Predictions for Dec. 1 Special Elections
Choosing who I think will win and by how much in special elections is a bit of hubris on my part. Not only are these races lightly covered and rarely polled, but low turnout makes them the least predictable.
Mary Norwood placed first in the initial election on November 3 and polls in this race have showed it neck and neck with Kasim Reed. The race has been highly contentious, not least because of racial tension (Norwood is white and Reed is African American) instigated by many of the campaign’s supporters. There is also a bunch of back and forth on who the most liberal candidate is. Norwood has found a base of support amongst more affluent and sometimes Republican voters. However, she is in favor of gay marriage and is often cited as one of the more liberal members of the City Council. Reed is against gay marriage, yet has received endorsements from various liberal groups and Democratic politicians.
Without much more than this background to go on, I predict Kasim Reed wins the Atlanta Mayoral Election with 52% of the vote – an election he can credit to his strong connections to the establishment in Atlanta.
Warner Robins Mayor
Essentially no one is covering this race, but it piqued my interest because I knew nothing of the city, it has a strange city motto and the two candidates are named Chuck.
I believe that Chuck Shaheen will squeak out a victory over Chuck Chalk, mainly because of his more diverse ties through the community, working both in the private sector and with the local Air Force Base.
Georgia Legislative Races
It seems clear to me that two scions of Georgia politics will be elected to the Legislature to follow in their father’s footsteps. In the one race where Democrats may lose their seat, I believe that Independent Rusty Kidd will defeat Democrat Darrell Black in HD 141. In HD 129, Kip Smith should have no problem winning the runoff over Steven Earles in a battle of two Republicans. In Atlanta based districts, Donzella James will narrowly defeat Torrey Johnson despite the latter’s union support to become State Senator in SD 35 and Simone Bell will somewhat surprisingly defeat Asha Jackson in HD 58.
Tennessee State Senate 31
Despite the hard work by the Democratic party to pick up this seat, I predict that Republicans will keep this seat when Brian Kelsey defeats Adrienne Pakis-Gillon in a close race. Tennessee is not friendly territory for Democrats – even though it is always difficult to judge the performance of Southern Democrats, which tend to do better than national candidates. This race will be close, but comfortable for Kelsey.
Virginia State Senate 37 – Republican “Firehouse” Primary
Because of the strange method of picking a nominee, I have to choose Marianne Horinko to prevail simply because of her name recognition. Frankly, this will be completely about small pockets of fervent supporters and it could go any which way, but that is my hunch.