The shortened runoff came after an election cycle in which Republican Senator David Perdue led Democrat Jon Ossoff in the November elections between 49.7 and 47.9. Perdue didn’t get quite the majority of the votes he would need under state law for a full win, however, and Ossoff defeated him by 50.6-49.4 in January. Republican candidates running in the fall all-party primary election also beat the combined Democratic vote between 49 and 48, but Democrat Raphael Warnock beat appointed GOP Senator Kelly Loeffler between 51 and 49 earlier this year.
Perdue was pissed off at the way things were going. Last month the former senator scolded that “[m]or more than 52% of Georgians “rejected my opponent and the liberal democratic agenda” in November without bothering to mention the majority who voted for Ossoff two months later. Perdue also suggested that the runoff itself was unfair , and said Ossoff and Warnock “are not fair to represent most Georgians. “
Perdue’s complaints about the electoral process were particularly rich since they came from a Republican republican Legislators themselves who reintroduced the Drain Act in 2005, which would force it into a second round. Republicans knew that black voters – who disproportionately favor Democrats – had a tendency to drop out at lower rates every other round of voting, a pattern that applied to every nationwide runoff election from 2006 to 2018.
The Republican legislature, however, did not take Perdue’s influence or her loss in the January overtime election as a call to get rid of the general election trick, and demanded that the candidates only win a large number of votes in November, which in almost all cases is the law and others States. Instead, Team Red appears to have decided that keeping this second round will be of more benefit to them, hoping the shortened calendar will hurt the Democrats. You may very well have a chance to test that theory next year when Warnock is ready for a full term.
The move to change the special electoral system now comes a little over a year after another drive to get rid of it collapsed amid GOP struggles. In January 2020, Republican MP Doug Collins announced that he would challenge Loeffler in the November all-party primary. Shortly before that statement, however, a State House committee overwhelmingly tabled a bill that would have required a partisan pre-election in May and a general election in November.
Collins’ Republican allies backed the push, believing an earlier race against Loeffler would benefit the Congressman, an ally of Trump who was initially far more prominent than Loeffler. The Democrats also backed it, believing that, given that Warnock and several Democrats are already running, it would be next to impossible for any of their candidates to get the majority of the votes they would need to run one avoid second round of voting. There was also the possibility that a multipath split on the left could also result in both Loeffler and Collins invading an all-GOP drain.
However, Kemp liked the status quo very much last year and threatened to veto any measure that would change the rules of the 2020 Senate race. Ultimately, the bill didn’t even reach Kemp’s desk, and Loeffler and Collins had to keep fighting it until November. This scenario likely benefited the deeply pocketed Loeffler, who now had a few months to take advantage of the tenure and run ads promoting himself and attacking Collins.
It’s impossible to know if Republicans would have kept that Senate seat if they had switched to a primary system a year ago, but they certainly didn’t win the special elections that took place. While polls, which weren’t conducted until mid-September, found that an all-GOP drain was possible, Warnock took first place when it announced its name in the fall. Loeffler and Collins both went hard to the right as they fought against it for months. Warnock took first place with 33% while Loeffler beat Collins with 26-20. Warnock then prevailed against Loeffler in January.
Both Loeffler and Collins are considering taking over Warnock for a full six-year term in 2022, a competition that will be run using the state’s regular primary system.
● MO Sen: Wealthy businessman John Brunner finally admitted directly Thursday that he was considering going for the Republican nomination for this open Senate seat. Brunner campaigned unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2012 and for the governor in 2016, giving him the dubious distinction of taking second place in the primaries against two of the most notorious names in Missouri politics: former MP Todd Akin and ex-Gov . Eric Greitens.
Greitens is currently running in the Senate area code, and absolutely no love is lost between him and Brunner. In 2015, Greitens angrily called his rival to complain about a campaign website linked to the former Brunner aide. “Oh, John Brunner, oh my god, you are such a weasel! Are you going to meet tomorrow or not?” demanded Greitens, an ex-Navy SEAL, and threateningly warned his rival: “I can’t wait to see you in person, John. I want to look into your eyes!” Unknown to Greitens, however, the conversation was recorded and later made public.
Things didn’t get better between the two of them over the next few months. Days after the loss to Greitens in the primary, Brunner tweeted: “I now believe that all statements that a participant in the Greitens campaign owned a juvenile sex slave are false and are withdrawing.” You can find the background story here.
● NC Sen: The Democrat Rett Newton, the mayor of the small coastal community of Beaufort (4,300 inhabitants), said the Carteret County News-Times Thursday that he would run for the Senate. Newton, a retired Air Force colonel, said he was motivated by the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
● MA-Gov: Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey has continued to fuel speculation over the past few weeks about her plans for 2022 as she has adopted an increasingly public profile, and she did not rule out a possible offer against Republican Governor Charlie Baker when given the opportunity .
On Wednesday, in the midst of what Spectrum News 1 called “eight campaign-style stops” in Worcester to address pandemic-related issues, Healey asked directly if she was considering taking over Baker. Healey in particular avoided replying, saying instead that the “schedule of the day is like the normal schedule I have as the Attorney General when I’m out and about”.
The following day, Healey attracted more attention when she went on Twitter to task the Baker administration with continuing to employ a consulting firm that Healey said had “advised opioid companies to” turbo-charge “opioid sales in order to profit to increase.” Boston.com called their message an “unusually direct reprimand” against Baker, who has not yet said whether he will run for a third term in 2022.
If Healey ran for governor, she would almost certainly be running the primary for the race’s best-known candidate: Healey won the 2018 re-election by a margin of 70-30, and she has nearly $ 3 million in her state account. Healey would be both the first woman elected to lead Massachusetts (Republican Jane Swift rose to office in 2001 but never sought an election of her own) and the Bay State’s first LGBTQ woman governor.
● VA Gov: Former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe received endorsement from Rep. Elaine Luria on Friday in his June campaign for his old job. Luria is the first member of the Virginia Democratic Congress delegation to campaign for the competition.
● MD-01: Former Democratic State Senator James Brochin recently told Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters he was considering a run against Republican MP Andy Harris. Brochin also said he could start another campaign for the Baltimore County’s executive branch instead if incumbent Johnny Olszewski, who beat him by 17 votes in the 2018 primary, runs for governor.
Brochin, whom Kurtz described as a “conservative anti-machine democrat,” may not want to run for Congress, no matter what Olszewski ultimately does. The former U.S. state senator said he wasn’t sure if he wanted to vote next year and that it might be better if Harris instead faced a primary challenge from Harford County’s executive Barry Glassman or JB Jennings, US state senator, is standing. Glassman has spoken about running against Harris, who he beat up earlier this year for sparking the attack on Congress on Jan. 6, when this is the first time we’ve mentioned Jennings.
Brochin also noted that the former Del. Heather Mizeur ran for the Democratic nomination, arguing that although she would be hard to beat in a primary, she would fight in a general election. Brochin is right that any Democrat in the current version of this seat, which Donald Trump supported 59-39 last year, would be an extremely long way to go, but the seat could look very different after the democratically dominated state parliament completes the restructuring process.