All In: Democrats Gearing Up to Spend Big Money in Georgia Runoff

Posted: Apr 20, 2017 10:20 AM
All In: Democrats Gearing Up to Spend Big Money in Georgia Runoff

After Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff failed to lock down a majority in Tuesday night's special election, I ran across a data point on Twitter about the dollars spent in the race so far. As we've noted previously, Ossoff doesn't live in the district, and an estimated 95 percent of his donations came from out-of-state liberals. He blanketed the airwaves with ads, hoping to ride a dominant financial advantage and heavy Democratic intensity to an upset win. He fell short, slightly over-performing Hillary Clinton's showing, but not by a large enough margin to pull off an outright triumph. Anyway, here is the stat on campaign outlays:

In response, I snarked that the Party Of Money In Politics had once again tried to buy an election. This hit a nerve with lefties, who angrily objected to my framing -- which was partially trolling, but partially true. Democrats routinely out-raise and out-spend Republicans in national elections, with Hillary Clinton lapping Donald Trump in the money game on her way to a shocking loss. Barack Obama swamped both of his general election opponents, abandoned his alleged principles on public financing of elections, embraced Super PACs after slamming them as threats to democracy, and allowed his coordinating group to literally sell access to the White House. And on top of the official Democratic Party spending, their allied groups have also pumped billions into the electoral process, especially labor unions. It's really not a stretch to call the Democratic Party the Big Money party these days, especially because they posture and pose so ostentatiously to create the opposite impression. Appropriately enough, Democrats are preparing to make heavy investments in GA-06 ahead of the June runoff:

In other words, they're putting their money where their mouths are. Conventional wisdom holds that Republican Karen Handel will have an easier time in a two-person race (the district was consistently easily carried by Tom Price, and Mitt Romney cruised there in 2012), but the GOP shouldn't take anything for granted. Their 0-for-6 post-Trump record on flipping seats is a legitimate data point that may concern Democrats, but Republicans can't avert their eyes from these numbers either:

Enthusiasm gaps are a real political phenomenon.  The prevailing winds are blowing leftward.  But at some point, Democrats need to parlay their base's energy into actual electoral results, which has thus far proven elusive:

For all the anger, energy, and money swirling at the grass-roots level, Democrats didn’t manage to pick off the first two Republican-held congressional seats they contended for in the Trump era, and the prospects aren’t markedly better in the next few House races coming up: the Montana race at the end of May, and the South Carolina contest on June 20. Their best shot at knocking Donald Trump down a peg appears to be Ossoff’s runoff against Republican Karen Handel, also scheduled for June 20. But the Democrat will be an underdog in that contest, when there won’t be a crowded field of Republicans to splinter the vote.

The South Carolina race looks pretty safe for Republicans, but Montana's vacancy could furnish Democrats with an opportunity to pick off a seat. It's a statewide contest, and Democrats currently hold the governorship and a US Senate seat (though his radical filibuster of a pro-Second Amendment Supreme Court nominee may create headaches for Jon Tester). Then again, Montana Democrats have nominated a far-left folk musician, so we'll see how that goes for them. And the May outcome in Big Sky country could end up having an impact the following month back in Georgia:

I'll leave you with a Hollywood celebrity who tweeted that she wanted to "puke" when Ossoff didn't win on Tuesday vowing to take her fight to Montana next, prompting a biting clapback from a senior Paul Ryan aide: