When the Democrats won both of Georgia’s Senate seats in 2021 runoff elections, it was considered a massive upset. Combined with the fact that President Joe Biden narrowly carried the red state in the 2020 presidential election, these victories were seen as a signal that the left had been gaining ground in a typically conservative-leaning part of the country. However, current polling suggests these wins might be short-lived and that the Democrats have more work to do if they truly wish to flip the Peach State.
Former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) became a superstar on the left after her failed attempt to become governor in 2018. Even though current governor Brian Kemp (R) defeated her, she remained a powerful force in the Democratic Party. Indeed, she has received much of the credit for her party’s wins in Georgia in 2021. Through aggressive voter registration efforts and motivating minority Americans to show up at the polls, Abrams and her allies managed to pull off the unthinkable.
Now, Abrams is taking another shot at the governor’s mansion, but recent polling shows this attempt could go about as well as her last try. The results of the latest survey by The Hill/Emerson College shows the Democrat trailing both of her potential Republican opponents. Kemp leads Abrams by a 51 percent to 44 percent margin while former Sen. David Perdue (R), arguably Kemp’s most prominent primary challenger, leads her by a 49 percent to 44 percent margin.
But this is not the only bad news for Democrats in Georgia.
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), who won his Senate seat in 2021, is trailing likely Republican challenger and former football star Herschel Walker in the polls. Walker enjoys the support of 49 percent of voters while 45 percent back Warnock, according to TheHill/Emerson.
Walker is currently leading the pack among GOP contenders for Warnock’s seat and has received endorsements from former President Donald Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and others. Despite attempts to bring up his past issues with domestic abuse and mental illness, he remains the frontrunner and will likely become the nominee.
If the polling is to be believed, what does it say about the Democrats’ victories in 2020 and 2021? Republicans who lost to Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff (D) may well have been the victims of prevailing attitudes about the 2020 election. There remained a belief, promoted by Trump and many on the right, that the 2020 presidential election was not on the up and up. This idea that the proverbial fix was in and that their votes would not count may well have depressed Republican voter turnout, allowing Ossoff and Warnock to eke out narrow victories.
However, the issues surrounding the 2020 election are not at play in 2022. Conservative voters are not likely to stay home this time around, especially after seeing what it cost the GOP in 2020. Moreover, Georgia’s voters have seen how the Democrats have mismanaged their time in office, failing to enact meaningful legislation that addresses problems everyday folks are facing. Indeed, only 41 percent of voters approve of President Biden’s performance while 54 percent disapprove, according to the latest Real Clear Politics average.
If Walker manages to defeat Warnock and a Republican is elected governor, it would represent a quick reversal of the gains Democrats have made in Georgia. It would demonstrate that it remains a red state despite the best efforts of Stacey Abrams and her cohorts. However, the fact that these upsets occurred in the first place is still cause for concern among Republicans, and this time around, you can be certain they will take nothing for granted.
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