“Georgia Is a State to Watch”: GOP’s Wreck of a Week Puts Georgia More “In Play” Than Ever

May 15, 2020

A week full of scandals, poor polling, and ratings changes shows that Georgia Republicans are in “dangerous territory” ahead of 2020

ATLANTA — Georgia Republicans suffered through another damaging week after days filled with breaking scandal developments and new ratings changes showing that both of Georgia’s Senate races are among those “most likely to flip” in 2020.

Both Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler have had to contend with the fall-out after the FBI served a warrant to Senator Richard Burr and seized his cellphone over his coronavirus stock trades. Loeffler still won’t answer whether federal authorities asked for the documents she recently turned over to them nor whether she’s had contact with the FBI to begin with. Perdue, meanwhile, did not answer “whether he or his representatives had been contacted by investigators” after his own coronavirus stock trading.

In addition to their ongoing scandals, Georgia’s Republican senators also had to face disastrous GOP internal polling this week showing that, to quote Perdue, “the state of Georgia is in play” — a view backed up by both the National Journal and the Cook Political Report. Each noted that Georgia is “becoming a battleground” and “a state to watch” in 2020 while upgrading Democrats’ chances.

With poor polling numbers and new scandal developments continuing to pour in, it’s quickly becoming clear that weeks of “uncomfortable questions” and subsequent “unflattering headlines” have Georgia Republicans “feeling the heat” as the state looks more competitive than ever.

Read the latest coverage from the GOP’s wreck of a week:

Cook Political Report: Georgia Senate’s Perdue Moves to Lean Republican

  • There is increasing evidence, including a GOP survey out this week from a respected pollster, that shows growing trouble for Perdue as well — a byproduct of the Peach State becoming more competitive in the presidential race. Georgia is a state to watch at nearly every level in 2020.
  • The changing political landscape of Georgia is a reality Perdue himself has been vocal about. “Here’s the reality: The state of Georgia is in play,” Perdue told a “Women for Trump” event late last month, according to audio obtained by CNN. “The Democrats have made it that way.”
  • Kemp has gotten pushback and low ratings for his handling of the crisis in the state, and all that is not helping Republicans either. And even some of Loeffler’s stock issues could trickle down to hurt Perdue, whose own stock trades have come under scrutiny.
  • We are moving this contest from Likely to Lean Republican, meaning both of the Peach State’s Senate seats are very much in play this year.

National Journal: Hotline’s Senate Power Rankings

  • Since January, Republican Senate candidates have been dealt a rough hand.
  • In Georgia, two internal GOP polls show competitive Senate and presidential races on the horizon.
  • Though [Loeffler] has virtually unlimited resources and the backing of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Senate Leadership Fund, frequent attacks from Collins and unflattering headlines put her in dangerous territory.
  • Don’t sleep on the other Senate race in the Peach State. Perdue is feeling the heat as well, considering two internal polls from Georgia Republicans showed Democrat Jon Ossoff within striking distance of the first-term senator.
  • Perdue is very much aware he’s in for a competitive race: In a closed-door meeting, Perdue told supporters the seat is “in play.”

AJC: Loeffler supplies documents to DOJ, SEC, Ethics regarding stock sales 

  • Georgia U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler has supplied records about stock trading on her behalf to the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee, her office announced.
  • The statement did not say whether Loeffler had volunteered the information or been asked to provide it by federal investigators, who have looked into transactions made by at least two other senators.
  • A spokeswoman for Loeffler told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier Thursday that the senator has not been served any search warrants. Loeffler’s team did not say whether she, her husband or their representatives had been questioned by investigators or served with any subpoenas.
  • Georgia’s other U.S. senator, David Perdue, has faced a lesser degree of scrutiny about his stock transactions. He did not respond to the AJC’s questions about whether he or his representatives had been contacted by investigators.

AJC: A new internal GOP poll suggests tight prez, Senate races in Georgia

  • An internal poll conducted by a group backing Gov. Brian Kemp showed a deadlocked presidential race in Georgia and tight contests for both U.S. Senate seats, underscoring the challenges Republicans face keeping the state in the GOP column.
  • The poll pegged Joe Biden at 47% of support and President Donald Trump with 46%, within the margin of error of 4 percentage points.
  • U.S. Sen. David Perdue led Democratic frontrunner Jon Ossoff by a 43-41 margin, also within the margin of error, in his re-election bid.
  • And the pollster pronounced the November special election for appointed Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s seat “wide open.”

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