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Swing State Project

A state-by-state look at lieutenant gubernatorial elections in 2014 (July 23, 2014, 10:00 AM)

 photo LieutenantGovernorRacesBaseline_zps263ef1a5.png

One of the often overlooked offices in America, state lieutenant governors have powers that vary from state to state with some presiding over the state Senate and others simply collecting a paycheck. Some lieutenant governors are elected on a ticket with the governor and some are elected in their own right, while several states hold primaries for both offices but in the general election run on a single ticket. As we saw in 2009 when President Obama appointed then-Arizona governor Janet Napolitano as Department of Homeland Security secretary, the departure of a governor can flip the office to the other party, who in that case was Republican Jan Brewer.

In this diary I want to take a look at the elections for lieutenant governor in 2014 or whichever office is first in line to the governorship where those offices are separately elected in a general election. This year there will be 11 states that directly elect a lieutenant governor separately in the general election while in two the separately elected secretary of state is first in line and in four states the state Senate president is first in line. Overall Democrats are defending five states while Republicans are defending 12 and below the fold I'll detail each race.


Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 7/23 (July 23, 2014, 09:00 AM)

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8:39 AM PT: GA-Sen: On Tuesday night we got another Republican primary surprise, as wealthy businessman David Perdue defeated Rep. Jack Kingston in the Senate runoff by about 51 to 49. Kingston had led in almost every runoff poll but in the end Perdue's strength in the Atlanta area was a little too much for the South Georgia Kingston to overcome.

Perdue will now take on Democrat Michelle Nunn, one of Team Blue's top recruits. Nunn has run a very good race and is doing well in the polls. However, Nunn will need to win a majority in November if she wants to avoid a January runoff with Perdue. As Taniel argued back in May, Nunn would need to run ahead of Perdue by anywhere from two to four points in order to win outright in November and avoid a runoff where Democratic turnout is expected to drop disproportionately. Both parties are expected to get involved big time here, and this should be a competitive fight.

8:56 AM PT: GA-01: Republicans also held runoffs in three safely red Georgia seats. In the coastal First District, state Sen. Buddy Carter defeated physician Bob Johnson. The Club for Growth spent big here against Carter, attempting to paint him as a liberal, but this time it wasn't enough. The Republican Senate primary probably boosted turnout here enough to keep the more establishment flavored Carter in the game, allowing him to avoid the fate of establishment candidates in other recent Southern runoffs.

8:56 AM PT: GA-10: In this central-east Georgia seat, which includes parts of Augusta and Athens, pastor Jody Hice beat trucking company executive Michael Collins 54-46. Collins, the son of former Rep. Mac Collins, had spent most of the race as the frontrunner. However, Hice's ties to religious conservatives probably played a big part in his victory. Hice has a long history of demeaning gays and Muslims among other groups, and he is likely to make news on Capitol Hill for all the wrong reasons.

8:56 AM PT: GA-11: In this exurban Atlanta district, state Sen. Barry Loudermilk crushed former Rep. Bob Barr 66-34. Barr, who left the Republican party for a while and was the 2008 Libertarian Party's presidential nominee, was hoping he could return to the House under the flag of his old party. However, it seems that voters weren't ready to forgive Barr's apostasies.


Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: PPP gives Hagan a seven point lead, but with some warning signs (July 23, 2014, 08:00 AM)

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Leading Off:

? NC-Sen: PPP returns to their home state and brings Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan some good news. They find her leading Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis 41 to 34, with Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh continuing to take a relatively big 8 percent. In June, she had a slightly smaller five-point lead.

Neither major party candidate is at all popular: Hagan's approval rating is underwater at 40/50, which would normally be fatal for a red state Democrat. However, probably due to the ugly legislative session, Tillis is in much worse shape with a horrific 24/47 favorable rating.

There are some big notes of caution here. Haugh's supporters are largely Republican leaning: When they are asked to choose between Hagan and Tillis, Hagan's overall lead shrinks from seven to three points. It's also quite possible that once the legislative session is over Tillis's ratings will start to recover. A similar thing happened to Republican Gov. Pat McCrory last year: As the 2013 legislative session became a distant memory for most voters, his approval went from an anemic 35/53 to a far less dire 42/47. Of course, this time Hagan and her allies will be spending millions to remind voters in November why they hate Tillis now.


In a surprise, David Perdue upsets Jack Kingston in Georgia runoff (July 22, 2014, 11:33 PM)

Photo of David Perdue standing outside, alone
Newly minted GOP Senate nominee David Perdue
This primary season has been full of surprises, and Tuesday night marks another one. In Georgia's primary runoff, former Dollar General CEO David Perdue, a cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, narrowly edged favorite Rep. Jack Kingston. With most of the vote counted, Perdue holds a 50.83-49.17 margin, outside the state's 1 percent recount threshold.  

Perdue led Kingston 31-26 in the May primary, but Kingston appeared to have the momentum going in to the race. Kingston received the backing of former Secretary of State Karen Handel and Rep. Phil Gingrey, who finished third and fourth in May respectively. Kingston also led in all but one runoff poll, though Perdue appeared to be making up ground as the runoff inched closer. Perdue also made a number of gaffes throughout his time in the race, including touching the third rail of Republican politics when he appeared to suggest a tax hike may be necessary. But in the end, he surprisingly pulled it off.

Ultimately, what seemed to doom Kingston was the Metro Atlanta area. While neither candidate was from there, Perdue had better ties to the region than the South Georgia area-Kingston. In May Kingston came in third there, and while he didn't need to win the big metro counties, he needed to stop Perdue from romping in them. While Kingston came close, he didn't do quite well enough. Perdue carried most of the big counties by eight to 14 point margins, small enough to keep him from running away with a win but large enough to stop Kingston. The congressman won big in his native South Georgia, but it wasn't quite enough to beat Perdue.

Perdue will go on to face Michelle Nunn, one of the top Democratic recruits of the cycle. Polls show Nunn competitive with or even leading Perdue. However, for Nunn to win outright in November, she will need to win a majority of the vote: If no one clears 50 percent, the top two candidates will face a runoff in January, where Democratic turnout is expected to drop. Both Kingston and Perdue had their flaws, but Perdue's undisciplined nature probably makes him the better foil for Democrats. Still, this will be a tough race, and Nunn will need all the help she can get to win a majority in November.

Republicans also held three runoffs in safely red House seats. In the 1st District, the more establishment flavored Sen. Buddy Carter beat tea partying doctor Bob Johnson 54-46. In the 10th, pastor Jody Hice turned back businessman Michael Collins 54-46, the son of a former congressman. In the 11th, state Sen. Barry Loudermilk destroyed former Rep. and 2008 Libertarian presidential nominee Bob Barr 66-34. Like many primaries this year, there's no clear narrative we can latch on to other than Republican primaries are unpredictable.  

And finally ... Kingston concedes:

I called @Perduesenate to congratulate him and offer my support for his campaign in the General Election.
? @JackKingston4GA


Daily Kos Elections Georgia runoff liveblog #5 (July 22, 2014, 09:39 PM)

Georgia is holding its primary runoff tonight, and our guide to the key races can be found here. Polls close at 7:00 PM ET and we'll be bringing you the results as they come in. You can keep track of the winners below.

Results: AP

6:41 PM PT: GA-Sen: As of now, Perdue leads statewide by a .52 percent margin and about 75 percent in. The lead has been see-sawing back and forth all night. The good news for Perdue is it looks like much of what's left is the Atlanta area, where he's winning. But there's too much uncertainty to be sure, and we'll need to see what happens.

6:46 PM PT (David Jarman): GA-10: We've got an AP call in GA-10's runoff. Pastor and radio host Jody Hice beats Mike Collins 54-46, with 201 of 217 reporting. Hice looks well-positioned to continue Paul Broun's distinguished tradition of sticking his foot in his mouth and saying extreme things.

6:50 PM PT: GA-Sen: All of Kingston friendly Chatham County is in, and Perdue still leads statewide by .82 percent. Very good sign that he can pull this off.

6:53 PM PT (David Jarman): GA-01: And we've gotten the AP call in GA-01's runoff. State Sen. Buddy Carter (no apparent relation to Jimmy and Jason) defeats CfG-backed businessman Bob Johnson (no apparent relation to Daily Kos regular Bob Johnson). It's still 54-46, with 184 of 232 reporting.

6:57 PM PT: GA-Sen: About 80 percent is in, and Perdue has a .80 percent lead with a lot of Atlanta area still out. Wouldn't call this yet, but rather be him than Kingston right now.

7:00 PM PT: GA-Sen: This isn't over, but Perdue has been moving in the right direction for a bit. He now has clawed out a 1.05 percent lead.

7:06 PM PT: GA-Sen: Guess who Jack Kingston's pollster was? I'll give you a hint: His name sounds exactly like John McLaughlin.

7:09 PM PT: GA-Sen: About 86 percent in and Perdue now up 1.2 percent. His lead isn't massive but Kingston's running out of breathing room.

7:13 PM PT: GA-Sen: Most of the remaining precincts come from counties where Perdue is up. It's hard to see where Kingston finds the votes he needs.

7:27 PM PT: GA-Sen: According to our reading of this, Georgia's recount threshold is 1 percent. Right now Perdue is at 1.2 percent.

7:42 PM PT: GA-Sen: Perdue is up 1.34 percent, outside the 1 percent recount zone and with most of what's left coming from Metro Atlanta where he's winning. I think we all know how this is going to end.

7:59 PM PT: GA-Sen: The AP has called the runoff for Perdue. He'll go on to face Michelle Nunn in a closely watched general.

And with that, we're calling it a night. Thanks for reading and see you back here August 5 for Kansas, Michigan, and Washington!


Daily Kos Elections Georgia runoff liveblog #4 (July 22, 2014, 09:05 PM)

Georgia is holding its primary runoff tonight, and our guide to the key races can be found here. Polls close at 7:00 PM ET and we'll be bringing you the results as they come in. You can keep track of the winners below.

Results: AP

6:12 PM PT: GA-Sen: To recap: Perdue is up by about 0.18 percent, with 366,000 votes counted. About 605,000 were cast in the primary and the runoff should have fewer, but it's not clear how much of a drop we should expect.

The Atlanta area remains key. Perdue is winning the big counties by about 8-12 points, while Kingston is romping in South Georgia. Kingston has made up enough ground in the Atlanta area to stay in competition, but not enough ground to open a real lead.

6:14 PM PT: GA-11: Got Loudermilk? If so, then you must live in GA-11, where the AP has called the race for Barry Loudermilk. He's currently beating former Rep. Bob Barr 69-31 and should have no problem winning in November.

6:16 PM PT: GA-Sen: Perdue's small lead is not safe, but it is expanding. Now up .42 percent.

6:21 PM PT (David Jarman): GA-10: There hasn't been any more movement in the 10th, where Jody Hice continues to lead Mike Collins 54-46 in the GOP runoff. We have 181 of 217 precincts reporting, though, so this is pretty much over, and a call should happen soon.

6:22 PM PT: GA-Sen: Probably a bare minimum of 2/3 of the vote is in, and Perdue is clinging to a .32 percent edge. If you listen closely, you can hear Democrat Michelle Nunn praying for a long recount here.

6:31 PM PT: GA-Sen: About 69 percent is counted statewide (The AP is now only slightly behind the SoS, for now at least). Perdue leads 50.34 to 49.66.

6:32 PM PT (David Jarman): GA-01: Meanwhile, in the 1st, it looks likelier that state Sen. Buddy Carter will break the curse that's plagued other state legislators running against Club for Growth and/or religious-right outsiders in recent southern primaries; he's ticked up to a 53-47 lead against Bob Johnson. That's with 161 of 232 reporting.

6:35 PM PT: GA-Sen: About 70 percent in and now its Kingston back in the lead with .04 percent. For now at least.

6:37 PM PT: GA-Sen: Possibly optimistic sign for Perdue: A large portion of what's left it the Atlanta area. Perdue isn't dominating there, but he's winning by enough that it could give him what he needs in a close race.

