Stuart James I have worked many Democratic campaigns and rain is the enemy.
Ossoff Should Have Won By A Nose-What Happened?
Ossoff led in the polls, narrowly and consistently. What happened?
Ossoff raised more money overall and raised more in the State of Georgia than Handel. What happened?
Ossoff had a well organized campaign. What happened?
Ossoff won the early vote. What happened?
So what happened? Was it the democratic message, a surge of support for Trump or something else?
Before we go on, I need to say there are a lot of factors to consider. However, I think these are the important points to remember about the Ossoff Handel race.
First, the Republican base was more motivated and ultimately out voted the Democratic base. Moreover, Ossoff did not pull enough swing voters over to his “side.” Then there is the rain…
In this District Handel should have easily walked away with a significant victory. She did not. However, what she did do was get her base to the polls. Then there was the rain.
Democrats did not get out their base…and there may be a reason for that failure. Could it be rain?
If you have worked in a democratic campaign, whether local or for congress there is one thing you worry about on Election Day…rain.
Democrats do not vote in the rain. Republicans do. Therefore, rain dampened the turnout. I have worked many Democratic campaigns and I know that Democrats are fair weather voters, especially black democrats (and I do not mean to sound racist but my black democratic friends will confirm this point)
Then there is the energy level among the Republican base. Unlike the Democratic base, they vote in the rain. Wet weather does not dampen their spirits. Even the Guardian talks about the rain.
Sporadic downpours and flash flood warnings helped to put a damper on Democratic turnout in base precincts and on the hopes of progressives to thwart Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Combined with an energized Republican base that kept Ossoff from accumulating a significant lead among early voters, it doomed the hopes of the anti-Trump activists who made the first time Democratic candidate a minor political celebrity. The Guardian
Therefore, the circumstances gave the win to Handel, a candidate who beat a crowded field in her primary but who had difficulty winning in what is a strong republican district. Handel’s victory is narrow and says a lot about the dynamics involved with the voting in this district.
No Democrat should have come this close in this District, and that is one lesson. Does this mean a change in voting dynamic in the district or an undercurrent of dissatisfaction? Maybe both, but only time will tell.
Or was it the rain…if the sun was shining, the weather good?
It is also important to remember things outside of the rain-Congressional Districts are as different as people…what happens in one will not happen in another. Congressional Districts are carefully drawn to preserve the status quo of the party holding the seat.
So, in this Republican district Handel’s narrow win is actually an embarrassment. If it had not rained maybe she would be in the political graveyard, but we will never know.
Democrats should learn from this race. With the right candidate, a solid message, proper funding, and a well organized campaign GOP districts can be competitive. However competitive they can be, Democrats need to understand that the Democratic base remains less motivated than the Republican base…particularly when it rains.