Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball holds the rating on Georgia’s Senate race between Senator David Perdue and Jon Ossoff as “leans Republican” noting a tight statewide race. Senator Perdue maintains the edge, with Sabato giving a nod to a possible runoff – viewed as a firewall for Perdue.
In Georgia, Sen. David Perdue (R) is locked in a close race with former congressional candidate Jon Ossoff (D), although he generally polls a little bit better than Trump, and he may be able to attract a little bit of crucial crossover support from Trump-skeptical Metro Atlanta suburbanites who aren’t quite ready to abandon the GOP down the ballot. Perdue also has a backstop in his race: a general election runoff if no one gets over 50%. As we explained in a deep dive on Georgia, the runoff scenario could help Republicans in terms of turnout. So Ossoff may need to get over 50% in the November general election to practically be able to win the seat.
In the special election to fill the unexpired two year term of Senator Isakson, Sabato feels a bit more strongly that the seat will remain in Republican hands and upgrades the rating for Republicans to “likely R”. Senator Kelly Loeffler and Congressman Doug Collins continue to beat the hell out of each other, but according to a recent Monmouth poll the Democrats’ chosen candidate is currently polling behind the son of a former Connecticut Senator. Presuming almost certainty of the field of 20ish candidates goes to a runoff, the edge is to the Republicans, per Sabato.
Speaking of Georgia, we are moving the special Georgia Senate race from Leans Republican to Likely Republican for several reasons. First of all, we already mentioned the possibility of a runoff in the other Georgia seat, and that Democrats face certain hardships in Georgia runoffs. A runoff is virtually guaranteed in the special race because it is an all-party primary and there are many candidates on both sides. Additionally, it is not even clear that the Democrats will advance a candidate to the runoff: appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and her top GOP challenger, Rep. Doug Collins (R, GA-9), often finish atop polls, while the Rev. Raphael Warnock (D), the choice of national Democrats, sometimes lags behind Matt Lieberman (D), the son of former Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), with former U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver (D) also garnering some support. So Democrats have work to do to just get into the runoff, and if they get there, they have to deal with the same turnout problems that have beguiled them in past runoffs. So the Republicans have a few important backstops in this race.