Republicans are running scared in Georgia’s race for the U.S. Senate and no one is more surprised than the state’s Democrats.
The Hill blog reported Friday that Democratic Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn is polling ahead of Republican candidate David Perdue. Not only is Nunn in coming out ahead in poll after poll about the general election, when surveyors asked about a run-off — which is likely, given the closeness of the race — Nunn comes out with an even greater advantage, polling seven percentage points higher than Perdue.
“Wow, really?” the Hill quoted one Georgia Democratic activist as saying. Nunn, if elected, would be the first Democrat elected statewide in Georgia in more than a decade.
Nunn gained a key advantage when Perdue bragged about his business record, saying that he was proud to have outsourced thousands of Georgia jobs to overseas companies, leading some in the state to call him “Mitt Romney without the charm.”
Progressive activists like Better Georgia’s Bryan Long, however, say that this is exactly what they have been working toward for years. While Democrats in Washington had largely given up Georgia to Republicans, progressive groups have been fighting to register voters and even up the state’s political playing field.
“I’m thrilled,” Long told Raw Story on Saturday. He said that while “a lot of people in Georgia didn’t realize the battle was going to come this cycle.”
But with Nunn leading the Senate race and Democratic candidate for governor Jason Carter — grandson of former President Jimmy Carter — leading their respective races, Georgia Democrats are ready to seize the momentum for the 2014 midterm elections and beyond.
“This doesn’t go away after the election,” said Long. “I hope nobody’s thinking that this fight is over on Nov. 5. With or without run-offs, we’re going to keep fighting right up to 2016 and on into 2018. There’s too much at stake.”
Georgia Republicans, he said, have sunk the state’s economy and denied the population access to health care through attempts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and to block Medicaid expansion.
Gov. Nathan Deal has publicly bragged about flouting the Voting Rights Act, disenfranchising black voters and justifying it by saying that “ghetto grandmothers” should be able to sway the vote in Democrats’ favor.
“Georgia Republicans have been bad for a long, long time,” Long said. “This is not just about how bad Republicans are performing, it’s just that now they’re finally being held accountable. That’s the difference.”