A group of legislators have asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to move the May 19th Georgia state primary to the “latest possible date” as a COVID-19 precaution. Mr. Raffensperger responded that he has no such power and that the legislature and Governor would have to act. He pointed out that the Georgia presidential primary was moved from March 24th to May 19th because the state was under an Emergency Order from the Governor. By May 19th, Mr. Raffensperger explained, the Order will have expired.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution published another story about appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s (R) major stock transactions around the time she was participating in closed door Senate meetings about the Coronavirus. According to the article, Ms. Loeffler sold over $18 million in stocks, and purchased some for a company that makes COVID-19 protective garments. Additionally, Ms. Loeffler’s husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, which will certainly be an issue in the coming campaign.
Sen. Loeffler is a filed candidate for the Senate special jungle primary that is scheduled for November 3rd. Her opponents include Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville), businessman Matt Lieberman (D), Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) who the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has endorsed, and former US Attorney Ed Tarver (D). If no one receives 50% support on November 3rd, the top two finishers regardless of political party affiliation, advance to the special general runoff on January 5, 2021.
The latest track in a four-poll series from the Battleground Connect research organization (3/24; 1,025 GA likely jungle primary voters) finds Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) beginning to establish a strong lead over the bipartisan candidate field though the jungle primary, concurrent with the November 3rd general election, is still a long way away.
The track finds Mr. Collins capturing 34.1% on the ballot test with Atlanta businessman Matt Lieberman (D), son of former Connecticut Senator and 2000 Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Lieberman, in a distant second position with 18.4%. Appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) falls to third position with just 13.6%, just ahead of Rev. Raphael Warnock’s (D) 13.3 percent. Former US Attorney Ed Tarver (D) is way back with only 5% support. When the tracking series began on March 7th, again with 1,025 respondents, Mr. Collins’ advantage was 29-20-16-12-5% over Sen. Loeffler, Mr. Lieberman, Rev. Warnock, and Mr. Tarver, respectively.
Though the poll did not determine the reasoning behind candidate selection, Loeffler’s steep drop in support coincides with news stories reporting that she sold millions of dollars in stocks just after receiving the first COVID-19 briefings that Senators were provided.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution released a statewide Georgia Democratic primary poll of the Senate-A race, where first term Sen. David Perdue (R) is seeking re-election. According to the survey (3/4-14; 807 GA likely Democratic primary voters), journalist and former congressional candidate Jon Ossoff leads the field of seven candidates with 29% preference. Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson is second with 15% just barely ahead of 2018 Lt. Governor nominee Sarah Riggs Amico who posted 14% support. The Georgia primary is May 19th.
Sen. Perdue is favored for re-election, and this race is likely to draw much less attention than the special election where appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) is also running against strong competition to serve the balance of resigned Sen. Johnny Isakson’s final term.
Georgia election officials have moved their stand-alone March 24th presidential primary to May 19th, the date of the regular Georgia state primary. They say it is a response to the COVID-19 virus, but with the Democratic race being all but over, it made little sense to hold two statewide elections within three weeks of one another.
While the Georgia Senate special election is running semi-concurrently with the regular election calendar, until yesterday there was no candidate filing deadline. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has now enjoined the special Senate race candidate filing with the regular election time line, which is March 6th.
While the special election filing schedule is now the same as the regular calendar, the special remains unique. Instead of partisan primaries on May 19th with a potential run-off on July 21st for all other races, the special jungle primary runs concurrently with the November 3rd general election, with a run-off on January 5, 2021 if no one obtains 50% in the first vote. Therefore, while the special Senate candidates are filing in early March, they won’t be on a ballot until eight months later.
Former US Attorney Ed Tarver (D), also a former Georgia state Senator who had said he would soon enter the race, formally announced his candidacy yesterday. He will join notable candidates Kelly Loeffler (R), the appointed incumbent, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville), businessman Matt Lieberman (D), and Baptist pastor Raphael Warnock (D) in the jungle primary field.
The primary election isn’t until Election Day, November 3rd. If no one scores majority support, a run-off will occur on January 5, 2021. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has already endorsed Dr. Warnock in hopes of making him a consensus candidate to ensure that a Democrat qualifies for the run-off election.
Now that Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) is officially running for the Senate, local individuals are beginning to announce their candidacies for what will be an open north Georgia congressional district. Formally coming forward are former 10th District Congressman Paul Broun (R), who ran for the Senate in 2012 and lost a 2016 primary to Rep. Collins, state Sen. John Wilkinson (R-Toccoa), and state Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville), chairman of the House Transportation Committee. The 9th District, recording a 78% Trump percentage in 2016, is safely Republican.
Realizing that the Georgia special Senate election will remain a jungle primary after the Speaker of the state House of Representatives said the legislation to change the primary calendar would not apply to this year’s election, thus increasing fears that a Democrat may not qualify for a run-off election, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has formally endorsed Rev. Raphael Warnock a day after he officially announced his candidacy.
In the race is Atlanta businessman Matt Lieberman, son of 2000 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee and ex-Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, while former US Attorney Ed Tarver (D) promises to announce his candidacy within weeks. Republican appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler will be on the ballot along with GOP Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville). If no one earns majority support on November 3rd, the top two finishers will advance to a run-off election on January 5, 2021. The eventual winner serves the final two-years of resigned Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R) term and will be eligible to run for a full six-year stint in 2022.
Two days ago, four-term Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) entered the Senate contest to oppose newly appointed Georgia incumbent Kelly Loeffler (R) in an expected move. Yesterday, also as predicted, Rev. Raphael Warnock, who pastors the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, declared his candidacy as a Democrat. Ebenezer is historic because Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in the church, co-pastored there with his father, and was the site of his funeral. Rev. Warnock, 49, has been senior pastor at the church, which was originally founded in 1886, since 2005.
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