Georgia’s rising minority populations improve Democrats’ chances to break the Republican grip on statewide offices this year, but independent-minded white voters remain the key target for the next 100 days until the November election.
The campaigns of Jason Carter for governor and Michelle Nunn for the Senate aim to push black voters to 30 percent of the electorate, while winning close to 30 percent of white voters — well more than Democrats have managed statewide of late. Republicans are putting more money into organizing while contending that Georgia still is fundamentally a red state.
Last week the general election field was set for a pair of nationally watched races atop Georgia’s ticket. Republican Gov. Nathan Deal faces a spirited challenge from Carter, the grandson of President Jimmy Carter. And Republican businessman David Perdue, the cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, triumphed Tuesday in a runoff to face Nunn, the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, for Georgia’s open Senate seat.
Democrats’ attempts to capture swing voters are on display in Nunn’s cautious approach on the new health care law and Carter’s “yes” vote on a contentious gun rights expansion.
At the same time, they are spending big on sophisticated tactics to target and turn out base voters in the hopes of imitating President Barack Obama’s vaunted campaign machine — since Obama never bothered to spend money in Georgia in his re-election bid.