As we’ve said before, Donald Trump and Johnny Isakson have very different goals on Nov. 8.
To win Georgia and its 16 electoral votes, Trump doesn’t need to clear the 50 percent mark. The GOP presidential candidate simply needs to get more votes than Democrat Hillary Clinton and Libertarian Gary Johnson.
Isakson, on the other hand, is locked in a three-way contest with Democrat Jim Barksdale and Libertarian Allen Buckley. The Republican incumbent would very much like to avoid a runoff in his U.S. Senate re-election bid — which would extend for another nine weeks, all the way to Jan. 10, 2017. To escape that, Isakson needs to pierce the 50 percent mark.
Which means he needs Georgia votes that Trump can’t or won’t pursue. In particular, Democratic women – or those who lean in that direction.
Below is the first Isakson ad of the general election, a 60-second testimonial from Lois Puzey, the mother of a Peace Corps worker from Cumming, Ga., who was murdered in the French-speaking African nation of Benin. There’s a 30-second version as well:
A quick transcript:
Lois Puzey: “Kate was the sunshine of our life. She was just a beautiful spirit. She taught English in the northern part of Benin. My husband always worried about her there.
“There was this one teacher who was actually abusing the girls. He actually raped a young girl. Kate reported him. He lost his job. A few days later, Kate was found murdered in her house, and our lives were shattered.
“It is hard to for me, every single day, to live without my daughter Kate. Johnny Isakson read about it in the newspaper, and felt so much sorrow for us. He said if there’s anything I can do, just please call me.
“So much was done to honor her, and a lot of that is due to Johnny Isakson. He keeps a picture of her on his desk. Johnny Isakson helped us get justice for our daughter in Benin. He also was able to help get a law passed that better protects Peace Corps volunteers.”
All of which was prelude to this line:
Lois Puzey: “I’m a lifelong Democrat. I’m so grateful that he was my senator.”
Heath Garrett, a consultant to the Isakson campaign, told my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin that both the 30-second and 60-second versions of the TV spot will air statewide, but he was vague about how much cash would be behind the push. “It will be enough to make sure it is seen by voters,” Garrett said.
The relationship between Isakson and the Puzey family is a real one, and well documented – by me among others. The AJC article cited in the TV spot can be found here.