I’m out of the “pundit” business. I don’t do predictions. If most pundits were honest, they would admit that the prediction/punditry game is mostly a parlor game for entertainment purposes to fill time while we wait on election results. Over the last week the constant question I’ve been asked is “Are we expecting any surprises?”. My reply has been pretty consistent: “We’re about to nominate Donald Trump for President. What, exactly, constitutes a “surprise”?” It’s mostly a rhetorical question.
With that said, here’s the Congressional races I’m watching, based on what I’ve been able to observe mostly from the comfort of my own home. YMMV.
The US Senate: Johnny Isakson will win. The two other people in the GOP primary are unfit to serve. One has espoused the virtues of his criminal record while having his campaign shut down by the FEC. The other is completely out of touch with reality, asking questions such as “have you read ‘the’ education bill?” and believing that all the money spent on a couple dozen roundabouts could build two entire interstate highways to bypass Atlanta. She believes any fact or data that contradicts her “common sense” is a government conspiracy. In short, this race is only a litmus test of how much anger within the GOP base is directed at the GOP. Phrased differently, the results will tell us how close the GOP is to destroying itself from within.
US House Districts:
3rd: OPEN PRIMARY! This is the one race with no incumbent. This is also where I grew up and cut my political teeth. It’s no longer “home”, and in a lot of ways barely resembles the GOP base that I knew just 10-20 years ago. How so? The “establishment” in the district is decidedly anti-establishment. There are more GOP organizations dedicated to removing incumbents than worry about getting republicans elected. It’s no wonder Lynn Westmoreland decided that doing the thankless over and over again and expecting a different result didn’t compete as a priority over time with his grandkids.
To replace him, it’s potentially a four way contest. Mike Crane is the establishment choice, running firmly as the anti-establishment candidate attempting to out-Christian the field. His HQ is the CruzCrew from the Coweta GOP, now on another generation of Frost family professional outside agitation. These are the folks that managed to engineer a straw poll showing Cruz had 80% of Coweta’s GOP support, with Cruz only getting 25% of the actual voters a few weeks later. We’ll see if they’re able to do better with their shameless support of Crane.
Jim Pace is a businessman from Peachtree City, and is partners with Dan Cathy in Pinewood studios. Is it really possible to out-Christian Dan Cathy’s Business partner? Pace is sufficiently an outsider with true social conservative bonafides that he should be seen as a credible alternative to Crane without having to burn it all down to accomplish the end goals.
Drew Ferguson is a dentist and Mayor of West Point Georgia. Geographically, he seems to have much of the support from the southern end of the district (Troup, Harris, Muscogee). The question for Ferguson is how much support he’s been able gain in the voter rich southern metro.
The dark horse that seems to have gained some traction is Richard Mix of Newnan. I’m told he’s doing well with sign placement, and has somewhat of a genuine grassroots effort. Seems to have traction in the western part of the district. Strength may be due to the fact that he was “Trump” before Trump was cool.
Only thing I can conclude (actually, I conclude nothing) is that I expect a runoff. Pick any two of the above 4.
8th: Austin Scott is the President of the Tea Party class of 2010. He’s voted the interests of the district well with Agriculture and Military issues. But, he hasn’t ended Obamacare, balanced the budget, eliminated all taxes, or stopped Sharia Law from recruiting our children in unisex bathrooms. Despite these obvious failures, I don’t see Angela Hix as a threat.
9th: Paul Broun looked straight at the GPB cameras during their debate and said he’s never voted for John Boehner, and never voted for an omnibus bill. The only thing worse than a pathological liar in politics is one that does so in the name of Christ. Paul Broun is a money changer in the evangelical political temple, and needs to be permanently retired from politics. That won’t happen just by beating him (again) at the ballot box, as history suggests after two failed U.S. Senate races and his now run from a third unique congressional district, he’ll just run again. Hopefully the feds can finish their investigation and put him in jail where he belongs. There, he will be equally productive and less a burden to taxpayers than if he’s drawing a $174K salary and funding campaigns from office expenses.
That said, Collins is running in arguably the most “conservative” district in the state, and the cabal taking him on has been somewhat strategic in their attempt to divide and conquer. So long as Collins gets 50%+1, it’s a major victory not only for him, but for actual conservatives.
11th: This is a two man race with five candidates. Because the three others have some local name ID and experience running, it could in theory pull Loudermilk into a runoff while defending his first term. Much of that depends on how much traction newcomer/outsider Daniel Cowan has achieved, and how much of Loudermilk’s previous base is still sore about that whole “Boehner” thing.
12th: Wait. Eugene Yu is really running? I had forgotten this. Did we ever get answers on his campaign financing from two years ago? Regardless, Rick Allen isn’t in any trouble here.
14th: Tom Graves was Ted Cruz’s House co-conspirator leading to the U.S. Government shutdown a couple of years ago. Today, he’s being primaried. From. His. Right. Graves wins. LaFayette Underground creates new conspiracy theory.
That should tell you where we are with GOP politics. Everybody’s so different, but I haven’t changed.