10/5 - Ballot Banking

GA-06 continues to show what a competitive race looks like

Intro

One month to go and the numbers keep showing that voters have embraced a new normal of voting during a pandemic. We are at 935% increase in ballot applications at this point this year compared to 2016. And for actual votes cast this year we are 587% higher than the 2016 level at this point in the election that year. All of that is to say voters are voting early and there is also a significant number of new voters (45,339) this year.

Lat last week it was looking like 400,000 votes may be in before early voting begins next Monday. At this point, nearly 230,000 votes already in and a daily average of nearly 40,000 last week, that number may be closer to 500,000. As a reminder, the TOTAL mail vote for 2016 was 211,742.


Congressional District Ballot Banking

10% of all absentee ballot applications going into this past weekend came from the Georgia 6th Congressional District. This points not only to this being the most competitive and only truly competitive race in Georgia on the U.S. House side of the Congressional, but also to the lingering infrastructure both parties have in the GA-06 from both the special election in 2017 and the 2018 midterm.

The rematch between Rep. Lucy McBeth (D) and former Rep. Karen Handel (R) brings together a mix of strong name ID, built in fundraising networks, but most importantly data. Both of these campaigns and thus their respective parties have been able to fine tune their voter data and, more importantly, their supporter data. The 6th District will continue to lead in absentee and early voting as both campaigns are highly focused on turning out their voters and banking those votes. 


State House

Republicans are well aware that their two decade run controlling the state house might be coming to an end. One of the signs as to how endangered the current Republican majority is comes from HD-164

The seat is held by one of longest serving legislators and the dean of the Chatham County delegation, Rep. Ron Stephens. Rep. Stephens has held his seat since taking office in 1997. Normally this senior of a legislator in the majority would be a fairly safe district and not face difficult reflection prospects, but in 2018 the warning signs started to show. In his first contested election in 6 years, Stephens saw his margin of victory shrink from 2012’s 19.2% to just 5.0%.

Now in 2020, the warning signs have reached dire proportions for his reelection chances. In the June primary, House District 164 saw 5,507 Democratic ballots pulled compared to just 4,645 Republican ballots. The troubling data for Stephens continues to show up in the current application data that shows over 38% of the applications in HD-164 coming from new voters who did not vote in the 2016 general election. This should mean that Rep. Stephens is in trouble, but his name ID and record might be enough to carry the day in November. 

If so, that may show Democrats lacking the bench depth and infrastructure to seriously challenge outside of metro Atlanta. 

But if he can’t hold on, and a 12-term legislator is suddenly flipped out of a seat by the opposing party without any major personal scandals, it may be a bellwether for longer term strength among a rising Democratic Party.


Closing

As always thanks for reading and without your feedback we just write what moves us so don’t hesitate to suggest things for us to look into and do deep dives on. Please feel free to share your thoughts and questions, by responding to this email or reaching out to Ryan directly on Twitter (@gtryan).