RATINGS CHANGE: Cook Political Report Moves Georgia Senate Special Election Toward Democrats

January 31, 2020

As the GOP continues to descend into “an all-out Republican feud” as part of their expensive and bitter intraparty battle, Cook Political Report increases Democrats’ odds of taking the seat

ATLANTA — Today, after a bruising week for the Georgia GOP as they entered into a “bitter Republican-on-Republican fight,” the Cook Political Report responded by moving the contest closer toward Democrats.

“Political mega-donor” and temporary senator Kelly Loeffler and ultraconservative Congressman Doug Collins are preparing to enter a brutal multimillion-dollar battle as the state GOP continues to fracture, causing “a Republican Party rift that is poised to put Georgia in play for Democrats.” After Republicans already admitted that this “intraparty battle” could cause them to lose this seat, Cook’s newest ratings change is the latest evidence that the GOP’s upcoming “brawl” will be devastating for their candidates ahead of November.

“Republicans’ nightmare scenario continues to get worse, and this ratings change shows that the GOP is headed for a bitter and expensive fight at a time when they can least afford it,” said Alex Floyd, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Georgia. “While Kelly Loeffler and Doug Collins ramp up their multimillion-dollar slugfest and ignore independent voters to chase after a narrow right-wing base, Georgia Democrats are ready to fight for Georgians and their priorities.”

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Cook Political Report: Georgia Senate Special Election Moves From Likely to Lean Republican

  • There was no political honeymoon for newly-appointed Georgia GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler this week as she gained both a serious Republican and Democratic challenger.
  • Collins’s entrance this week upset national Republicans enough they freely admitted it would endanger their hold on the seat.
  • An expensive and brutal primary that now will span nine months is exactly what national Republicans wanted to avoid.
  • The consequence of [Loeffler] having to shore up her right flank so much with stalwart support of Trump could further alienate those same suburban women Loeffler’s appointment was supposed to be attractive to — especially in the growing Atlanta suburbs, where Trump significantly underperformed Romney.
  • Loeffler’s main weakness is that people in the state don’t know her, especially Republican voters.
  • She doesn’t fully come across as natural or at ease in her ads yet.
  • As it’s been proven time and time again, no one can predict what Trump will do.
  • Many Republicans in Georgia fully believe Collins wouldn’t be undertaking this challenge if it wasn’t with a tacit blessing from Trump and his closest allies.
  • An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll, conducted Jan. 6-15 by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs shows a majority of all voters haven’t formed an opinion yet on either Republican.
  • But this could come down to D.C. Republicans versus Georgia Republicans.
  • Several Georgia GOP sources underscored that Collins is well-liked among state lawmakers, having served in the legislature for six years.
  • And many noted that Loeffler has yet to do the type of outreach to state and local party officials she’ll need to do to curry favor.
  • All these dynamics — long and protracted attacks between Collins and Loeffler and the entrance of Warnock — make it clear that this race is moving up the list of GOP headaches and Democratic opportunities, giving them yet another seat in their path to a majority.

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