Posted: 9:00 am Saturday, June 7th, 2014

How to tell if Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter have a chance 

By Jim Galloway

A steady stream of early voters is seen at the Dekalb Voter Registrations and Elections offices on Memorial Drive in Decatur shortly before Election Day in 2012. For Democrats, replicating the enthusiasm in 2014 is a challenge. Kent Johnson, kdjohnson@ajc.com

A steady stream of early voters is seen at the Dekalb Voter Registrations and Elections offices on Memorial Drive in Decatur shortly before Election Day in 2012. For Democrats, replicating the enthusiasm in 2014 is a challenge. Kent Johnson, kdjohnson@ajc.com

In Georgia politics, the only real question hanging between now and November, like an excruciatingly slow curveball, is this: Do Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter have a chance of leading Democrats out of their 12-year drought?

A numerical answer to this question exists. Or at least, it will. But you won’t find it in any poll. We will let the new Dad explain himself further below, but Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed would simply point you to this figure: 5,048,825.

There were that many registered voters eligible to vote in last month’s primary. The extent to which that number grows between now and the first week of October will largely tell us whether a Democratic revival is real – or if Nunn and Carter are just making down-payments on the future.

“At the end of the day, no matter what the polls say, the election is going to be determined by the registration effort in the state of Georgia,” Reed said Thursday.

The mayor wasn’t speaking out of school. Last weekend, Carter took his campaign for governor to Savannah to meet with local Democrats. The gathering took a strategic turn. Carter and his staff were apparently unaware that Marcus Howard, a reporter for the Savannah Morning News, didn’t mind working Saturdays.

“Barack Obama got 1.7 million votes in Georgia (in 2010). I need 1.3 [million], probably, in order to win,” said Carter, explaining that the votes will have to come not just from Democrats, but independents and disillusioned Republicans.

“It’s going to be a big-tent vision, and so we’re going to be speaking a lot of persuasion language,” he said.

But to boost the Democratic base, Carter said he – and his Senate counterpart, Michelle Nunn – would be employing high-tech voter registration and turnout methods developed during the two Obama campaigns for the White House.

Karl Douglass, political director for the Carter campaign, spoke of a ”super data-base manager” hired by the gubernatorial campaign, and of fieldwork that could begin late this month.

The 2010 race for governor was a low-point for Democrats in Georgia. Former Gov. Roy Barnes, seeking a comeback, finished with 1.1 million votes – more than 250,000 behind the victor, Republican Nathan Deal.

”We’ve got to get voter turnout higher than it was last mid-term, but we think we can get it higher, naturally,” Douglas said. “The question is whether we can get it high enough. We’re going to engineer that in a lot of ways.”

“We believe there are upwards of 600,000 unregistered Democratic voters available in this state. We only need 200,000 of them to win,” the Carter political director said.

But to bring 200,000 new voters to the polls, you might have to register as many as 500,000. A very high bar, in a contest that won’t feature Obama or any other African-American at the top of the ticket.

The largest voter registration effort, headquartered on the first floor of the midtown Atlanta building that also houses Michelle Nunn’s Senate campaign, will be jointly bankrolled by the two statewide campaigns and national Democratic sources.

But there are others, including one sponsored by state House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, through a non-profit corporation that has registered 20,000 new voters since March.

“We have a demographic shift that Democrats, Republicans and independents acknowledge,” Abrams said. “In the last decade, Georgia has had an in-migration of 1.1 million, and about 81 percent of those are people of color.” Those people are her focus – a demographic that speaks for itself.

Abrams noted that last year, Governor Deal warned members of his party that the GOP had no choice but to expand its base, pointing out that 56 percent of current public school students are nonwhite.

Because her effort is non-partisan, Abrams is only involved in voter registration, not turnout. Which brings us back to Mayor Reed of Atlanta.

The registration and turnout tactic developed by Obama, which Nunn and Carter now intend to duplicate, the mayor said, amounts to a major cultural shift for Democrats in Georgia.

Past statewide Democratic campaigns have followed a familiar pattern – outreaches to conservative and rural Georgia, followed by later, even last-minute appeals to a black Democratic base.

