Tag Archives: Sen. Kelly Loeffler

Georgia: A Deeper Dive

By Jim Ellis

Georgia Senator-elect Jon Ossoff (D) at left, and Senator-elect Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) – winners of Tuesday’s 2021 runoff in the Peach State.

Jan. 7, 2021 — With original vote totals being finalized for the Georgia runoffs we see Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) defeating appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) by 73,404 votes (50.8 percent) while Jon Ossoff (D) unseated Sen. David Perdue (R) with a margin of 35,615 tallies (50.4 percent).

Looking at the individual county returns along with adhering to the premise that despite what was a record overall runoff turnout (89.7 percent of the general election participation factor), the Democrats obviously did a better job of getting their voters to return for the secondary election than Republicans.

The result was surprising to us in that we predicted a close Republican victory in both contests. We were correct in forecasting that one party would win both seats, and a closer look at the county data indicates that the voters, as well as the contenders themselves running as teams, perceived the two individual runoffs as a candidate slate.

In our final analysis, missing the actual result can largely be attributed to a mistake in interpreting the early voting data.

The Target Smart statistical organization was reporting the early vote numbers and, throughout the pre-election vote-casting period, it was apparent that two points were running in the Democrats’ favor and three for the Republicans. It was clear at the end that the black turnout ran three points higher when compared to the regular election early voting numbers. Second, Democrats had closed the early voting partisan participation percentage gap by a net five percentage points.

These factors were countered in that the Republicans led in overall early voting and the numbers of those 50 years old and over were also up substantially over their regular 2020 election rate. Additionally, the categorization of over 211,000 unaffiliated voters being among the early voters was looked at as largely benefiting the GOP when remembering that 115,039 individuals had voted for the Libertarian candidate in the regular Perdue-Ossoff campaign, thus forcing the runoff. Since they are primarily right-of-center voters, it was presumed that they would break toward Perdue and Loeffler in the secondary elections.

This analysis proved incorrect. We can now see that the increased black participation rate and the significant closing of the overall early voting gap between Republicans and Democrats were clearly the more important clues as the precursor to the final runoff vote totals rather than the 50-plus increased turnout, overall rate, and perceived unaffiliated leaning.

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The Democrats Take Georgia

By Jim Ellis

Documentary filmmaker Jon Ossoff (D), left, is poised to defeat incumbent Sen. David Perdue (R) in the Georgia runoff elections. Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) is projected as winner over appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R).

Jan. 6, 2021 — In a rather surprising finish, it appears the Democrats will win both of yesterday’s Georgia runoff races and clinch a 50-50 majority in the US Senate (with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote).

Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) has been projected a 50.6 percent winner over appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) to claim the special election, while documentary filmmaker Jon Ossoff (D) is poised to defeat incumbent Sen. David Perdue (R).

The races are extremely close, as correctly predicted in polling. Rev. Warnock’s margin is currently 53,430 votes from a current turnout of 4,401,162 votes with a projected 98 percent of the vote reporting. The Ossoff spread is even closer. He leads Sen. Perdue by 16,370 votes of 4,401,064 cast ballots, a margin of 50.2 – 49.8 percent. The latter race has not been declared, but it is clear, when looking at where the outstanding ballots remain, that Ossoff will increase his percentage.

The runoff campaigns, made necessary under Georgia election law that requires majority support to win office, came down to a turnout battle within the evenly split state. Democrats did just slightly better than Republicans in getting their votes to the polls, and that made the final difference.

It is likely that the African American vote that appears key. In the early voting trends, black voter participation comprised an estimated 32.6 percent of the voting populace in the runoffs versus 29.8 percent in the regular election. Clearly, this increase was enough to change the outcome of both campaigns. In the regular election, Sen. Perdue missed winning outright by just one-quarter of a percentage point, and the entire Republican special election field outpolled the entire Democratic candidate group by just over 47,000 votes.

We clearly have a record voter turnout for this Georgia runoff election. In the past, these types of contests have produced drop-off rates of approximately one-third of the number of people who voted in the regular election. In this 2020 runoff, understanding that the numbers will increase by approximately 90,000 more votes when all ballots are processed and counted, the turnout will likely reach in the neighborhood of 90 percent of the total number of people who voted on Nov. 3.

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Georgia Runoffs Underway Today

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 5, 2021 — At long last, the 2020 US Senate election cycle will end today, and the determination of which party will hold the chamber’s majority for the next two years will likely become known late tonight.

To recap, Sen. David Perdue (R) and documentary filmmaker Jon Ossoff (D) battle for the in-cycle seat with the winner being awarded a six-year term. The special election winner, the race between appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) and Rev. Raphael Warnock (D), will serve the final two years of the term that resigned Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) won back in 2016. The seat will be in-cycle for the full six-year term in 2022.

