Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ossoff Runoff

Democrats came unbearably close to winning the special election in GA-06 to replace current HHS Secretary Tom Price.  This is Newt Gingrich's old seat and a bastion of suburban Southern Republicanism.  Jon Ossoff took 48% of the vote, but that will necessitate a run-off in June with Karen Handel.

The odds are long that Ossoff can hold off a united Republican field in June, as the dynamics of a jungle primary with a large number of Republicans running favored Ossoff in this round only.  However, there are two questions.  First, CAN the GOP unify around an insider candidate like Handel?  Much of the Trump GOP is motivated by a revulsion with GOP insider politics.  That's why the GOP field was so fractured.  How many populist votes can Ossoff siphon off?  Probably not many.  But how many populist GOP voters stay home in June?  That's critical.

Second, is the news for the GOP expected to get any appreciably better between now and June?

GA-06 was always a long shot.  Democrats probably have a better shot at the Montana At-Large seat.  But it does show a partisan shift towards Democrats that could be critical in November 2018.

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