Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Is Georgia On Obama's Mind?

(image via history)

Georgia, the only state completely controlled by the English during the American Revolution, is going to be one hell of an interesting location to watch in the run-up to election night 2008 (The Corsair gingerly sips a glass if "the fizzy"). For one reason, Georgia is generally considered solid Republican territory, a stronghold of the old Southern strategy. But increasingly the state of Georgia is being regarded as a state in play.

Another reason to watch Georgia is that there are, reportedly, some 400,000 unregistered African-American voters. Also: the Republican Party appears to be in entropy. And let's not forget about Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate for President, who just happens to be a native son. Barr, a former Republican congressman, will almost certainly drain some votes -- though it remains to be seen how many -- from Senator McCain, who who has lukewarm conservative support.

Finally, Senator Obama, who has vowed to redraw the electoral map, is going to make the state an issue. From Time:

"'I'm probably the only candidate who, having won the nomination, can actually redraw the political map,' Obama replied to a question about his strategy from a Concord, N.H., woman at a house party last August. Pacing around the old Victorian home, the wooden floor creaking, Obama went on: 'I'll give you one specific example: Mississippi is 40% African American, but it votes 25% African American. If we just got the African Americans in Mississippi to vote their percentage, Mississippi is suddenly a Democratic state. And Georgia may be a Democratic state. Even South Carolina starts being in play. And I guarantee you African-American turnout, if I'm the nominee, goes up 30% around the country, minimum.'

".. In Georgia, the Obama campaign has wasted no time, launching massive voter registration drives before he the primaries had even ended. 'By some estimates we have about 600,000 African Americans in Georgia are eligible but unregistered. I think that number is a little high, but we will be working very hard to register as many voters as we can before the election,' said Jane Kidd, chairwoman of the Georgia Democratic Party. 'Georgia is one of the most progressive southern states. There are a lot of people moving in, there's a lot of transition, a lot of progressives."

"Obama has 15 full-time paid staffers who have been in Georgia for over a month. They also have had staff in North Carolina and Virginia and have been 'literally moving in dozens of people every week to all three states,' said Jon Carson, Obama's national field director."

Frankly -- and this blog is nothing if not frank -- we do NOT think that Senator Obama will win Georgia. Virginia -- yes; North Carolina -- possibly; Georgia -- meh. But the genius of Obama's fighting in Georgia is that he has such a financial advantage over McCain, that he can make a race of it, forcing McCain to fight back in order to hold the state. And with McCain's limited comparative resources, that will funnel funds away from other possible battlegrounds like New Jersey. That's black genius right there ..

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