Lucy McBath entered Congress after winning a tight race in 2018 over then-U.S. Rep. Karen Handel.
Only 1.02 percentage points separated McBath and Handel in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, a matter of 3,264 votes.
Conventional thinking would say McBath, a Democrat from Marietta, is in for another tight contest, possibly a rematch with Handel.
But what does the big money say? There may be safer bets.
America First Policies, a political action committee that supports Republican President Donald Trump, has announced a $1 million campaign — using television and Facebook ads, plus text messages — to pressure 28 “swing legislators on an impeachment vote.” A majority of the money will go toward the Facebook ads and text messages to spur voters to call their representatives in Congress, including McBath.
But TV will be the most high-profile part of the effort, and when it comes to McBath, America First is saying maybe later.
It’s aiming its TV ads at three other Democratic lawmakers, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, now serving his fourth term in the U.S. House; U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer of Iowa, who first won election in 2018; and U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, a former CIA spy and another first-term member of Congress.
That’s not to say McBath hasn’t faced pressure on impeachment. Trump supporters have demonstrated outside her Sandy Springs office. Others have gathered there to stage counterdemonstrations.
America First’s decision, however, may be less a comment on McBath than it is on the 6th District. Despite its longtime ties to the GOP, having been represented in Congress by the trio of Newt Gingrich, Johnny Isakson and Tom Price, the 6th is looking less and less Republican.
Age and level of education are now among the most significant factors in determining U.S. elections, and in the 6th District, they trend well for Democrats. The district is younger and better-educated than Cartwright’s, Finkenauer’s and Spanberger’s districts.
The youngest of the three targeted districts is Finkenauer’s Iowa 1st, where 26.4% of the population is over age 54. In the 6th District, 25.5% of the population falls in that category.
The real difference is education.
The best-educated of the targeted districts is Spanberger’s Virginia 7th, where 40.5% of its residents age 24 and over hold at least a bachelor’s degree.
That’s no contest for the 6th District, which has the sixth-highest level of education in the country, with 63.5% of its residents age 24 and over possessing a bachelor’s degree or better.
That’s something for the smart money to consider.
Cancel with care: This past week’s Democratic presidential debate in Westerville, Ohio, brought attention to that state’s canceling of voter registrations, a topic familiar to many Georgia election officials.
Court rulings in Ohio have been cited in Georgia cases because both states take a “use it or lose it” approach in removing “inactive” voters from voting lists. Georgia removed more than 1.4 million voter registrations from 2010 to 2018, while Republican Brian Kemp, in his role as secretary of state, was Georgia’s top elections official. It became an issue last year when Kemp ran successfully for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams.
Proponents say the cancellations are necessary to remove voters who have died or moved. Critics say the policy is overly broad, affecting voters who often don’t know about their unregistered status until Election Day.
The New York Times looked at how officials in Ohio addressed the critics’ objections.
“This year,” the Times wrote, “a group of elected officials in the state, mostly all moderate Republicans, tried to answer the concerns with an experiment of their own: Rather than purge the voter rolls behind closed doors as had been done in the past, the government released the full list of those to be removed this summer, and gave the list to advocacy groups. The groups said they found the list was riddled with errors.
“The result: Around 40,000 people, nearly one in five names on the list, shouldn’t have been on it, the state determined. And it only found out before anyone was actually turned away at a polling place largely because of volunteer sleuthing.”
Under House Bill 316, the same legislation that authorized the purchase of new voting machines for the state, voter registrations cannot be canceled for inactivity for eight or nine years, two years longer than under the previous state law. Also, voters must be mailed a notification between 30 and 60 days before their registrations are canceled.
A victory for Hice: When the U.S. House voted this past week to curtail the federal benefits provided to former U.S. president, it marked a win for U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Monroe.
Hice sponsored the measure, which would limit the former presidents’ future pensions, the annuities provided to surviving spouses, and their annual allowances.
“In recent years, former presidents have had no shortage of lucrative opportunities upon leaving office,” Hice said when he introduced the bill earlier this year. “Despite this, taxpayers are still footing the bill for the official expenditures of former commanders in chief.”
The bill was a bipartisan effort, and its co-sponsor was U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland.
Hice had tangled in the past with Cummings, who led investigations into Trump’s activities as chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate, where companion legislation was proposed by U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.
Trump gets Abrams wrong: Trump once wrote in a tweet that Abrams “will have a terrific political future!”
But, based on what he says about her on the campaign stump, he doesn’t seem to know her too well.
Abrams came up repeatedly during a recent Trump event in Louisiana. The president referred several times to last year’s campaign for governor between her and Kemp. He got a lot wrong.
Here are a few of the biggest errors:
- Trump said that while Abrams had “every star” Democrat rally to her side, “all Brian Kemp had was Donald Trump.” Maybe it’s a matter of what Trump considers to be a “star,” but several big-name Republicans came to Georgia to back Kemp. That included Trump’s own vice president, Mike Pence.
- The president also said he attracted “55,000 people at that rally” for Kemp at an airport outside of Macon the Sunday before the election. Kemp’s campaign disagreed. It put the attendance closer to 10,000 people.
- Finally, he said Kemp won the race by 2.5 percentage points. His math was a little off. Kemp won by less than 1.5 percentage points in Georgia’s closest race for governor in decades.
Iowa bound: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is racking up those frequent-flier miles.
She has already traveled to South Carolina and Texas to support former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. This weekend’s itinerary features a trip to Iowa — with stops in Ames, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and West Des Moines.
Bottoms was among the first officials in Georgia to pick a side in the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, and she continues to play the most prominent role of anybody from the Peach State in boosting a 2020 White House hopeful.
Youth movement: The Rev. James “Major” Woodall, the pastor at Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Marietta, is taking the reins of the Georgia NAACP. Woodall is a native of Bulloch County, where he was an NAACP official. At age 25, the graduate from the Morehouse School of Religion is the youngest person ever elected to head the state NAACP.
Candidates, endorsements, etc.:
— Civil rights activist Joe Beasley has endorsed Teresa Tomlinson’s U.S. Senate campaign. Tomlinson, a former mayor of Columbus, is one of four Democrats competing to run against Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue. The others are Sarah Riggs Amico, who ran last year as the party’s candidate for lieutenant governor; Jon Ossoff, who is best known for running a close second in the 6th Congressional District’s special election in 2017; and Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry.
— Amico landed a couple of union endorsements this past week: one from a local chapter of the International Union of Bricklayers, the other from Allied Craftworkers.
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