Well, that’s probably not what Jim Barksdale wanted to hear. Longtime Democratic Rep. David Scott says he’ll back Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson in Georgia’s U.S. Senate race over the political newcomer his own party has put up for the seat.
Doug Richards over at WXIA broke the news this afternoon:
“I’ve always voted for Johnny Isakson. He’s my friend. He’s my partner,” Scott said. “And I always look out for my partners.”
The seven-term congressman now becomes the first high-profile elected Democrat to publicly cross over and back Isakson, who’s running for a third term this fall.
Scott and Isakson go back decades. They were in the same freshman class in the Georgia legislature back in 1974. Isakson at the time was one of only a few Republicans in elected office during an era in which Democrats dominated the state’s political scene. The two also served together in the U.S. House for two years before Isakson was sworn into the Senate in 2005.
Here’s more from Scott via WXIA:
“Johnny Isakson’s not just anybody. He’s done stuff. He’s worked stuff,” Scott said. “Judge him by the work.”
Scott says he’s not going to campaign for Isakson. But even in an unpredictable election year, Scott thinks the US Senate election will be predictable. “I certainly feel like Johnny Isakson pretty much should win that race,” Scott said.
Scott is unopposed this November. He’s one of the last remaining moderate Democrats in Congress known as Blue Dogs. He’s more hawkish than many of his Democratic colleagues and frequently crosses the aisle on national security issues.
Isakson also has a reputation of being able to work with Democrats on issues such as veterans and international affairs. Perhaps that’s what prompted former Gov. Roy Barnes to utter the following statement last year (a comment that might have caused some Democratic heartburn as the party tried to recruit an Isakson challenger): “Even Democrats like me like Isakson. If all Republicans were like Johnny, I would be a Republican.”
A Survey USA-WXIA poll of 570 likely voters that was released earlier this week estimated that 5 percent of Democratic voters would back Isakson if the election were held that day, while 8 percent of voters who identified as Republicans would back Barksdale. The poll had Isakson 9 percentage points ahead of Barksdale overall, with Libertarian Allen Buckley scooping up 5 percent of the vote and 8 percent of likely voters still undecided.
We’ll have our own poll of Georgia voters coming out tomorrow, by the way.