Randy Evans: 2014 Predictions Becoming Reality

19
Mar

Randy Evans: 2014 Predictions Becoming Reality

Your Georgia Desk:

Randy Evans

 The Evans Report by Randy Evans

2014 predictions becoming reality

During the last several months, the Evans Report made some bold predictions long before the events that transpired for the upcoming 2014 primary and general election. At the time, most pundits were still pontificating about elections in the rest of the country, assuming that Georgia would be a relatively uneventful affair with Republicans cruising toward another year of Election Day dominance and Democrats still struggling to find the candidates and resources to mount a serious challenge.

Yet, readers of the Evans Report had the inside information about how things would actually shape up. Now, with qualifying for public office in 2014 completed, it is clear that those predictions look a lot more like reality than anyone expected. Here is a quick review.

In the U.S. Senate race to replace retiring senior Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Democrats recruited Michelle Nunn to run while Republicans fielded a host of candidates. Early on, the Evans Report predicted a strong Democratic challenger aided by the fundraising prowess of a sitting president and the ever-changing electorate in Georgia. In addition, the Evans Report noted that while many Republican candidates would consider, and even campaign for the Senate, some would not make the race.

Of course, on the eve of qualifying, one of the Republican self-funders changed direction and decided to redirect his efforts toward the House of Representatives rather than stay in the race. Eugene Yu made what he called a “Yu turn” and decided to join the field challenging Congressman John Barrow notwithstanding his clever and innovative campaigning for United States Senate.

More significantly, the Evans Report predicted that Georgia Democrats would not be content with just the Senate race and would challenge other constitutional offices, drawing on a bench of candidates with recognizable political names to create an actual “ticket” to prevent the concentration of Republican resources in just one race.

It came as no surprise when state Sen. Jason Carter stepped up to the political plate to challenge incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal, and he was not alone.

Other names from years gone by joined Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter during qualifying to create the “legacy ticket” – purportedly distancing themselves from the national Democratic Party while attempting to ride the residual name recognition of political leaders from Georgia’s past.

Meanwhile, as predicted, Georgia Republicans faced the challenges of a political party with too many good candidates and not enough vacancies to go around. With three Congressmen running for the U.S. Senate, and many other incumbent state officeholders deciding to move up or out, the Republican primary is – as predicted – a crowded affair with lots of candidates and runoffs almost certain around the state.

Yet, with so many Republicans, and so little fundraising dollars to go around, most find themselves feverishly campaigning the old-fashioned way – small events, local debates and phone banks/email blasts targeting voters individually. As a result, as noted just a couple of weeks ago, most have failed to break through in either name recognition or fundraising to become front-runners in any sense of the word.

Recognizing the challenge, Republican officeholders who are seeking re-election are moving quickly to end the 2014 Georgia General Assembly session so that they can get to the business at hand – getting re-elected. The Evans Report predictions of a fast legislative session have been borne out by the targeted early end to the 2014 Georgia General Assembly before the end of March. Even shortened, however, this only leaves incumbent officeholders with primary challengers around two months to raise the money, campaign and win re-election on May 20.

But, the Evans Report noted just days ago that more elections will be won on the last day of qualifying than on Election Day. Again, that proved to be true. Notwithstanding the recruitment at the top of the ticket, Republicans are assured control of the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate because not enough Democrats qualified to make a difference in the control of either legislative body.

The same was true for judicial elections. The Evans Report boldly predicted before qualifying that there would be no challengers for any of the appellate judges seeking reelection in 2014. And, true to form, none of the Georgia Supreme Court Justices or Court of Appeals judges face any challengers in 2014. As a result, those elections are over even before the first vote has been cast.

Finally, the Evans Report noted that the Republican U.S. Senate primary among the candidates who did qualify had yet to even begin beyond raising money. Instead, the real media war was only now about to begin and begin it has. Republican U.S. Senate candidates with money are beginning to spend it with a trickle of biographical advertisements to be followed by a heavy dose of real political advertising just around the corner.

Still to come will be the runoffs – often nasty and bitter – to be followed by even rougher campaigns in the fall.

Georgia will be a state to watch as it all unfolds. And readers will get some insight as to what happens next before it even happens.

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