Well, the ongoing theme of razor thin continues to apply to the Georgia gubernatorial primary runoff between Karen Handel and Nathan Deal. Last night finished with Deal holding onto a narrow lead of fewer than 2500 votes. Handel has not conceded the race, as some absentee ballots are yet outstanding and Georgia does have a fair share of military voters. Nevertheless, claiming enough of a majority among the few thousand remaining absentee votes to win the election will be a tall order for Handel. While it is a strong enough possibility to warrant a wait and see attitude until the final numbers are in, closing a 2500 vote gap is somewhat of a long shot.
As with last week’s outcome in Michigan, should our favored candidate not find numbers on our side, the only proper move for conservatives is to rally behind Nathan Deal for Georgia governor. Although some principled conservatives are uncomfortable with the notion of falling in line behind the less desirable candidate, it is often a necessary move. While many Romney supporters have hoped, and still hope that Karen Handel will be the Republican candidate in Georgia, the fact remains that Nathan Deal will be a stronger conservative leader, and better for the state of Georgia than Roy Barnes or anybody the Democrats bring to the table. Remember, too, that with redistricting on the agenda after 2010, this is an extremely important cycle for state governments. Polling shows the potential for the statehouses to trend back toward the Republicans at a crucial time, but only if we avoid division within the party.
As for that polling, it speaks fairly well for the people of Georgia, giving the Republican candidate a narrow advantage over Roy Barnes. Rasmussen Reports polling from before the runoff showed Deal ahead of Barnes 49-43. Should Handel manage to find enough votes to claim victory in the runoff, her lead over Barnes was a bit more narrow, at 45-44. Either way it would not be surprising to see the numbers by the end of August somewhat better than these, as the divisive nature of the primary runoff is behind the voters and Republicans rally around their candidate in stronger numbers.
Republicans are almost certain to elect another Governor in South Dakota as well. In the wake of last week’s poll that showed SD At Large Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in deep trouble against Romney endorsed candidate Kristi Noem, Rasmussen has released a poll on the gubernatorial race showing how truly bad things can be for Democrats in the Mount Rushmore State. Dennis Daugaard, another beneficiary of Romney’s endorsement, has jumped out to a stunning thirty-two point lead over Democrat Scott Heidepriem. This race was never particularly close, and yet the latest poll shows Daugaard’s lead nearly doubling over the past month. If this news is bad for anybody who may have believed Heidepriem still had an outside chance, it is terrible for Herseth Sandlin. Closing her current nine point deficit will be near to impossible, with the candidate at the top of the ticket losing by such a margin. In fact, considering the fair degree of fondness South Dakota has historically shown for Democrats, such a margin should send shockwaves throughout the west.
In Michigan, where Rick Snyder took the primary victory last week, the moderate Republican now finds himself with a respectable twelve point lead in a Rasmussen poll taken the day after the primary. Whether the strong lead is due to Snyder’s recent primary victory is still in question until the numbers are backed by further polling. With the level of dissatisfaction in Michigan for current Democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm and the less than stellar numbers reflected within the poll for President Obama, a steady twelve point lead for Snyder is far from inconceivable. The poll also shows strong favorability ratings for Snyder, compared to a more evenly balanced favorable/unfavorable ratio for the Democrat Virg Bernero. RealClearPolitics and the Cook Political Report both currently see the Michigan gubernatorial race as “Leaning Republican.”
Finally, polling released today has touched on the strong campaign, backed by Mitt Romney, of Tennessee candidate Bill Haslam. Rasmussen reports takes the first post-primary look at the gubernatorial race and shows Haslam leading McWherter by a powerful 56-31 margin. Less than one week removed from the primary, this could also reflect something of a temporary post-primary bounce. Even so, it is hard to say this race will be close once the margin has settled. Factor in less recent polling by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research and by Crawford, Johnson and Northcott for WSMV-Nashville have also shown Haslam up by double digits, and it is safe to say that Republicans will be victorious in the Volunteer State come November.
As of 10:30 tonight the runoff is just that tight. Latest numbers show Deal leading by about 3,600 votes, although precincts yet to report should have favorable numbers for Handel. It has been a very interesting race so far, and no surprise that it would finish like this.
Meanwhile in Colorado, Ken Buck seems to be holding onto a 10,000 vote lead over Jane Norton. That one could be close as well.
Tomorrow will bring yet another conclusion to a hard fought primary battle, as the 2010 campaign to take back the American government continues. The runoff to determine who will face Democrat Roy Barnes in the election for governor of Georgia has been portrayed as a de facto fight among leaders of the Republican party, with Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin on the side of Karen Handel, and Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee backing her opponent, Nathan Deal. This race in Georgia is not about the high profile endorsements it has attracted. It is about the state of Georgia, which along with the rest of the country has been hit by high unemployment, slow economic growth, and the prospect of a massive federal tax hike as the Obama administration refuses to seek the extension of the Bush tax cuts.
As the state of Georgia seeks the best leadership on the Republican side to lead at the state level where the administration refuses to lead nationally, polling shows Karen Handel with the narrow advantage in her bid to follow up on her first primary victory in July. Mason Dixon Polling & Research shows Handel leading Deal with a five point advantage, 47-42. This is not a poor position for Handel, but with neither candidate holding a majority, this race can still be taken by either candidate in the final hours.
This past week Rasmussen has done some polling to determine the latest trends in the very close race for Governor. Governor Romney has endorsed Karen Handel, joining Sarah Palin, Jan Brewer, Redstate.com, among others. Her primary opponent, Nathan Deal, has Newt Gingrich in his corner – admittedly not a weak endorsement in the state of Georgia. Last Tuesday, before the first round of the primary, Handel was shown as dead even against Deal – each at 25% in the four way race according to a Rasmussen poll of 943 likely voters. Her margin of victory was quite a bit greater than that, as she took 34% of the vote in an eleven point victory over Deal. Nevertheless, the runoff depends on the direction taken by former Johnson and Oxendine supporters. The runoff will be held on August 3.
Regarding the general election, both Handel and Deal narrowly lead the Democrat Roy Barnes. Handel takes a 45-44 lead, this also according to Rasmussen. In a somewhat unsettling sign for the runoff, Deal holds a bit of a larger lead for the general election. Although, should Handel win in the runoff, her narrow lead over Barnes should hopefully increase, as currently divided Republicans unite behind the candidate.
As for Michigan, a Detroit News poll from last week shows Mike Cox neck and neck with Pete Hoekstra, at 26.4% and 25.6%, respectively. Rick Snyder takes 20.2% of the vote, while Mike Bouchard claims 11.6%. Mitt Romney, Michigan’s native son, has endorsed Hoekstra for the primary, also to be held on August 3.
The latest of Romney’s many endorsements nationwide concerns the hotly contested Georgia primary runoff, in which Governor Romney has taken a stand alongside fellow conservatives backing Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel for Governor. Karen Handel seeks to continue Sonny Perdue’s trend of conservative leadership in the Peach State, with a focus on providing a competitive atmosphere for small business in Georgia, and strengthening education through the fostering of Charter Schools. Handel is known particularly for a strong stance on illegal immigration, instituting new requirements for citizenship verification in order to vote in the state of Georgia, and the SAVE program dedicated to verifying active work visas for non-citizen seeking employment within the state.
Romney today endorsed Handel through Free & Strong America PAC, stating of her: