Kaufman: Kicking off coverage from Georgia

Was Biden's 12,000-vote advantage last month an aberration because of a polarizing Trump, or is the state slowly moving to purple or blue? Will Biden voters become complacent about the runoff because they already got what they wanted?

A.J. Kaufman/Alpha News

I’ve arrived “on the ground” in Georgia, and for the next 36-48 hours plan to cover the Peach State from small towns near the Tennessee border to Athens, Atlanta, Newnan, Rome and potentially more.

The state’s already held a fortnight of early voting — with well over 2 million ballots cast.

There’s only one week of campaigning to go, and “everything is at stake” we are reminded ad nauseam — since early November. President Donald Trump will be here Jan. 4, the evening before Election Day.

Can Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue prevail and be a backstop against Chuck Schumer’s agenda that could dismantle many policies of the last four years?

The economy is clearly on the ballot in Georgia. Many governors want more lockdowns, and for months, Nancy Pelosi blocked direct payments to those who lost income during COVID.

National security is on the ballot. President-elect Joe Biden hopes to re-enter the failed Iran nuclear deal, which helps propel the world’s largest state sponsor of terror on the path to a nuclear weapon.

And considering the NRA is spending almost $5 million, including a multi-million dollar ad buy last week, gun rights are apparently on the line. Over 1,000 volunteers have helped the oldest and largest civil rights organization knock on approximately 400,000 doors and send almost 2 million text messages.

After mishaps in November, public pollsters are hesitant to weigh in too much, but private pollsters show evidence of strong Republican turnout.

Was Biden’s 12,000-vote advantage last month an aberration because of a polarizing Trump, or is the state slowly moving to purple or blue? Will Biden voters become complacent about the runoff because they already got what they wanted?

Perdue had a commanding first place win Nov. 3, outpacing vainglorious Jon Ossoff by almost 100,000 votes; in nearly every other state, the senator would have already been reelected. Libertarian Shane Hazel got 115,000 votes, and he’s no longer on the ballot. What percentage of his supporters support Perdue?

Reportedly more than 75,000 Georgians registered to vote since the election, and a majority of new voters are under 25, or “people of color,” two groups that lean left. The fundraising battle is massive.

If it’s close in Georgia, don’t expect quick concessions; recall two years ago when Stacey Abrams stubbornly refused to accept the results of the gubernatorial election. The former legislator — now a “voting rights activist” — is still yet to concede, despite being unable to provide evidence of actual fraud.

An election integrity organization is preemptively seeking to remove potential fraud this go-around, while the secretary of state plans to combat illegal voting. Democrats want to run up the vote wherever and whenever possible. Fringe lawyers are trying to obfuscate, too.

I plan to interview various Georgia voters at rallies starting tomorrow, but two hours ago I kicked things off with an elderly gentleman atop Lookout Mountain, along the Georgia-Tennessee border.

“I vote mainly on economics and health care,” he said. “Georgians I know want a low cost of living, quality insurance, and a real choice for their health needs.”

A simple man during a complex election. More to come.