Gary Wisenbaker, Valdosta Today Editorial Director:
One week ago Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jim Galloway, who, like the Colossus of Rhodes “strides the world” of Georgia politics, announced that the 2014 election cycle would signal the demise of GOP dominance in Georgia and put Georgia “in play”. Hence, the state would become a mix of red (Republican) and blue (Democrat), “purple” the pundits like to say, in its elective make up.
As Galloway put it: “We are now a state in play, and only the nimble will survive.” Whatever that means.
The Oracle he based his unassailable punditry on was none other than an unnamed “prominent Democratic state lawmaker” at the state Capitol who revealed to him, “Win or lose, it’s been a gift year. This wasn’t supposed to happen this soon.”
One can hear the very sigh of poignancy as the Oracle shared her vision and its inevitability. The veracity of such an astounding revelation left Galloway no choice but to accept it as fait accompli. Watch out, GOP: the sky is falling.
What are these people in Atlanta smoking?
So here it is the day after this momentous election event and Georgia remains firmly in the GOP column. And even more so. To borrow a rhetorical device from an insurance commercial: “Everybody knows that.”
A cursory review of the partisan political scorecard in Georgia would have revealed the obvious outcome to anyone willing to view the facts free of any partisan agenda.
There are seven constitutional offices in the Georgia and all are held by elected Republicans. The Georgia House of Representatives and State Senate are both controlled by the GOP. After Tuesday, the 14 member Georgia congressional delegation contains only 4 Democrats and is, therefore, controlled by the GOP. Both U.S. senators are Republicans.
Stronger memories might recall that in 2010 Republican Nathan Deal won with a 10 point spread over Democrat Roy Barnes and U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson beat Democrat African American Mike Thurmond by nearly 20 points. And this was a year when the black voter share hit 32%.
Just two years ago in 2012, Georgia gave Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney over 53% of the vote and nearly a seven point spread over Democrat Obama. And this is with Obama on the ticket drawing out black voters who made up roughly 33% of those voting. Georgia voters rehired all nine GOP congressmen and extended the Republican lease at the state Capitol.
Nothing changed last night.
The Oracle’s intoxicant of hopeful expectations must have originated in the sea of negative press flooding over Deal and Perdue earlier in the campaign season.
Deal came under an intense barrage of negative press swirling around alleged ethics violations that even culminated in a trial of the former head of the ethics in government agency. This took place in the vote rich Atlanta media markets and the pounding was daily front page news lead by the AJC. All Jason Carter had to do was sit it out and wait for the fall campaign.
David Perdue endured a hotly contested GOP primary fight and took fire from fellow Republicans who would (and did) say anything to win a berth in the inevitable runoff. He then had to take the slings and arrows from his runoff opponent during a tortuous and unprecedented eight week campaign. Slip in the occasional negative ad from the Nunn campaign and you wind up with a lot of ground to make up going into a fall campaign.
The fact, then, that these top tier races remained statistically tied during several polling periods meant, well, not very much.
In the end, Georgians looked at the facts. Georgia weathered a bad economy and began creating jobs under Gov. Deal. Under GOP leadership the state was picked time and time again as one of the best states in the nation for business and within which to do business. The ports in Savannah and Brunswick are flourishing and the state, finally tired of federal government foot dragging, started the harbor deepening project in Savannah. They re-elected Governor Deal decisively.
And Georgia voters knew that sending Harry Reid another vote in Washington was just another step in the wrong direction for the nation as well as Georgia. They decided to take a step in the right direction to end the failed economic, national security and military policies of the Obama Administration and sent David Perdue to the United States Senate as a smack down to Harry Reid and the liberal agenda.
The only “gift” in this election is to the people of the state of Georgia and the nation. And it is the refutation of a failed national agenda, a refusal to turn the clock back in Georgia, and the hope of a conservative agenda that will stop the eurosocialist agenda of the Obama administration..
Oracles and pundits are the only ones, it seems, in play. And they need to be a little more nimble and, maybe, a lot more quick.
Gary Wisenbaker, B.A., J.D. is a native of South Georgia where he practiced law in Valdosta and Savannah for 31 years. He has served as state Chairman of the Georgia Young Republicans and Chairman of the Chatham County (Savannah) Republican Party. Gary is a past GOP nominee for State Senate, past delegate to the Republican National Convention and has chaired or co-chaired numerous Republican campaigns for President, US Senate on the county and district level as well as local campaigns. Gary hosts his own blog at www.garywisenbaker.com