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Georgia

Outlook: Likely Republican


November 8, 2006 Update:

As the Crystal Ball predicted, Republican Sonny Perdue won re-election over Democrat Mark Taylor with 58% of the vote.

September 25, 2006 Update:

A recent poll shows Gov. Sonny Perdue dominating the race for Georgia’s governor. The Republican incumbent, Perdue, leads Democrat Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor 52 percent to 32 percent. This is an increase in Perdue’s lead from previous polls. With the election just a short six weeks away, Taylor’s got a lot of catching up to do. Perdue is Georgia’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction and today it seems like he will retain his title.

Erin Levin, Crystal Ball Southern Regional Correspondent

July 19, 2006 Update:

Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor‘s campaign surged at just the right time, and the “big guy” came away with a solid victory in the Democratic primary on July 18th, outpacing Secretary of State Cathy Cox 51 percent to 44 percent to conclude of the most bruising intra-party gubernatorial fights of the year. But the biggest winner on Tuesday night was none other than GOP Gov. Sonny Perdue, who has up until this point enjoyed the luxury of sitting on the sidelines while his possible opponents have drained precious campaign funds to beat each other up. The first-term governor dodged a bullet when state Sen. Casey Cagle topped former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed in the GOP primary for lieutenant governor, 56 percent to 44 percent. Reed, who had recently been implicated in the Abramoff lobbying scandal, would have been a polarizing general election candidate; instead, Perdue will share the ticket with a moderate and becomes an even stronger favorite in November.

June 29, 2006 Update:

Most of our Peach State contacts are truly surprised that Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor has apparently upended Cathy Cox as the Democratic primary favorite for July 18. Primaries have squirrelly turnouts, and are tough to predict, though. Still, Taylor has run an aggressive campaign on TV, and the negative ads are going back and forth between the two fast and furious. All of this is music to the ears of Sonny Perdue, still the favorite for reelection as Governor regardless of the identity of the Democratic nominee. If private polls are accurate, Perdue may not even be stuck with the heavy baggage of Abramoff scandal-connected, ex-Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed. State Senator Casey Cagle may take Reed in the GOP primary–though, again, turnout is the key.

June 15, 2006 Update:

Governor Sonny Perdue has had a good run recently in a wide variety of areas and the Peach State’s electorate seems to be leaning rather strongly to giving him a second term. Neither Democrat is doing especially well in match-ups with Perdue, and it’s still unclear who the party’s nominee might be. Secretary of State Cathy Cox got off to a strong start, but recent polls have shown Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor with a modest edge as the July primary draws near.


Background

Our early bet is that Governor Sonny Perdue, the Peach State’s first GOP governor since Reconstruction, will be reelected in 2006. His stunning ousting of one-term Democrat Roy Barnes has been followed by the Republican takeover of the state legislature (not to mention both U.S. Senate seats), so it would be foolish to pick the Democrat. Perdue has also recently scored big with his post-Katrina suspension of the state’s gas tax.

Either Secretary of State Cathy Cox or Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor will be the nominee of the once-dominant Democratic Party, and there is still enough residual Democratic support in Jimmy Carter‘s home state to enable either to make a decent showing. At the moment, public polls are indicating that Cox has a much better shot at dethroning Perdue than does Taylor; therefore we expect Cox to be the Democratic nominee.

Candidates

Sonny Perdue (I) – Republican – current Governor and former state senate majority leader
Website

Bill Bolton – Democrat – secretary of state, former state representative
Website

Mark Taylor – Democrat – current Lt. Governor and former state senator
Website