Ossoff, Warnock start Georgia runoffs behind the eight ball

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Ossoff, Warnock start Georgia runoffs behind the eight ball

Joe Biden says he wants to revise the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Step one: have the nation masked. Just right? Not if a bloc of GOP governors opposes the idea.

Both parties are mobilizing for a two-month sprint that will focus the entire political world on Georgia and cost easily more than $ 100 million. But the odds against Democrats are good: the drainage system itself is a relic of the Jim Crow era, when the white majority wanted to prevent candidates with a large number of votes from winning.

Ossoff, Warnock and their allies are aware of their party’s history of losses. They believe they can oppose this by overorganizing Republicans and reminding their constituents that they have the chance to deliver a Democratic Senate.

“This is a very different state of affairs from 2008,” Warnock said during a press conference last week.

“The problem does not affect voters as much as it does those trying to discourage and demoralize certain sections of our electorate.” he added.

Democrats have identified thousands of potential new voters to register, and tens of thousands of volunteers are already mobilizing voters who showed up on election day to re-register.

“There’s a tremendous surge of dynamism and excitement, a sense of animation here,” Ossoff said in an interview last week as he walked in outside the local civic center in the dark after a massive drive-in rally, the third of eight events Columbus stand held across the state last week to revive voters who are still excited about Biden’s victory.

“It’s going to be about who works harder, who inspires more people to come back, who does the voter registration work, and who has the energy,” Ossoff said.

During his first week of events, the speakers introducing Ossoff came up against one topic over and over again: Biden’s victory proved that Georgia can turn blue after three decades of defeat, but it will take serious work to make it a success in January. Daniel Blackman, who is in a runoff for the public service officer, told the hundreds gathered in a parking lot in Columbus just across Alabama’s Chattahoochee River that the work “can’t stop, it can’t slow down “and there would be time to sleep on January 6th.

Tonza Thomas, the first vice chairman of the Muscogee County Democrats, said after the event repeated Biden’s success, money needed to be poured into communities and groups already familiar with the choice of state.

“It’s just a repetition of what we just did,” she said. “If we want it bad enough, we’ll come out and do it.”

Volunteers for Ossoff’s campaign have made more than 220,000 calls in the days since the runoff was declared, and 21,500 volunteers have signed up for shifts. In Warnock’s campaign, 10,000 people have volunteered since the day after the election, doubling their volunteer database.

Democrats say you focus on registering voters and getting them to vote early or absent. Nse Ufot, head of the New Georgia Project, a group focused on voter registration, told POLITICO earlier this month that more than 100,000 potential voters have been identified to register before the December 7th runoff. Ossoff estimates that more than 20,000 potential new voters were admitted after November 3.

They rely on a group of groups like The New Georgia Project and Fair Fight that were formed through 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to help on the ground, along with the State Democratic Party and Senatorial Democratic Campaign Committee, which have announced a multi-million dollar field program focused on electoral mobilization.

Abrams has raised at least $ 9.8 million in a fund split between Fair Fight and the Ossoff and Warnock campaigns.

The organizers down to the local level are preparing for the sprint. James Williams, President of the Atlanta-North Georgia Labor Council, attended Warnock’s first press conference on the runoff was held in the parking lot of an IBEW headquarters in Atlanta last week. Williams told POLITICO his organization would hit the ground on Monday with literature, phone calls and text messages, sending out mailers and registering union members.

“We’re basically going to pull everything we can out of the woodworks,” Williams said. He and others highlighted the early and absentee vote that Democrats took heavily this month and that will be even more important in the runoff elections that take place immediately after the New Year holidays. Abrams tweeted on Sunday that 600,000 Georgians had already requested postal votes.

“You could sit there at the Christmas table and fill out your ballot and get it ready,” Williams said.

Republicans also mobilize on the ground. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has a dozen employees across the state participating in the campaigns and is planning a field program with 21 regional directors and 1,000 nationwide field workers. They have already raised more than $ 32 million through the committee, the two campaigns, and a joint fundraising committee, mostly through digital fundraising.

Other GOP groups are in the process: The Club for Growth announced a $ 10 million investment in the two races and worked with a handful of Republican senators and other conservative organizations. The Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity, who ran digital advertising and door knocking campaigns for Republican senators this cycle, already have dozens of local employees in Georgia.

“What we have to do now is not to convince people,” said Perdue at the event with Loeffler. “What we have to do is get the vote.”

But Democrats are equally optimistic that voters are out there for another victory – despite recent history being against them. The 2008 outflow was an example of the worst-case voter turnout scenario for the party. But in 2018, Democrats Lindy Miller and John Carts, the previous Congressman, the Public Service Commissioner and Agriculture Commissioner lost outflows by a larger margin than in the previous month’s general election. Those Runoff elections came after Abrams lost the governor’s race and with no high-profile democratic or national implications driving voters.

Miller credited the long-term organization in the state with capping the waste in their race, which had a much higher than expected turnout. and you expects even more voters this time. She said the key now, along with the flood of money flowing into the state, is to make sure they can scale their operations in proportion to national attention.

“This is a very high level of sophisticated activism that we see now that people are ready and willing and want to get out there,” Miller said. “This is the tip of the iceberg and a signal as to why we should be so optimistic.”

Republicans admit they are in a fight. But the combination of their success in previous runoff elections, their November 3rd performance despite Trump’s defeat, and the threat of complete democratic control over Washington are all reasons they expect their voters to be there in January.

“With outflows, it’s all about voter turnout. In most cases, it’s not about changing people’s minds, ”said Scott Johnson, a member of the State Board of Education and former Cobb County’s GOP chairman. He spoke to POLITICO in the county parking lot GOP headquarters after Loeffler’s kick-off event with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), At which more than 100 supporters came to the offices.

“We’re going to work hard. We’ll find out,” added Johnson. “I don’t think the other side won’t work hard for a minute and it will turn out too. Because they will. Because there is a lot at stake here. “

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