They recognized that a public back-and-forth would only benefit Loeffler.
Instead, they reached out to Warnock.
Warnock, who was a young seminarian the first time he was arrested, at a protest of the killing of Amadou Diallo by New York City police in 1999, said he thought the conversation with WNBA players would be more of a pep talk. A chance to tell them how proud he was of them and to keep doing what they’d been doing.
“I was surprised that their co-owner, Kelly Loeffler, would use them in such a cheap and obvious way, as a political foil, for her own political purposes,” Warnock said. “I was happy that I was able to talk to them, to encourage them to continue to stand up.”
But the players wanted to know about Warnock’s history as a social justice activist and what advice he had on using their platform. They asked him to explain his stance on issues that mattered to them: Police reform. Criminal justice reform. LGBTQ rights. Reproductive rights.
It was soon clear they shared the same values and vision.
“In the same way that he says it was kind of a pivotal point for him in his race, for people who may not have known about him, we were those same people,” said Nneka Ogwumike, the Los Angeles Sparks forward and president of the WNBA Players Association.
The video of @KLoeffler saying she's "not familiar" with the infamous Access Hollywood tape of Donald Trump bragging about groping women has to be seen to be believed https://t.co/26PqXK26WS pic.twitter.com/gtjClBVwbj
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 29, 2020
Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-GA., claimed Wednesday night she was “not familiar” with President Donald Trump’s now-infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape where he described sexually assaulting women.
Loeffler, who is in a tight reelection race, gave a vague answer when local reporters asked Wednesday if she was aware Trump had been recorded talking about groping women, after saying previously she’d never disagreed with anything Trump has said or done.
“Look, I agree with the approach President Trump has taken since day one to put America first. What I am focused on is working for Georgians in Washington and being their voice. And being a conservative champion for Georgians,” Loeffler said in response, furrowing her eyebrows.
A journalist pushed back that Loeffler’s answer didn’t address whether she had any issues with Trump’s comments in the “Access Hollywood” tape, to which she replied: “I’m sorry. I’m not familiar with that.”
By the way, in case you didn’t know:
What do Republican Sens. Martha McSally (Ariz.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), David Perdue (Ga.), Kelly Loeffler (Ga.), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) have in common?At least two things: They’re all in tight reelection campaigns, and they all received a maxed-out donation from Federalist Society co-founder and board chairman Steven Calabresi during Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation process.Barrett is a longtime member of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal organization that has chosen and helped confirm all three of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominees and nearly all of his 53 appeals court judges. The group, part of a vast and secretive $250 million network of groups promoting conservative judges and causes, was hugely invested in getting Barrett onto the high court.A review of Federal Election Commission reports shows all six senators received $2,800 from Calabresi, the maximum amount an individual can contribute to a campaign in a general election, between Oct. 9 and Oct. 19. Barrett’s confirmation hearing took place between Oct. 12 and Oct. 15, and she was voted out of committee on Oct. 22.
Delivering a speech intended to be part of his closing argument to voters in the homestretch, Mr. Biden traveled to the onetime retreat of Franklin D. Roosevelt, making a let-us-come-together appeal that evoked the sort of common purpose that sustained the country during the Great Depression and World War II and that Mr. Biden said was needed to overcome the coronavirus.
With language that at times sounded more like that of a president-elect than a candidate, Mr. Biden attempted to portray himself as a man of destiny. “God and history have called us to this moment and to this mission,” he said, citing Ecclesiastes. “The Bible tells us there’s a time to break down, and a time to build up. A time to heal. This is that time.”
While the Biden campaign is primarily focused on northern battleground states, where most polls show him ahead, Georgia carries tantalizing potential for the former vice president. This is the sort of Republican-leaning state that, if the president loses, would likely be the leading edge of a national rout.
Scorning Mr. Trump for his cavalier handling of the virus and lamenting the country’s economic hardships, racial inequities and toxic polarization, Mr. Biden said he would not accept that “the heart of this nation turned to stone.”
Let’s keep up the momentum to flip Georgia Blue. Click below to donate and get involved with Warnock, Ossoff, Biden and their fellow Georgia Democrats campaigns:
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