“Many of our Democratic friends confuse voter registration and turnout with ‘walking around’ money – which is an outmoded practice,” Reed said.

The Obama model might be called “constant contact.” After they’re registered, voters are tethered to the campaign via constant messaging, usually through social media, until they’ve cast a ballot.

It requires a candidate to speak to all of his or her supporters at once, rather than in phases. Which can be expensive.

It also means the competitiveness of the Nunn and Carter campaigns will also depend on how much money they devote to the effort, the mayor said — $3 million would equate to a “serious” effort.

“You have to fund it like it’s as important as the television campaign,” he said.

If it works, the tactic is likely to wreak havoc on polling through November – given that the object is to change assumptions about who turns out in Georgia elections. It happened in 2012, in states like Ohio and Virginia.

“That’s why Karl Rove was stuttering on election night,” Reed said.

256 comments
Infraredguy
Infraredguy

A lot of pressure in being put on Michelle Nunn to admit she is a Democrat and that she knows something other than what her Grandmother told her. As for. Jason Carter, he is good at singing that old Democrat spiritual "Happy Days Are Here Again " but as far as anything of substance, he will need his handlers to come up with the promises since he's just a empty suit

notagain
notagain

A decade to clean up his mess.You mean like cleaning up after Baby Bush?

Deedrick
Deedrick

honested -


doesn't take much to impress you...........................

TDMan
TDMan

Their real and steadfast plan to win is the US Postal Service slogan ....Vote Early....Vote Often

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

I am not sure Georgians are able to move past the 'team' concept learned in grammar school sports, particularly Republicans.  These ingrained stereotypes and repetitive clichés appear hard to educate past, but, in many ways, the opportunity is now here.  Nunn and Carter clearly represent intelligence, the importance of family, appreciation of education for all, moderation in financial matters, and a desire for peace and prosperity.  The red-faced hatred, name-calling, financial corruption, and gun waving of the right wing are very likely to push many Republicans toward a more sane and mature alternative.  

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

The DNC must tether and maintain constant contact with their "voters" in order to win elections?


Why not just issue them a collar and leash?


schnirt

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

All we need. More looser librals givn R cupntry a way 2 mexians and loosers.

HANK55
HANK55

AND KAMCHAK, YOU ARE A LIBERAL THAT HAS HIS NOSE SO FAR UP OBAMA'S REAR YOU CAN TELL US WHAT HE HAD FOR BREAKFAST. AND THAT MEANS YOU HAVE PROBABLY NEVER READ A BOOK OR WATCHED ANYTHING EXCEPT CNN. WHY DON'T YOU LEARN A FEW THINGS BEFORE YOU GO RUNNING OFF ON A SUBJECT YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT.

HANK55
HANK55

ACTUALLY OBAMA'S ADOPTIVE NAME IS SOETORO. HE USED THAT NAME WHEN HE ATTENDED SCHOOL IN INDONESIA. HIS MOTHER RE-APPLIED FOR HIS US CITIZENSHIP USING HIS BIRTH NAME OF OBAMA. EVERYONE CALLED HIM BY A NICKNAME, BARRY. AT THAT TIME, ALL IT TOOK FOR HIM TO BE A US CITIZEN WAS A MOTHER OR FATHER RESIDING IN HAWAII. HE DIDN'T HAVE TO PHYSICALLY BE IN THAT STATE.

davesbrain
davesbrain

Sounds like a lot of code words for multiple voters, dead voters, illegal immigrant voters, general fraud that is the mother's milk of democrat electoral victories in most of the corrupt northeast and midwest urban centers, and now attempted to be brought here.  Unlike the northwest and midwest urban centers, I would hope that Georgia would want nothing of what nunn and carter, cardboard cutouts behind which are the likes of pelosi, reid and zero, would somehow feign to offer us.

HANK55
HANK55

IF THE DEMOCRATS KEEP THE SENATE I WILL BE SURPRISED. AND THERE IS NO WAY THE GRANDSON OF THE NEXT TO THE WORST PRESIDENT IS GOING TO BE GOVERNOR. OH, BY THE WAY, PRESIDENT BARRY OBAMA IS THE WORST PRESIDENT IN US HISTORY. IT'S GOING TO TAKE A DECADE TO CLEAN UP HIS MESS. HE SHOULD BE TRIED FOR TREASON OVER THE PRISONER EXCHANGE AND SENT BACK TO KENYA TO LIVE WITH THE REST OF HIS FAMILY.