6:38 PM PT: GA-Sen: Another ballot dump and it's Perdue back in the lead by .5 percent.

6:39 PM PT: The liveblog continues here.


Daily Kos Elections Georgia runoff liveblog #3 (July 22, 2014, 08:36 PM)

Georgia is holding its primary runoff tonight, and our guide to the key races can be found here. Polls close at 7:00 PM ET and we'll be bringing you the results as they come in. You can keep track of the winners below.

Results: AP

5:38 PM PT: GA-Sen

5:43 PM PT: GA-Sen: Perdue is ahead by about 300 votes statewide. He's taking most of the big Atlanta counties by about 8-12 points: enough to stay in the game, but not enough to break out.

5:46 PM PT (Steve Singiser): GA-10: In the GOP primary, evangelical radio host Jody Hice has never trailed, and in the last half hour, his lead has edged back out towards double digits. Hice currently leads Mike Collins 55-45, with nearly 35,000 votes tallied to date.

5:49 PM PT: GA-11: Loudermilk is dominating across the board here, beating Barr 69-31. Only a matter of time before we get the red checkmark.

5:50 PM PT: If you're just joining us, be sure to check out the SoS for the most up to date results.

5:51 PM PT: GA-Sen: Kingston has pulled back into the lead, with a .2 percent advantage. Hang on, this could get bumpy.

5:52 PM PT (Steve Singiser): GA-01: State Sen. Buddy Carter has moved back into a narrow lead over Bob Johnson. With 28,000 votes in, Carter has a 108-vote lead over his opponent. Chatham County has started to report, and while Carter leads there handily (57-43), it is not the 20-point edge he enjoyed last time around. This could be a close one, for sure.

5:55 PM PT: GA-Sen: Now Perdue is back up by a little less than 700 votes. Good news for those who love a close race.

5:58 PM PT: GA-Sen: A big dump of Chatham votes has now given Kingston a narrow edge. Be sure not to blink or else the lead may change again.

6:01 PM PT (David Jarman): GA-01: That clump of Chatham votes appears to have boosted Buddy Carter's prospects, too. He's now leading Bob Johnson by 52-48, with 32,400 votes in.

6:04 PM PT: GA-Sen: And what did I tell you: Now it's Perdue up by 2,100 votes.

6:06 PM PT: The liveblog continues here.


Daily Kos Elections Georgia runoff liveblog #2 (July 22, 2014, 08:04 PM)

Georgia is holding its primary runoff tonight, and our guide to the key races can be found here. Polls close at 7:00 PM ET and we'll be bringing you the results as they come in. You can keep track of the winners below.

Results: AP

5:08 PM PT: GA-Sen: Things continue to remain close here. With 110,000 counted (About 1/6 of May's turnout), Kingston leads 51-49. The key to a Perdue upset is him beating Kingston in the big Atlanta area counties: Kingston doesn't need to win them, but if he can get to 45 percent in places like Gwinnett, DeKalb, and Fulton, he's in very good shape. Very little of those big counties are in, making things unpredictable.

5:12 PM PT: GA-01: Johnson currently holds a tight 52-48 lead. Chatham County, home of Savannah and by far the largest county in the district, is still out. Carter won 49-29 here in the primary and if he can pull off a good win here he's probably fine.

5:15 PM PT: GA-Sen: With 131,000 in, Kingston is clinging to a 51-49 lead. The good news for him is Chatham, a large county where he did very well in May, is still all out. The bad news is that not much of most of the big Atlanta counties are in, making things still quite unpredictable.

5:16 PM PT (Steve Singiser): GA-10: With 16,000-plus votes now tallied, the margin might have changed incrementally, but the leader has not. All night, radio host Jody Hice has held a lead over Mike Collins, and that lead continues. Collins supporters can take some solace in the margin, though, which is down to single digits (54-46).

5:18 PM PT: GA-Sen: One good sign for Kingston is Cobb County, where so far he's only losing 54-46. Cobb is one of the big Atlanta area counties he needs to cut his losses in: He doesn't need to win there, but keeping Perdue from running up the score is essential.

