While Georgia Governor Brian Kemp was widely favored to win renomination in Georgia’s GOP primary, few could have predicted the result that happened last night. Kemp recorded a decisive 51-point landslide, easily dispatching former Senator David Perdue and outperforming every public poll in the race. In light of these primary results, we have a ratings shift to make in the Peach State.
It’s hard to put into scale just how big of a landslide Kemp secured. In only one county – Chattahoochee – was Kemp held to a margin of victory within 10%, and in only three more was he held below 20%. In comparison, 58 counties saw a Kemp margin of victory above 50%, and the brunt of the state’s most populous counties like DeKalb (66.7%), Cobb (64.6%), Fulton (64.1%), and Gwinnett (59.8%) saw margins closer to or above 60%.
Perdue pulled abysmal margins in the Atlanta and Athens metro areas, but did perform relatively well in a few regions – specifically around the Columbus metro and in the far northern counties. However, his margins in southern Georgia were somewhat stymied by Kandiss Taylor, a minor candidate running an extremely far-right campaign. She secured only 3.4% statewide but ran above 10% in eight counties, even outperforming Perdue in Appling County. Kemp only won less than 50% of the vote in a single county – Brantley, where Perdue pulled 31% and Taylor pulled 19%.
On the Democratic side, Stacey Abrams was nominated without opposition. While Abrams was a surprisingly strong candidate in 2018 and has retained a strong national profile in the Democratic Party, much of the energy that surrounded her in 2018 appears to have evaporated. A series of high-profile gaffes – including being photographed maskless in a room full of masked schoolchildren and declaring Georgia the “worst state to live in” – have overshadowed her campaign so far, and Abrams is in many ways still dealing with the aftermath of a 2018 election she has repeatedly denied the legitimacy of.
Due to the relative uncertainly on the Republican side, we had held off on shifting Georgia out of the Tossup column. However, with Kemp’s resounding victory we feel comfortable moving the state to Leans Republican. On top of the highly favorable national environment for Republicans, Kemp has led Abrams in every public poll taken in the race so far. Currently, his lead is 5.2% in the RealClearPolitics average – not a landslide by any means, but a decent and consistent lead – and the two most recent polls taken in April gave Kemp margins of 5% and 7%.
We’re not ruling out Democratic chances in Georgia by any means. The long-term trajectory for Georgia Democrats is excellent, as we’ve written about in the past. However, we feel that all indications show that Kemp is the clear favorite in the race so far. We are keeping the Senate race – now confirmed to be between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker – as a Tossup for now, as all indications show a much more competitive race.