Georgia should still be on the mind of Democrats
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Almost won't do it.

Jon Ossoff had a lot of things going for him in the special election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. He raised $8.3 million, a stupendous amount.

Ossoff had the Democratic field virtually to himself. There were three other Democrats running, but they were never a factor.

The Republicans were split and there were a lot of them.

Eleven in all.

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Finally, the one critical component which now seems to favor Democratic candidates and lead to victory was abundantly present in this congressional district. That critical element is the number of college educated voters. Georgia 6th district is described universally as one of the "best educated districts in the country."

 

In the 2016 Presidential election, Hillary Clinton won the 10 "most educated" districts. She didn't win the 6th District, but she sure made it close.

She lost by just 1.5 points.

Four years earlier in 2012, Mitt Romney won this district by a whopping 23 points. The former incumbent Tom Price who vacated the seat to become Secretary of Health and Human Services appeared to be extremely popular here.

In November 2016 he won with 62 percent of the vote.

Ossoff had to get 50 percent to avoid a runoff. He got 48 percent.

The leading Republican Karen Handel lagged far behind at 19 percent. 

Three other Republican candidates got 9 percent and 8 percent respectively.

It should be noted this District has a Republican registration advantage. Most important the last time it elected a Democrat was when Jimmy Carter won the Presidency in 1976.

The seat went Republican with the election of Newt Gingrich in 1978. There is no Republican House member, former or present, Democrats love to hate more than Gingrich.

If Ossoff had won a clear victory (more than 50 percent) everybody would have said a Democrat has Gingrich's old seat. That would have hurt and said quite a bit about the future of the GOP.

Democrats are fond of pointing out that in 2016 Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonClinton: ‘I don’t die’ despite the right’s ‘best efforts’ Clinton: Comey firing is ‘an effort to derail and bury’ Russia probe RNC slams Clinton speech as example of 'why she lost' MORE won 23 House districts that Republican members now hold. Dems need 24 house seats to regain control of the House in 2018.

The special election in Georgia's 6th District was to be a dress rehearsal for a future Democratic tidal wave that would sweep the country in the 2018 mid-terms.

This possibility is not out of reach. It should be remembered and noted that the opposing party usually makes great gains in the first mid-term elections. 

In 2010, the first mid-term of the Obama years, Dems who were in the majority with commanding numbers fell into the minority. They lost an astounding 63 seats. 

The runoff is slated for June 20. It will be a two person race. Ossoff the Democrat versus Handel the Republican.

Republicans are hoping that they can unite and keep the seat Republican.

Ossoff has to keep his 48 percent and just add 2 more points. It would be helpful if Ossoff moved into the district in which he is running. He presently lives outside the district and that could be an issue.

The runoff will be at a time when people are otherwise busy and engaged (graduations, weddings, and summer vacations.) The candidate who has the most fervent base should win. Right now I would think it is Ossoff's race to lose.

In closing, a few words must be made about the Southern Primary run-off requirement.

The 50 percent requirement is far too high. North Carolina requires a much more acceptable 40 percent.

In my opinion, let's make it simple.

The person who gets the most votes wins.

A simple plurality is sufficient and fair. Do away with the runoffs.

Mark Plotkin is a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a columnist for The Georgetowner. Previously, he was the political analyst for WAMU-FM, Washington's NPR affiliate, where he co-hosted the "D.C. Politics Hour With Mark Plotkin." He later became the political analyst for WTOP-FM, Washington's all-news radio station, where he hosted "The Politics Hour With Mark Plotkin." He is a winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in writing.


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