It’s easy for Democrats to get excited about Michelle Nunn (D): She raises a lot of money, has a last name famous in Georgia, and has had close to a year to build her campaign before the general election. But now that David Perdue (R) has (somewhat unexpectedly) won the Republican Party’s nomination for Senate, it’s time for a reality check. Is a Democrat really going to win in Georgia, and are they really going to do it in 2014? — Democrats haven’t won a Senate or gubernatorial race in Georgia since 2000, when Zell Miller claimed victory. The state’s changing demographics have nudged it toward competitiveness, but President Obama lost handily there in 2008 and 2012. We might soon talk about the Peach State as a presidential battleground, but it’s not quite there yet. — Consider, especially, that it’s a midterm year — when minority participation drops as a share of the electorate — in which Obama’s approval numbers are dismal. A poll commissioned by Democracy Corps and the Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund released Tuesday found that in a dozen presidential battlegrounds (including Georgia), the president stood at just 37 percent. — Republicans eyeing the race believe it will be competitive but are confident that Perdue will ultimately prevail. Their big, early general election spending has not yet come to Georgia: No major outside group like the Chamber of Commerce or American Crossroads targeted Nunn in TV ads during the two-month runoff, the perfect time, in theory, to soften her up before the fall. It’s a sign Republicans aren’t feeling threatened by her, at least not yet. Perdue, a former high-flying CEO who Rep. Jack Kingston (R) knocked for living in a gated community, will be vulnerable to the same playbook Democrats so effectively ran in 2012 against Mitt Romney, and it would be foolhardy to write this race off yet. But as this race reaches the general election, it’s hard to consider Nunn anything other than a clear-cut underdog.— Alex Roarty
What We're Following See More »
In light of his recent confessions, the speakership of Dennis Hastert is being judged far more harshly. The New York Times' Carl Hulse notes that in hindsight, Hastert now "fares poorly" on a number of fronts, from his handling of the Mark Foley page scandal to "an explosion" of earmarks to the weakening of committee chairmen. "Even his namesake Hastert rule—the informal standard that no legislation should be brought to a vote without the support of a majority of the majority — has come to be seen as a structural barrier to compromise."
Even if "[t]he Republican presidential nomination may be in his sights ... Trump has so far ignored vital preparations needed for a quick and effective transition to the general election. The New York businessman has collected little information about tens of millions of voters he needs to turn out in the fall. He's sent few people to battleground states compared with likely Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, accumulated little if any research on her, and taken no steps to build a network capable of raising the roughly $1 billion needed to run a modern-day general election campaign."