Bayonet
Bayonet

Don't worry...even if it takes publishing outright lies about the Republican candidates, the AJC is pledged to do all it can to help Carter and Nunn get elected.  After all, the new definition of "objective" means deeply Left wing and unafraid to distort. 

Bronte
Bronte

kingston and deal will win easily----ga voters don't want a couple of liberals handing out taxpayer millions like candy to freeloaders---take it to the bank!

Chuck_UGA
Chuck_UGA

What this article and other reporting fails to acknowledge is how many voter registrations include non-citizens, a tactic also employed in Florida and Nevada. I have a question for Stacey Abrams and others: since when did it become legal to register people to vote who have not even gained citizenship? Oh, I guess if you can obtain any kind of Georgia Driver's License, you become eligible to vote. Works in Las Vegas, Miami-Fort Lauderdale and other places...may as well make it work here. If you breathe air, you can vote in Georgia.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@FIGMO2 

Why not just issue them a collar and leash?

Or a 10 point purity pledge?

Schnortle-doodle-doo

honested
honested

@td1234 

Why would anyone with a brain waste time looking at 'townhall' in the first place?

Kamchak
Kamchak

@HANK55 

YOU ARE A LIBERAL... 

YEP.

 ...THAT HAS HIS NOSE SO FAR UP OBAMA'S REAR YOU CAN TELL US WHAT HE HAD FOR BREAKFAST.

NOPE. I'VE NEVER CAST A VOTE FOR HIM IN EITHER OF HIS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS. OBAMA IS TOO FAR RIGHT FOR MY PREFERENCE.

AND THAT MEANS YOU HAVE PROBABLY NEVER READ A BOOK OR WATCHED ANYTHING EXCEPT CNN.

CNN? CNN HEADLINE NEWS, MAYBE -- WHEN ROBIN MEADE IS ON, OTHERWISE THEY'RE KINDA SILLY -- LIKE YOU.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@davesbrain 

... general fraud that is the mother's milk of democrat electoral victories...

Got proof?

MilesRich
MilesRich

@HANK55 You are very good at repeating talking points that are only believed by people with no intelligence.  Your posts about Obama remind of reading what German school children said about Jews during the Third Reich.  Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, and that makes him a natural born US citizen, just like I am.  His mother was born in Wichita, KS. and never lived outside of the US before his birth.  If you want to talk about a Presidential Candidate with an American Mother, and a foreign father, who was not born in the United States, let's talk about Ted Cruz.  Whether trading the five Taliban for one American serviceman who left his unit without permission, and did not return, which may make him a deserter, was a good idea, reasonable people can differ on that.one.  On whether Obama has the Constitutional Power to make the deal, that there is no question about. Read Article Two of the US Constitution.  I am sure you are familiar with the second clause of the 2nd Amendment but there is more to the US Constitution.  I feel sorry for you.  Very sorry.  It is also a shame you are ot smart enough to realize the state of the country on January 20, 2009, and the state of the country today.  If you think things are worse, you are blind.

GwinnettDad
GwinnettDad

@Bayonet Of course.  Republicans employed at the AJC?  The "complete" advertisement of the AJC is absurd.   The AJC desperately wants Democrats, is run by Democrats, employs Democrats, and is highly intolerant of any dissent.  No one if more intolerant today than the type of liberals that the AJC employs.  What a said excuse for a news source.

td1234
td1234

@BusinessMan You can ignore scam, He has been on these blogs for years and has never added anything relevant to a discussion.  

Charles50
Charles50

@BoomTown You mean not handing it out to EVERYONE.  They have a few select people they will gladly give it to.  The problem with a lot of Repubs is they want to talk about Jesus, they just don't want to live like he did.  

Vanbren5
Vanbren5

@BoomTown You're obviously not speaking for myself and most of my neighbors and the growing Non-white voters in Atlanta and the densely populated suburbs.Even if we don't win in 2014, its only a matter of time. Your days are numbered. You're old and you're going to die soon, but your grandchildren and your neighbors children and grandchildren will be Democrats. You brought this upon yourself.

