Sabato's Crystal Ball

Georgia Races

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Georgia (08)

Outlook: Leans Democratic


This race is part of the Crystal Ball’s “Ferocious FIFTY” list of the 50 most competitive House races in the nation.

November 8, 2006 Update:

As the Crystal Ball predicted, Democrat Jim Marshall won re-election over Republican Mac Collins with 51% of the vote.

November 6, 2006 Update:

Rep. Jim Marshall (D) will win reelection over Mac Collins (R). Despite the new district’s shape, Collins has not succeeded in moving the race in his favor. Both candidates are established figures in the region, but Marshall’s moderate reputation and incumbency favor his reelection. The real comeback race seems to be to the East, in the 12th District.

August 23, 2006 Update:

Democrats continue to insist that Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall is strong, but numerous high-profile Republicans continue to help Former GOP Rep. Mac Collins raise money. Is the GOP grasping at straws, desperately hoping that at least one incumbent Democrat can be forced out this year? Or do they sense genuine opportunity? We’re not sure, but it’s hard to believe Marshall would lose this year after a near 2-1 victory last cycle.

June 29, 2006 Update:

Former GOP Rep. Mac Collins is taking his congressional comeback bid more seriously than his ill-fated run for Senate in 2004, but he probably couldn’t have picked a worse year to challenge an incumbent Democrat. The new dynamics of the reconfigured district remain the “x-factor” in this race, but Rep. Jim Marshall remains the favorite to win a third term.


February 2006 Outlook:

Now that a new pro-GOP Georgia districting plan is in effect, Republicans are eager to make a major play for this Middle Georgia seat. Although former Macon mayor and Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall has twice defeated GOP Bibb County official Calder Clay here, he has done so in a very heavily gerrymandered district.

In the revamped 3rd, Marshall finds himself in a district more centered on his base of Macon, but more significantly, the new seat is 7 percent less African-American. He also must now contend with a challenge from popular former GOP Rep. Mac Collins, whose Butts County home has been freshly drawn into the seat but whose previous district did not share all that much overlap with the newly mapped 3rd. Collins has reportedly missed serving in Congress since unsuccessfully mounting a Senate bid last year, and now that he has announced his intention to run, he is sure to give Marshall a run for his money. Speaking of money, Collins notably out-raised the incumbent by over $100,000 in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Although Marshall is an able politician, and a survivor, his survivor skills will be put to the ultimate test in a battle with Collins. Nonetheless, Marshall’s impressive 63 percent victory in 2004 is evidence that he has solidified himself somewhat in the area, and he begins the year with a slight upper hand.

Candidates

Jim Marshall (I) – Democrat – Total Raised: $1,661,551.83 | Total Spent: $1,307,293.06
Website

Mac Collins – Republican – Total Raised: $1,875,276.93| Total Spent: $1,518,739.10
Website

Georgia (12)

Outlook: Leans Democratic


This race is part of the Crystal Ball’s “Ferocious FIFTY” list of the 50 most competitive House races in the nation.

November 6, 2006 Update:

Rep. John Barrow (D) will win reelection over Max Burns (R). If the Crystal Ball had to pick one race in the country to be a GOP pickup on Election Night, this would be it. Burns has run a highly aggressive and effective campaign against the man who unseated him two years ago in a slightly more Democratic district, Georgia looks to be an exception to the national Democratic wave, and even independent observers acknowledge that a recent Bush rally here turned the tide in his favor. Democrats here express genuine concern about Barrow’s ability to draw black voters to the polls in a non-presidential election year and worry that the substitution of rural counties for Barrow’s liberal base of Athens in re-redistricting will work to his detriment. We cannot bring ourselves to bet against a Democratic incumbent who has fought back ably as Barrow has, but we would not be at all surprised to see Burns reclaim his seat tomorrow.

September 9, 2006 Update:

Democratic Rep. John Barrow may now call Savannah (and not Athens) his home, but little about this race has changed over the last year. GOP Rep. Max Burns remains the considerable underdog.

June 29, 2006 Update:

This race has been quiet, and even though the uncertainty caused by the Georgia remap keeps this race in the Dirty Thirty, it’s still hard to see how former GOP Rep. Max Burns is going to overcome his deficit from two years ago in today’s less favorable political environment.


February 2006 Outlook:

Democratic Rep. John Barrow came to Congress in 2005 after ousting GOP Rep. Max Burns, who had won in a surprise upset in 2002 after defeating a scandal-tarred Democrat in the then-newly created 12th District. Now that state legislators have reconfigured boundaries for the second time this decade, lopping off Barrow’s base of Clarke County in the northern end of the district, the freshman incumbent will be campaigning for reelection in plenty of new territory.

Burns’s decision to seek a rematch will assure that this Savannah-to-Augusta seat receives national attention and money in 2006. Even in spite of the office staff shakeups that took place during his tenure in the House, Burns will be a formidable challenger, and he significantly outraised the incumbent Barrow in the final quarter of 2005. But while Barrow’s efforts have been complicated in some respects by the repositioning of the district and the loss of his liberal, college-town base of Athens, he can take heart the fact that the new 12th contains a higher percentage of black voters than the old 12th did. If Barrow’s campaign can take advantage of that shift and turn out base Democratic voters in a midterm election, his prospects for winning a second term will remain bright. This Kerry-carried Georgia seat leans to the Democrats.

Candidates

John Barrow (I) – Democrat – Total Raised: $2,185,949.89| Total Spent: $1,421,793.86
Website

Max Burns – Republican – Total Raised: $1,875,944.33| Total Spent: $1,437,970.76
Website