Kentucky hasn't elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992, and Barack Obama lost the state by 16 points in 2008 and 23 points in 2012. Georgia hasn't been quite as unfriendly to Democratic candidates in recent years. Still, no Democrat has won a Senate contest in the state since Zell Miller in 2000, and the last Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state was Bill Clinton in 1992. Obama lost Georgia by five points in 2008 and eight points in 2012.
But you knew that. What ought to worry Democrats more is the nationalization of U.S. Senate races, Abramowitz writes. He linked presidential approval rating to recent Senate results:
This trend portends problems for Democratic candidates in red states like Georgia and Kentucky. Recent polls put Obama's approval rating at 44% in Georgia and 34% in Kentucky. Moreover, in midterm elections like 2014, voters who disapprove of the president's performance tend to turn out at a higher rate than those who approve of his performance.
Michelle Nunn, now the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, turned a victory lap with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Wednesday. These paragraphs were among those filed by our AJC colleague Katie Leslie:
Reed and Deal are longtime allies, thus Carter's race puts the mayor in a tight spot. And though Reed has said he's primarily focused with his second term, having won re-election last November, some believe Reed is also eyeing a 2018 gubernatorial run.
Reed said he plans to call Carter sometime Wednesday to congratulate him on his nomination, but said "my time and energy is going to be spent on Michelle Nunn's campaign because I think she can win and it's my priority to keep a Democratic U.S. [Senate]."
Asked whether he plans to appear with Carter at future events, Reed said: "I haven't given it any thought at all. Last night, the races I cared about were Michelle Nunn's and Hank Johnson's."
It should come as no shock to anyone, but Democrats voted overwhelmingly to support four ballot questions that reinforce their policy direction. And although the questions are non-binding, they send Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter an unequivocal message of what the base wants to see.
The biggest margin of victory, at 95 percent, was for the question of whether to raise the minimum wage above $5.15 an hour. About 88 percent of Democrats want Medicaid expanded under the Affordable Care Act to provide coverage for more low-income residents.
And 85 percent of partisans supported creating a more independent ethics commission and amending the state Constitution to make education funding the first priority. The latter is Carter's top initiative.
We heard Carter's spin on the election results on Tuesday: One in four Republicans who cast a ballot spurned the incumbent governor.
Deal offered this take on the outcome: He earned about as much support as Carter and Nunn combined. Granted, there was a high-profile GOP Senate competition while Carter faced no opposition, and Nunn had three little-known rivals. But Deal's camp interpreted the low turnout as a clear lack of enthusiasm for the Democrats.
Word that the state must shell out
more than $1.1 million to Georgia's former top ethics official and her attorneys prodded Jason Carter's campaign to again call for the investigation into the governor's 2010 election machine to be reopened. From Carter's statement:
"Georgia's voters deserve to know exactly what Gov. Deal's campaign did that they worked so hard to hide from public view ... Like any Georgia citizen, I think it's unacceptable that taxpayers are on the hook to pay more than a million dollars for the improper cover-up of the investigation into Gov. Deal."
A pair of Georgia U.S. House Democrats, John Barrow and David Scott, called for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki amid the unfolding scandal about "secret wait lists" for vets to get health care services. The Hill has why this matters:
"Barrow's move is no surprise — he's the last remaining white Democrat in a Deep South congressional seat and often splits from Obama. But the angry House floor speech from Scott, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, is the first major sign that the president's party could be fracturing over his handling of the scandal."
This is not the first time Scott has called for Shinseki to resign. He agitated for Shinseki to go after a scandal at the Atlanta VA when an audit blamed four patient deaths on mismanagement.
David Perdue and Jack Kingston will have nine weeks to beat the tar out of each other on the airwaves and otherwise, but Republicans are trying to keep at least some of the negative spotlight on Democrat Michelle Nunn.
America Rising, the Washington-based Republican research Super PAC, has launched MeetMichelleNunn.com to highlight unflattering stories and the like.
We imagine this will be fixed quickly. From a piece by The Atlantic's Molly Ball on the U.S. Senate primary's top Republican vote-getter, David Perdue: "As a testament to the swiftness of his rise, Perdue does not yet have a Wikipedia page."
In today's Washington Post, Paul Kane compares Republican Bobb Barr's second place finish in the 11th Congressional District primary -- even though he still has a shot in a runoff against Barry Loudermilk -- to Democrat Marjorie Margolies' loss in a Pennsylvania Congressional race, concluding that Clinton-era nostalgia fell flat on Tuesday:
Margolies, 71, and Barr, 65, served as opposing sides of the same political coin, one with Bill Clinton's mug on it, and they banked largely on their connection to past glory being enough to vault them into office again.
Attention, Port of Savannah enthusiasts and press release writers: The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote this afternoon on the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, authorizing the deepening project to begin with state funds. President Obama is expected to quickly sign the bill once the Senate approves.