The growing rift in the Republican party, prompted by the implosion of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in the past six days, has prompted Democrat Hillary Clinton to broaden her map of possible paths to the White House to include more states – including Georgia. From a laed article in The New York Times:
Mrs. Clinton’s campaign has concluded that at least two traditionally Republican states, Georgia and Arizona, are realistic targets for her campaign to win over. And Republican polling has found that Mr. Trump is at dire risk of losing Georgia, according to people briefed on the polls, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Mrs. Clinton now holds such a strong upper hand that Priorities USA, a “super PAC” backing her campaign, may direct some of its war chest into Senate races, two people said, and may begin broadcasting ads for those contests as soon as next week. Congressional Democrats also hope to persuade Mrs. Clinton to continue pouring money and campaign resources into states like Virginia and Colorado, where they believe her victory is assured, in order to lift other Democratic candidates.
But it’s not just Arizona and Georgia. From the Deseret News in Utah:
Republican Donald Trump appears to have, in his earlier words, “a tremendous problem in Utah” as a new poll shows him slipping into a dead heat with Democrat Hillary Clinton since crude comments he made about women surfaced last weekend.
And along with the billionaire businessman’s sudden fall, independent candidate and BYU graduate Evan McMullin surged into a statistical tie with the two major party presidential nominees, according to survey conducted Monday and Tuesday by Salt Lake City-based Y2 Analytics.
We’ve talked to poll-savvy Republicans in Georgia who agree that turmoil over the “Access Hollywood” video, which features Trump describing his sexual aggression toward women, has once again made Georgia a potential target as a Democratic pick-up — something that hasn’t happened since Bill Clinton won the state in 1992.
In terms of real impact, however, the potential entry of Priorities USA into the Johnny Isakson-Jim Barksdale-Allen Buckley race for the U.S. Senate could matter more than the prospect of 16 lost electoral college votes.
Think of it this way: In 1992, Bill Clinton beat incumbent George H.W. Bush in Georgia, 43.47 percent to 42.88 percent. Independent Ross Perot won 13.34 percent of all ballots cast here.
If that same percentage replays in 2016, and if he wants to win outright on Nov. 8, Isakson would have to outpace his own party’s presidential nominee by 7 points – a tough hurdle in any climate.
Finishing under 50 percent would throw the contest into a nine-week runoff that would finish in January. But if you’re Isakson, a second campaign wouldn’t just be an inconvenience.
Assuming a Trump loss, the runoff could be happening amid a national Republican Party meltdown over who to blame for the debacle – depriving Isakson of much-needed attention, support and resources.
Our AJC colleague James Salzer has word on a related topic:
While the Trump-Clinton presidential race heated up this summer, the two major state political parties raked in about $1.3 million over the last three months, with much of the big money for Republicans coming from GOP groups and Democrats scoring big with key out-of-state donors.
When he was in office, former state Sen. Eric Johnson of Savannah was a favorite of conservative Christians. But it turns out he believes in karma, too:
To explain: Volvo threw over Georgia as a site for an auto plant in 2015. Johnson, while out of electoral politics, is a member of the state Board of Economic Development.
The Augusta Chronicle reports that a Richmond County school board member wants high schoolers in uniform – athletes, cheerleaders, band members, mascots – to be punished if they fail to stand for the playing of the national anthem:
Frank Dolan made the recommendation during Tuesday’s monthly committee meeting. He stated his opinion as the Richmond County Board of Education’s finance committee was approving $28,975 for 70 new band uniforms for Cross Creek High School.
“If members of the band are wearing uniforms we provide, they need to stand during the national anthem,” Dolan said. “If they don’t, I’m making a motion that they be suspended from the team.”
Elsewhere, our friend Todd Rehm posits on GeorgiaPundit.com that the above paragraphs are likely to inspire a bill or two when the Legislature convenes in January.
Settlement talks appear to be crumbling between Georgia and Florida, raising the prospect of an Oct. 31 “water wars” trial between the two states, according to The Gainesville Times:
“It currently appears unlikely that the parties will be able to amicably resolve this decadeslong dispute prior to the commencement of trial,” Florida states in a Friday court filing with the U.S. Supreme Court.
…The lack of progress is “despite the efforts of a highly skilled mediator, numerous mediation discussions, and considerable time and effort invested in the mediation process throughout this year,” Florida states.
Georgia says in a Friday brief that Florida indicated “at the last minute” it wouldn’t show for a Sept. 21 session with the mediator.