Kasim Reed: Georgia needs 'professional organizations' to be competitive, not the New Georgia Project

Today’s front page/premium edition bears the news that Georgia is on the Hillary Clinton campaign’s radar:

Clinton’s advisers won’t talk publicly about anything beyond the Democratic primary. But they are telling local politicos that Georgia is a “Tier Two” state. As in, it’s not a swing state, but it could be.

That’s a steep climb in a state that saw Democratic hopes rise on the backs of a legacy ticket for governor and U.S. Senate in 2014, only to see neither Jason Carter nor Michelle Nunn surpass 45.2 percent. Democrats, however, see new opportunity in big presidential-year turnout as the state’s demographics slowly shift their way.

Georgia has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since another Clinton won the state in 1992. For 2016, Georgia Democrats are eagerly hoping for — though not expecting — serious money and manpower.

Left on the cutting room floor was part of a discussion with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed dealing with how to find and turn out those new voters. He did not think the New Georgia Project — last year’s multimillion dollar effort led by House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams that took some pre- and post-election heat — will make the state competitive on its own.

Said Reed:

“I don’t believe nor did I believe that the New Georgia Project is the model. I think that you have professional organizations that are experts at building the voter database in states, and I think that they should be a part of the overall political campaign.

“I think that the appropriate model was developed by President Obama for states like North Carolina and Virginia and Indiana during the 2008 cycle. I think that to compare the New Georgia Project to a presidential campaign misses the mark. I don’t think that’s a reasonable comparison for operations.”

We also heard from former Mayor Shirley Franklin, who threw an elbow at Reed, via email:

“I have no idea how any of the announced presidential candidates will fare in Georgia. The leading elected Democrats in the state are the ones best positioned to give predictions.  Hopefully, unlike some prior elections the elected officials from the House, Senate and local positions like Mayor of Atlanta, will be unified and will focus their efforts like a laser  to give Party’s nominee early, unwavering, enthusiastic support.  If that is the case, Hillary Clinton would have a fighting chance to win Georgia.”

(Note: this item originally appeared as part of the Morning Jolt.)

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