The 2020 regular election outcome, current polling, and the early/mail voting count all suggest very close results to unfold this evening.

To re-cap:

2020 Regular Election Tallies – Nov 3, 2020

Seat A
Sen. David Perdue (R) 2,462,617 49.73%
Jon Ossoff (D) 2,374,519 47.95%
Shane Hazel (Lib) 115,039 2.32%
Total Cast 4,952,175
Seat B
Raphael Warnock (D) 1,617,035 32.90%
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) 1,273,214 25.91%
18 Others (D/R/I) 2,024,112 41.19%
Total Votes
Total R Vote 2,426,120 49.37%
Total D Vote 2,377,712 48.38%
Total I Vote 110,529 2.25%
Total Cast 4,914,361

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Georgia Senate Races Unfold

(Sen. David Perdue Ad)

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 9, 2020 — We are over halfway into the Georgia US Senate runoff campaigns that will decide the national legislative body’s majority and it is clear that political prime time will determine the winners. Election Day is now less than a month away and the start of early voting begins next Monday, Dec. 14.

Setting the political table, the Republicans have a slight advantage coming from both Nov. 3 elections. GOP Sen. David Perdue (see ad above) placed ahead of Democrat Jon Ossoff (see ad below) by 88,098 votes but came up a quarter of a percentage point shy of obtaining the majority support necessary to win. In the 20-candidate field for the special election, when adding all of the Republican candidates and comparing that tabulation to the Democratic aggregate, we see the GOP holding a 47,808 vote edge.

(Jon Ossoff Ad)

The combined Georgia Senate runoff elections are sure to set a spending record once the campaigns end on January 5th. Already, according to the AdImpact marketing organization, as the Daily Kos Election site and Bloomberg Government reports, over $300 million has been spent since the beginning of these runoff campaigns.

(Raphael Warnock Ad)

A total of $170 million has been expended in the special election campaign, for example. Between the two candidates, Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock (see ad above) has outspent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler (see ad below), $60 million to $45 million, but outside groups supporting the appointed incumbent have more than made up the difference, outlaying $53 million as compared to $13 million from left-of-center organizations.

(Sen. Kelly Loeffler Ad)

Democrats have run approximately 42,000 commercials as compared to the Republicans’ 33,500 during the runoff period even though the latter party and its allies have spent more. Because the right-of-center organizations have dominated the non-candidate spending, and the cost to run such ads is greater than for an individual candidate’s committee, the monetary imbalance is thus explained.

Polling predictably shows a close race with virtually every study finding all four contenders within the polling margin of error, as a listing of the latest post-November 3rd election surveys reveal:

Senate – A

Trafalgar Group (Dec. 1-3; 1,083 likely voters)

• Jon Ossoff (D) 48%
• Sen. David Perdue (R) 47%

Survey USA (Nov. 27-30; 583 likely voters)

• Jon Ossoff (D) 50%
• Sen. David Perdue (R) 48%

RMG Research (Nov. 19-24; 1,377 likely voters)

• Jon Ossoff (D) 48%
• Sen. David Perdue (R) 47%

Insider Advantage (Nov. 16; 800 likely voters)

• Jon Ossoff (D) 49%
• Sen. David Perdue (R) 49%

Remington Research Group (Nov. 8-9; 1,450 likely voters)

• Sen. David Perdue (R) 50%
• Jon Ossoff (D) 46%

Senate – B – Special Election

Trafalgar Group (Dec. 1-3; 1,083 likely voters)

• Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) 50%
• Raphael Warnock (D) 45%

Survey USA (Nov. 27-30; 583 likely voters)

• Raphael Warnock (D) 52%
• Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) 45%

RMG Research (Nov. 19-24; 1,377 likely voters)

• Raphael Warnock (D) 48%
• Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) 46%

Insider Advantage (Nov. 16; 800 likely voters)

• Raphael Warnock (D) 49%
• Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) 48%

V-Creek/AMG (Nov. 10; 300 likely voters)

• Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) 50%
• Raphael Warnock (D) 46%

Remington Research Group (Nov. 8-9; 1,450 likely voters)

• Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) 49%
• Raphael Warnock (D) 48%

The campaign messages are also well defined. Sen. Perdue continues to emphasize the national negative themes that appeared to work well for the GOP in the down ballot races: socialism, defunding the police, packing the US Supreme Court, raising taxes, and illegal immigrant voting.

Ossoff has been concentrating his ad messages on COVID and what he claims are Perdue and President Trump’s failures in handling the issue. His latest ad linked below features film of former President Barack Obama at a rally for the Democratic candidate, along with Ossoff’s wife, Dr. Alisha Kramer, who is a physician.

Turning to the special election, the Loeffler and Warnock campaigns have been trading attacks, counterattacks, and defensive messages.

