Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 6, 2016

Isakson: ‘Perfect Storm’ Could Flip Senate Seat #GASEN

Isakson said a "perfect storm" could put the Georgia Senate seat in play. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said the mixture of a trending-purple state and a bloody GOP primary could hinder the party’s ability next year to hold the Georgia Senate seat of his retiring colleague.

“It should be a Republican seat, but there’s a perfect storm that could happen that could make that challenging,” said Isakson when he was asked about the race Wednesday at the annual tax, budget and health care policy seminar hosted by BakerHostetler.

The seat of retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., has so far enticed three members of Congress, a wealthy businessman and a former Georgia secretary of state to vie for the GOP nomination. Meanwhile, Democrats are coalescing around Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., and head of the nonprofit Points of Light Foundation.

Earlier this month, CQ Roll Call reported that the Senate race is shaping up to host a test case for Democrats intent on one day making Georgia routinely competitive in statewide races. While Republicans remain especially skeptical that can happen as early as 2014, Georgia still presents Senate Democrats with their best opportunity to pick up a seat so far this cycle.

Isakson maintained that the seat “will probably be Republican,” but the margins of the party’s “overwhelming” victories in the past decade in legislative and congressional races have grown closer over time. He noted that “Georgia was one of the few Southern states that Romney didn’t carry by double digits.”

“So if the Republican party were to make a mistake in its nominating process, as happened in a couple of states in the last cycle,” Isakson said, “then you run the risk of the Democrats having an unchallenged quality opponent in their primary and a bloody Republican — beaten up by other Republicans as well as Harry Reid — coming into a race where they are behind in money.”

  • davidfarrar

    I agree, which is why Republican candidates for Chambliss’s senate seat must not accept outside-the-state political donations and/or endorsements during their primary, In this way, the Republican candidate that emerges for the Georgia primary will be the better candidate.

    ex animo

  • Randy111

    I’m from Georgia, conservative, and I will vote in 2014. Johnny and Saxby are hurting Republicans with their support for Amnesty for illegals, which is a longtime pet project of the Bush Family.
    I will vote in 2014–but not for any candidate backed by The Bush family,Karl Rove, or Ralph Reed. The Bush family owns the Republican Party, and until the GOP frees itself from the Bushes, Republicans do not deserve to win anything.
    Republicans in Congress can illustrate their independence right now by defeating the Obama-Bush amnesty for illegals bill–SB 744. But they won’t do it, they look to the George’s and JeeeBBB, and the “family” Prime Minister of elections–Karl Rove.

  • Randy111

    Good Idea, David Farrar. The Bush family will try to dictate the Republican Nominee for Senate in Georgia, so the incumbent Senator in 2016 will be an asset to Jeebbbb’s Presidential campaign in 2016. The Bushes don’t want a Senator who is “too conservative”. They want someone who will support Bush policies.
    The Georgia Republican establishment is pretty much in the Bush family pocket, but outside the state Bush produced contributions will still talk loud in making sure Georgia Republicans nominate a “proper”, “electable” candidate.
    The Bush family is close to Democrat Sam Nunn, and “Karl” may quietly help Sam’s daughter Michelle in the General Election if Georgia Republicans nominate someone not to JeeeBBBB’s liking. Look for where the money comes from in that race, too.

  • Chris Howell

    Like it or not, Georgia is going blue one day. Atlanta keeps on growing, and the youth are growing up. We’re just waiting for enough of you to die off. The racism, xenophobia, and homophobia need to go, and I can’t wait to be proud of my home state!

  • davidfarrar

    Thank you, Randy111.

    This is such an obviously good idea, the good people over at peach pundit have declared me: persona non grata for posting it.

    ex animo

  • davidfarrar

    So you want all your primary politicians sold off by big money to Washington D.C. special interest groups, long before you even step foot into a Georgia primary booth?

    ex animo

  • Catherine Anne Smith

    My family & I moved to Georgia in the mid-80s, my father’s home State. Lots of folks moved here from “up-North” & some of us are Progressives. Make that, most of us. We are more highly educated & a lot more accustomed to the diversity of real America. The inclusion of our sisters & brothers from south of the border doesn’t threaten us: the European-American among us are descendants of immigrants. Our emerging political power, along with that of African Americans flexing their own political muscle, & that of Latinas/Latinos, has already transformed the political landscape. If Republicans continue being rigidly anti-everything–it will not be too long before Georgia follows South Carolina (which followed Florida) into the Blue. Hate, ignorance, intolerance, bigotry, exclusivity, & xenophobia make the Party of Isakson & Chambliss very, very ugly, and soon, very, very old.

  • Chris Chambers

    Wow Catherine! You sound a lot like the hateful xenophobes you supposedly abhore! Nice work painting yourself into your own little hatefilled corner!
    Illegals are exactly that, and should not be here at all, much less getting government benefits and in state tuition and the like. If Georgia follows California’s lead Georgia will be just as bankrupt, fiscally and morally. you might note Republicans do not have issues with legal immigrants (legal immigrants have many problems with illegals also, but the liberal press doesn’t report that….it doesn’t fit their agenda of creating a “Progressive” country of the US).

  • Catherine Anne Smith

    Georgia would do well to follow some of what California has done, though I doubt we will. California is no longer bankrupt; its economy has turned around, although not without a lot of painful cuts in government services & increases in taxes. Contrary to what the zenaphobes (those who are afraid of anyone perceived as “foreign”) are saying, immigrants contribute much more to the economy than they take from it. As they tend to be much younger wage earners & fewer collect Medicare, our Medicare system is solvent because of their contributions. I am uncertain who or what the “liberal press” is, as 90% of our media is owned by 6 very conservative corporations, including Rupert Murdoch’s, whom I am sure would not appreciate being called “liberal.” The fact remains that the voting patterns as well as the changing demographics of Georgia point to an increasingly Bluer shade of Purple. Johnie Isakson recognizes that–he seems to be warning his Party of the possibility that Georgia will soon go Blue. Moderates like Jason Carter & Michelle Nunn are rising stars who show much promise, but I doubt the state will turn in 2014; it may in 2016, especially if immigration reform occurs. I doubt that the rigidity of the Republican Party will soften in time for it to adapt to these and & other changing demographics.

  • Paul Horvath

    Derrick Grayson is the choice Georgia needs. Not controlled by the old guard republicans like the Bushes/Cheney’s or Rove. A representative of the people, not someone who controls the people like our politicians do. Check out his website

  • Paul Horvath

    Check out Derrick Grayson, Republican candidate for Senator of Georgia. Here’s a short speech he gave at Fulton County as well as his campaign website. I hope hes the breathe of fresh air your looking for.

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