What They’re Saying: Georgia GOP’s ‘Bloody Primary’ Hurting Their Chances in November
WaPo: ‘The intra-GOP drama increases the odds that Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams could prevail in November’
The Georgia Republican runoff is officially off the rails this week. This race has everything: criminal accusations, secret recordings, nasty insults, neck and neck polling. It’s the perfect storm of an ugly, damaging primary.
Earlier this week, Sec. of State Brian Kemp’s campaign released a secret recording of his opponent Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle talking about how their race had turned into a contest about who could be the “craziest.” It made national news and caused Gov. Nathan Deal to jump into the fray to scold Kemp for the dirty trick. Then last night, the two faced off in a contentious debate, hurling accusations of criminal wrongdoing at each other. Today, a third recording was made public where Cagle called the GOP base “rabid” and a new poll was released showing the race as a virtual tie, completing the evaporation of Cagle’s early lead.
With accusations of “fake news” flying, increasingly hostile advertising, and both sides remaining intent on fighting to the death, the GOP circus only helps one person: Stacey Abrams.
Chuck Todd said it best on Meet the Press Daily this week:
“Whoever wins this runoff – and boy has it gotten nasty – will now face Democrat Stacey Abrams in the fall. She’s been sitting back quietly raising a ton of money waiting for this bloody primary to end.”
Read a roundup of the coverage below:
Washington Post: Leaked recordings of Ga. governor candidate highlight why people mistrust politicians
THE BIG IDEA: Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle privately complained to one of his GOP primary opponents that their race for governor had become about “who had the biggest gun, who had the biggest truck and who could be the craziest.”
The intra-GOP drama increases the odds that Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams could prevail in November. She would be the first African American female governor in U.S. history.
This is not your granddaddy’s Georgia, which Trump carried by only five points in 2016. The Peach State was one of 11 in which Hillary Clinton improved on Barack Obama’s performance. Slowly but surely, the country’s eighth-most-populous state is becoming more purple.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Gov. Deal links Cagle recording to Democratic ‘47 percent’ video
Gov. Nathan Deal is still sitting firmly on the sidelines in the race to succeed him, but he had sharp words about the secret recording that has rocked Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s campaign.
The governor told our AJC colleague Matt Kempner he was “surprised that someone would try a trick like that,” referring to former GOP candidate Clay Tippins’ surreptitiously-recorded tape of Cagle.
Associated Press: Cagle, Kemp get testy at Georgia gubernatorial debate
During a tense debate between the two Republicans vying for Georgia governor, both candidates tried to make the race about who voters can trust when no one is looking. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who are locked in a contentious runoff battle that will be decided July 24, squared off Thursday evening in Atlanta.
…Cagle punched back, saying that Kemp had “colluded” with former candidate Clay Tippins to record the private conversation and release portions to the media.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: After GOP governor debate came the real fireworks
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp met for a frosty debate Thursday that revolved around the secret recording and allegations of illegal campaign contributions. But the sparks really flew in the halls outside the Georgia Public Broadcasting studios after the showdown.
…And he claimed he was the best candidate to top Democrat Stacey Abrams in November because, he said, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard is ready to bring criminal charges against Cagle “as soon as this race is over.”
…He was then asked if he believed Kemp would lose to Abrams in November.
“There’s no question in my mind. There’s not a poll out there that shows he can win. It’s indicative of the kind of campaign he’s run, and it’s indicative of his record,” said Cagle. “There’s no question.”
MSNBC: Secret recording shakes up Georgia governor race
Whoever wins this runoff – and boy has it gotten nasty – will now face Democrat Stacey Abrams in the fall. She’s been sitting back quietly raising a ton of money waiting for this bloody primary to end.