There is no denying that 2020 was already set to be an interesting election year in our state.
Presidential election years always peak voter interest. There will be the state’s Democratic presidential primary in March. As we have covered before in this space, there will not be a Republican presidential primary for Georgia, even though there are multiple candidates running. That tells you all you need to know about what state GOP officials think about open elections.
Primary or not, President Trump remains a very popular leader with about half of Georgia. It’s pretty much the same across the country. He definitely has a strong and vocal group of supporters in the Peach State. I can’t remember ever seeing campaign signs for a president’s re-election more than a year out. Heck, some supporters began displaying Trump 2020 signs before his first swearing-in.
While there remains a large number of Democrats seeking to challenge President Trump in the general election, voters in that party’s primary should make their choice carefully. While I have been wrong about past elections and certainly could be this time, it just doesn’t seem likely that Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren would be able to defeat President Trump.
It’s also not guaranteed that Bernie Sanders would be able to, although he would stand a better chance than Biden or Warren.
If I were advising the Democrats (which I am not since I am not one), the wise choice would be a new face like Pete Buttigieg or Tulsi Gabbard. Both have military backgrounds and are attempting to appeal to the very small slice of undecided voters. Gabbard in fact has made it a point of her campaign that Democrats and Republicans have to work together for the best interest of our country.
Politics, especially presidential campaign politics, can be funny at times. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out and who the Democrats nominate. Georgia’s 16 electoral votes should go to President Trump in 2020 but the margin of victory for the Republicans has been getting smaller in recent general elections.
Both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats are up in 2020. It normally would not be that way. David Perdue is up for re-election this year but there will also be a special election for the seat previously held by Johnny Isakson.
Perdue has a long list of Democrats who hope to face him in November. He also has some Republican primary opponents but none have the resources to legitimately challenge him for the nomination.
The truly interesting race to watch will be for Isakson’s former seat. Gov. Brian Kemp went against President Trump and selected Kelly Loeffler to fill the position until the special election. That has sparked a civil war among some state GOP members and it will not be shocking if President Trump enters the fray.
President Trump wanted Congressman Doug Collins to be appointed. Collins has now officially thrown his hat into the ring and will try to win the seat through the voters rather than the governor. Collins had been one of the president’s biggest allies and Trump likes rewarding loyalty.
What makes this race fascinating is that it will be a special election where all candidates, regardless of party, will face off in November. There will not be a primary. You could end up with three or four Republicans, seven or eight Democrats and a Libertarian and Green Party candidate thrown in to boot.
News broke last week that some backers of Collins in the state legislature are trying to pass a bill which would do away with the special election format and allow this race to have primaries. Kemp has vowed to veto the legislation if it does reach his desk although some of the top political observers in Georgia doubt it will get that far along.
In reality, there is no need for a primary. Collins (and anyone else running for that matter) knew the rules that were in place for this special election. If Collins wanted to compete in a Republican primary for the U.S. Senate he could have challenged Perdue.
With numerous candidates set to be in the U.S. Senate special election there will likely be a runoff. It is certainly possible that Collins and Loeffler could be the last two standing. One shouldn’t rule out Democrat Matt Lieberman, son of former vice president candidate Joe Lieberman, or Raphael Warnock, a pastor and civil rights activists.
To date Lieberman and Warnock are the top two names on the Democratic side for the special election. Some Democratic Party officials want Warnock to have an open path but Lieberman is not likely to drop out and other Democrats have said they are not going to exit the race.
The part of this race which is fascinating is the Loeffler-Collins saga. As mentioned, we could see President Trump in Georgia campaigning opposite of Gov. Kemp. Republicans don’t want to see it but it would be fascinating to watch. Stay tuned.