Rev. Warnock hits Sen. Loeffler on her controversial stock transactions, while she responds with an aggressive hit about him being an extremist who calls the police “thugs” and once invited Fidel Castro to speak at a church where Rev. Warnock was an assistant pastor. Warnock responds with the linked ad that shows him walking his dog and disposes of the animal’s excrement in a reference to characterizing the Loeffler attacks.

In the end, the races will come down to which side can better deliver its base votes to the polls. Turnout will be robust but certainly well under the 4.952 million people who originally voted in the Perdue-Ossoff campaign, the larger turnout figure from the two Senate contests.

At this point, the races’ conclusion is uncertain, but Republicans should still have at least a slight advantage heading into early voting period and the election itself. Such a premise is based upon past voting history even in this politically changing state, and the original vote margins recorded on Nov. 3.

Attack of the Attack Ads

(Sen. Perdue Ad)

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 17, 2020 — All four Georgia Senate runoff candidates are already hitting the airwaves with new messages that telegraph just where they want their campaigns to head in the final weeks of 2020 political overtime.

As you know, Sen. David Perdue (R) faces Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff for the in-cycle six-year term, and appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) opposes Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) in the special election to fill the final two years of resigned Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R) final term. Loeffler was appointed when Isakson left office at the end of 2019 for health reasons. Both contests will be decided on Jan. 5.

The outcome will decide the Senate majority. If the Democrats sweep the two races, they will become the majority party because the new vice president, Kamala Harris, will break the 50-50 tie. If Republicans just win one of the two, they will maintain their current majority status, albeit smaller, at 51-49. Winning the pair means the GOP will have only lost a net of one seat in the 2020 election cycle as their majority would register 52-48.

Sen. Perdue set the tone of his runoff effort with a new ad (top) that highlights Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) saying, “when we (meaning the Democrats) take Georgia, we will change America.” The Perdue ad defines “the Schumer-Pelosi-Ossoff” change as “defund[ing] the police, voting rights for illegal immigrants, and making Washington, DC the 51st state.” The message then quotes Ossoff as saying, “change is coming to America.” The ad closes with the narrator saying, “believe them. Vote Perdue to stop them.”

(Jon Ossoff Ad)

Ossoff responds with an ad (above) solely devoted to COVID-19. The media consultants found virtually identical COVID related statements from President Trump and Sen. Perdue, and then runs their audio consecutively in an attempt to tie the two together. The ad closes with the narrator saying that “David Perdue ignored the medical experts, downplayed the crisis, and left us unprepared.”

The special election is taking a much different tone. Challenger Raphael Warnock, the Baptist minister who pastors the church over which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his father once presided, Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta, re-visits Sen. Loeffler’s controversial COVID related stock transactions and creates an ad around this subject (below).

(Raphael Warnock Ad)

The script says Sen. Loeffler, “after receiving confidential briefings on Coronavirus immediately starts dumping stocks …making sale after sale and getting rid of $3.1 million before the market crashed.” The tagline ends with the narrator saying, “Kelly is for Kelly. Warnock is for us.”

The ad, of course, makes no mention of Sen. Loeffler’s transactions being investigated and cleared by the Securities and Exchange Commission, but it is more than probable that we will be hearing that part of the story in future Loeffler campaign communications.

Sen. Loeffler launched a hard-hitting new attack centered around her theme, “saving the Senate is about saving America.” The ad attacks Rev. Warnock for “calling police thugs and gangsters, host[ing] a rally for Communist dictator Fidel Castro, and prais[ing] Marxism in speeches and writings.” (below)

(Sen. Loeffler Ad)

With the campaign battle lines being drawn early in this two-month runoff campaign, we can expect this type of hard-hitting rhetoric to continue all the way to the Jan. 5 election as both sides attempt to motivate their base voters to return for the runoff.

The last time we saw a US Senate runoff in Georgia – Georgia and Maine are the only two states that require general election winners receive majority support – occurred in 2008 when Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) was forced into a secondary vote. The circumstances were similar. Sen. Chambliss placed first in the general election but, like Sen. Perdue, finished just a few thousand votes under the 50 percent threshold (49.8 percent). This forced Chambliss and his opponent, Democrat Jim Martin who received 46.8 percent, into a Dec. 2 runoff election of that year.

Sen. Chambliss prevailed in the runoff with 57.4 percent of the vote. In that year, 3.752 million people voted in the general election with 2.138 million returned for the runoff election for a drop-off rate of 43 percent. In 2020, a total of 4,945,702 individuals cast a vote in the Perdue-Ossoff Senate race, while the figure was approximately 37,000 people lower for the special election, 4,907,872. While a drop-off from the 2020 general election is expected, political intensity suggests it will likely not be as high as we saw in the 2008 US Senate runoff campaign.