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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Georgia Primary Results

It was Primary Day in my home state of Georgia yesterday, yielding two results of national interest in a very low-turnout event.
In the Democratic primary to choose an opponent for incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, a scattered and low-spending field produced a runoff (in three weeks) between Dekalb County CEO Vernon Jones (40%) and former state Rep. Jim Martin (34%). Jones benefitted from a strong African-American vote, particularly in rural areas of the state, while Martin got some mileage from his statewide race for Lieutenant Governor in 2006, along with a host of endorsements. Jones gained a lot of notoriety from boasting that he’d voted twice for George W. Bush, but also tried to link his candidacy (via some photo-shopped images on fliers) to Barack Obama’s. Martin, a much more conventional national Democrat, should be favored in the runoff, but anything could happen given the very low turnout characteristic of runoffs in Georgia.
Meanwhile, down in the 12th congressional district, which runs from Augusta to Savannah, Democratic incumbent John Barrow beat a challenge from state senator Regina Thomas by better than a three-to-one margin. Barrow had drawn the ire of a lot of national progressives as a “Bush Dog” who supported war funding and FISA, and opposed SCHIP expansion. But he was also endorsed by Barack Obama, and had a huge funding advantage. He will be a solid favorite in November to retain his seat against Republican John Stone, a longtime congressional staffer.

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