5:19 PM PT: GA-Sen: Kingston is down 56-44 in Cherokee, another big Atlanta area county. Probably within the neighborhood Kingston needs.

5:24 PM PT (Steve Singiser): GA-01: With over 17,000 votes in the books, state Sen. Buddy Carter is edging back towards all-square with physician Bob Johnson. Johnson retains a 51-49 lead, but Carter's home base in Chatham County (which he won in the first round) has yet to report.

5:27 PM PT: GA-Sen: Kingston is now up 599 votes statewide, with about 192,000 in. A lot to go, but it looks like the Atlanta area margins are enough to keep Perdue in contention, but not enough for him to break out.

5:30 PM PT: GA-Sen: Perdue has pulled ahead by one percentage point. A lot of both candidates' home bases are still out.

5:33 PM PT: GA-11: With 14,000 votes in (57,000 were cast in the primary), Loudermilk is crushing Barr 67-33. None of Fulton County is in, but it makes up the smallest part of the district. No call yet, but hard to see Barr save this one.

5:36 PM PT: The liveblog continues here.


Daily Kos Elections Georgia runoff liveblog #1 (July 22, 2014, 06:00 PM)

Georgia is holding its primary runoff tonight, and our guide to the key races can be found here. Polls close at 7:00 PM ET and we'll be bringing you the results as they come in. You can keep track of the winners below.

Results: AP

4:06 PM PT: Last time around the secretary of state's site was faster than the AP. Here is the link.

4:10 PM PT: Be sure to check out Greg Giroux's county results spreadsheets for the first round for the Senate and House races. A great way to see who is meeting their targets and who isn't.

4:20 PM PT: Results are trickling in statewide.

4:26 PM PT: GA-11: About 3,000 votes are in and state Sen. Barry Loudermilk is crushing former Rep. Bobb Barr 71-29. The results are all form Cherokee County, where Loudermilk led 40-27 in the primary. Early but awful sign for Barr.

4:35 PM PT: GA-Sen: It's too early to make any conclusions with only 23,000 votes counted. Kingston doesn't need to win the Atlanta area but he needs to make sure he doesn't get crushed there like he did in the primary. So far the signs are mixed. In large Cherokee County Perdue leads 55-45, as opposed to 31-12 in the primary. However, in Hall County, Perdue leads 61-39, as opposed to 37-19.

What Perdue needs to do is vacuum up enough of the Atlanta area voters who backed Handel, Gingrey, or Broun in the first round to shut Kingston out of the area. So far it's not clear if he can do this or not.

4:40 PM PT (Steve Singiser): GA-10: While it's still pretty early in the count, we do have around 7000 votes counted in the 10th district, being vacated by failed Senate hopeful Paul Broun. Here, evangelical radio host Jody Hice holds a 56-44 lead over trucking executive (and congressional progeny) Mike Collins.

4:49 PM PT: GA-Sen: About 60,000 votes are counted, representing about 10 percent of the votes cast in May (there should be fewer votes this time) and Kingston leads 52-48.

4:50 PM PT (Steve Singiser): GA-01: The only district in the Peach State with two runoffs tonight is the Savannah-based first. Only a smattering of precincts are in, and neither of the big counties are reporting votes, but we are starting to see some space between the two GOP contenders. State senator Buddy Carter has forged the early advantage (56-44) over physician Bob Johnson. On the Democratic side, Some Dude Brian Reese leads Some Dude (Dude-ette?) Amy Tavio 57-43. In a sign of how red the early territory is, there have been 3300 votes tallied on the GOP side, versus a whopping 485 on the Democratic side.


Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 7/22 (July 22, 2014, 09:00 AM)

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7:30 AM PT: GA-Sen: The Republican runoff between Rep. Jack Kingston and businessman David Perdue is today, but Kingston's allies at the US Chamber of Commerce had time to sneak in one last minute anti-Perdue spot.  

Polls will close in Georgia at 7 PM ET and we'll be liveblogging the results at Daily Kos Elections. You can check out our primary preview of the key races, including GOP runoffs in GA-01, GA-10, and GA-11.


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