One of the biggest complaints about Republicans in Georgia over the past few years has been that the GOP doesn’t have a good ground game. The party is working hard to turn it around in the run-up to the midterms.
“The Republican National Committee’s partnership with the Georgia GOP and county parties is touting major strides in its ground game,” writes Emma Hurt at Axios. “By the November 2018 election, the group had just barely hit 1 million door knocks. This year, the partnership known as ‘Georgia Victory’ hit that milestone in mid-July.”
The GOP’s 2022 efforts include major outreach to black, Asian, and Latino voters all over the state. The Republican National Committee has 75 dedicated field staff and is increasing its presence in Georgia. Additionally, Gov. Brian Kemp’s campaign has raised its ground game, while former senator Kelly Loeffler’s Greater Georgia organization is pitching in.
“Jason Shepherd, former chair of the Cobb County GOP and former candidate for Georgia Republican Party chair, told Axios the RNC’s involvement reflects the state’s new purple status,” writes Hurt. “‘The state party needs the help,’ he said, adding it became a ‘victim of its own success’ and ‘got lazy’ once it gained control of the legislature and governor’s office two decades ago.”
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr knocked on the one-millionth door (I don’t know how they keep up with that sort of thing), and he said that “There’s been a change in the intensity and the investment in the ground game that is absolutely appropriate and necessary.”
All of this comes as polling continues to favor Kemp in the gubernatorial race. The Cook Political Report has shifted the Kemp contest with Stacey Abrams from “toss-up” to “leans Republican.”
“A bipartisan survey for the AARP conducted July 5-11 by the GOP firm Fabrizio, Lee & Associates (which was Trump’s 2020 pollster) and Democratic firm Impact Research (which polled for Biden) showed Kemp leading Abrams by 7 points, 52 percent to 45 percent,” writes Jessica Taylor at the Cook Political Report.
The RealClearPolitics average for the governor’s race has Kemp with a 4.8-point advantage over Abrams. RCP still has Georgia’s gubernatorial election as a toss-up.
“The polling also shows no lingering antipathy post-primary, with both 95 percent of Republicans and Democrats saying they’d back their party’s nominee,” Taylor continues. “Notably, though, Kemp is winning independent voters by a 14-point margin.”
For their part, the Democrats continue to brag about their “unprecedented” ground game.
“With more cash on hand, staff, active county committees, grassroots donors, volunteers and Democratic candidates than at this point in any year past, Georgia Democrats are well-positioned to build on our historic victories come November,” Ebonee Dawson of Georgia’s Democrat Party told Hurt.
Abrams has outraised Kemp in donations, but only 14% of that money has come from donors in Georgia. That’s right: a whopping 86% of her money is from out-of-state donors. By contrast, Kemp’s haul, though smaller, is comprised of 83% in-state donations. That’s important because Georgia donors equal Georgia voters. Abrams’ Hollywood and Big Apple money doesn’t translate into donors who can elect her.
Of course, the only numbers that matter are the ones that the counties will tally in November. We’ll see who comes out on top — and whether the Republicans’ increased ground game will have made a difference.