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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

For a really good update on the U. S. Senate run-off in Georgia, check out Greg Bluestein’s “Boots on the ground could be key to how US Senate runoff is won” at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Some excerpts: “After years of playing catch-up to Democrats’ vaunted get-out-the-vote efforts, Republicans poured more resources than ever into closing the gap in the midterm. Gov. Brian Kemp invested more than $10 million into building his own apparatus….It appears to have paid off. Amid underwhelming turnout, Republicans won every statewide race except for the U.S. Senate contest between Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker. Since neither won a majority of the vote, a Dec. 6 runoff is required….“Runoffs are about turnout. It’s a sprint, not a marathon — and whoever does a better job getting their folks to the polls wins,” said Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. “We intend for it to be us.”…His group plans to spend $2 million during the runoff to boost Walker’s campaign, with goals to knock on 400,000 doors and make 1 million calls through the election……the ongoing efforts to personally connect with voters play a paramount role in campaigns. Armed with sophisticated voter data and old-fashioned flyers, these door-to-door trips are no blind scavenger hunts for voters. Staffers and volunteers use apps and well-rehearsed scripts to target their most likely supporters with pinpoint accuracy.”

Bluestein adds, “About 200,000 Georgians backed Kemp and not Walker in the midterm, a crucial bloc of voters whose wariness of the Senate nominee helped plunge the race into overtime….Walker’s drop-off was sharply pronounced in Atlanta’s suburbs, an area where GOP canvassers have been particularly active during the runoff campaign….The RNC and state GOP boast 400 staffers to augment Walker’s team of about 30 field operatives. Pro-Walker outside groups are providing at least 100 more paid canvassers, some assigned to specifically target voters of color. Warnock’s campaign added about 300 more people to its payroll, for a total of more than 900 assigned to knock on doors, send texts and find other ways to connect with voters….Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition will distribute voter guides in 5,000 churches. Warnock’s campaign planned what an aide called an “impossible to miss” blitz, complete with airborne messages, to appeal to hard-to-reach voters….“The ground game is mission-critical during this runoff election, especially for Black and brown voters. And we knew we had to prepare for a runoff election well before the general election ended,” said Hillary Holley of Care in Action, part of a coalition that has knocked on 1.5 million doors since the day after the midterm.” On Wednesday, we reported on a recent poll showing an edge for Warnock. Democrats get extra traction from extremely dedicated and effective Black community GOTV organizers, including LaTosha Brown and Nse Ufot, who helped engineer the ‘Georgia flip’ of 2020-21, which elected two Democratic senators in the heart of the deep south. On the GOP side, however, Ralph Reed is also a highly experienced lead organizer for Walker, and he has lots of campaign money to spread around.

At The Hill, Julia Mueller reports ” Even though Senate control is not on the line, as many predicted it would be, Georgia is seeing high early voting turnout in the runoff. Data from the Georgia Secretary of State’s website showed early Sunday that some 90,000 voters had already cast their ballots just a day after early voting opened in some Georgia counties — after the Georgia Supreme Court denied a Republican bid to block Saturday early voting….More Georgians voted on Sunday than on any Sunday in the 2018, 2020 and 2022 general elections, or in the 2021 Senate runoff, according toWarnock’s campaign director Quentin Fulks. The Hill has reached out to the Georgia secretary of state for confirmation of that data….Polls show the two candidates are again neck-and-neck heading into the runoff….The latest FiveThirtyEight polling averages put Walker up 1 percentage point over Warnock, 47.8 percent to 46.8 percent. However, a poll released last week by AARP put Warnock ahead by 4 percentage points, though Walker was leading among voters older than 50….Warnock touted his character in a new television ad, after Walker has defended himself against abuse allegations from his ex-wife and claims from a former girlfriend that he paid for her abortion….“Character is what you do when nobody is watching. It’s about doing the right thing simply because it’s the right thing, and doing it over and over again,” the Democrat says in a recent ad, without naming Walker.”

Holly Otterbein and Madison Fernandez take a look at “The overlooked constituency both parties are now targeting in the Georgia runoff” at Politico. As the authors write: “Powered by a multimillion-dollar get-out-the-vote program, turnout among Asian Americans nearly doubled in Georgia from 2016 to 2020, according to the Democratic firm TargetSmart — a major boon for Democrats, who they backed overwhelmingly….The same analysis found that the number of ballots cast by Asian Americans in the state increased by upwards of 60,000 votes in 2020, more than the amount by which President Joe Biden carried Georgia. Now Asian American and Pacific Islander elected officials, donors and activists who support Warnock are trying to prove that those voters can be the margin of victory in this year’s runoff — and grow their clout in the process….“We’re the only demographic group that keeps going up,” said Georgia state Sen.-elect Nabilah Islam, who will be the first South Asian woman in the chamber. “So I’m confident that we’re going to be a huge voting bloc that will help deliver a win for Sen. Raphael Warnock.”….Though the GOP made some gains among Asian Americans this cycle, the voting bloc tends to lean Democratic nationally. In Georgia, exit polls in the November general election showed that Warnock beat Walker among Asian American voters by 20 percentage points, 59-39. By contrast, Kemp lost the voting bloc by only 8 percentage points, carrying the state in the process.” Making the campaign for this constituency more difficult, the term “Asian-American” represents a diverse constituency that speaks many different languages and embraces equally diverse cultures. As Executive Director of the Asian American Advocacy Fund Aisha Yaqoob Mahmood noted, “many people outside of the community underestimate the time and effort required to mobilize Asian American voters: “We are not a monolith. We have so many different language and cultural competency needs that often don’t get addressed in these political conversations.”

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