Chuck_UGA
Chuck_UGA

Perdue, not Kingston, will win.

honested
honested

@BoomTown 

You make a prediction and follow it with an opinion statement that is not in any way connected to the positions of any of the candidates.

Just what did you mean?

RenateRichardson
RenateRichardson

@Chuck_UGA I am from Europe with permanent resident alien status and I am not allowed to vote.  I voted for the time before last election for the Mayor and my vote was taken off.  So no, you cannot vote if you are not a citizen.

Muddyman
Muddyman

@Chuck_UGA .Breathing air is not a requirement for voting, as a Democrat in Georgia.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Chuck_UGA 

...since when did it become legal to register people to vote who have not even gained citizenship?

You have evidence that non citizens are registered to vote, yes?

The-Centrist
The-Centrist

Nonsense of course.

Georgia voter registration requires either a Georgia drivers license - which can only be obtained by citizens or legal immigrants - as well as evidence of residence and citizenship.

NWGAL
NWGAL

Sometimes it is better not to feed the trolls, Kamchak. Yelling in all caps seems so fourth grade, doesn't it?

honested
honested

@GwinnettDad @Bayonet 

So do you prefer the cheerleading nonsense from the likes of 'peach pundit'?

What is 'intolerant' about telling the truth?

Vanbren5
Vanbren5

@GwinnettDad @Bayonet Even if that were true. It would seem likely that republicans aren't capable of working in journalism or maybe they 're afraid of objective journalism- being more compfortable having Fox News spoon feed their opinions to them with vile and hatred. Either way, republicans days are numbered.  Deal himself says Georgia public schools are 57% non-white. Considering how republicans have conducted themselves regarding non-white voters, why would they vote for them?


NWGAL
NWGAL

Nunn is a liberal?. In any nonSouthern state, she would have to run as a Republican. Folks down here really need to travel more.

MilesRich
MilesRich

@RenateRichardson @Chuck_UGA It is a crime for you to even attempt to vote. And here I agree with Chuck.  What do you mean, you vote was taken off?  Why would you even go to a polling place?

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Muddyman 

Breathing air is not a requirement for voting...

Got proof?

Chuck_UGA
Chuck_UGA

You bet, and you will too very soon.

SeenItBefore
SeenItBefore

Yeah, and you used to be able to get them at your local Kroger store or on the mobile DMV bus.  Then the Republicans took over and shutdown all the convenient DMV places in order to make it hard as possible for real working poeple to get to the DMV.  No, not everyone has a car or can take the day off to get a license or ID card.  If Republicans were true believers in democracy, they would want everyone eligible to be able to vote easily.

td1234
td1234

@NWGAL Only in New England and on the west coast where most of the socialist live. 

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Chuck_UGA 

You bet, and you will too very soon.

(shrug)

Then provide it.

You can either back up what comes out of that pie-hole of yours, or you can't.

It's not complicated.

Yankee23
Yankee23

@SeenItBefore So how do they cash a check?  How do they buy alcohol? How do they buy a car?  How do you even rent a place to live?  On and on, few things do not require some form of identification  It is funny how people can take off a few hours or a day to do something they want to do but can't be expected to take the time for id or something necessary.  This argument is gone. If you had DMV places every few miles, you would be complaining on having to pay for them.

td1234
td1234

@SeenItBefore Why did you not register when you either got a picture id or a DL? 


You have to have one do even buy beer so for a person not to get an ID means the person is being lazy. 

td1234
td1234

@Kamchak .... that you are nothing more than a blowhard. 


True dat. 


Just speaking the truth

honested
honested

@td1234 @NWGAL 

Only in New England and on the West Coast (where most of the Country's population lives),

Just what did you mean?

Charles50
Charles50

@td1234 @Kamchak He's a blowhard, but yet you no Mr. ALL CAPS have produced any proof.


The real fraud is probably done through the Reps favorite vehicle, absentee voting.  

Kamchak
Kamchak

Got proof or are your just blowing out of your piehole?

(sigh)

Proof of what, sport?

td1234
td1234

@Kamchak Proof that you are more than a pie-hole blower. 


sport.