Sabato's Crystal Ball

Georgia (08) House 2010

Crystal Ball Outlook: Leans R

Democratic candidate: Jim Marshall, incumbent

Republican candidate: Austin Scott, state representative

Recent Updates from the Crystal Ball

Update: October 5th, 2010

Democrat Jim Marshall has been a perennial Republican target, and they certainly have found the year, and the candidate, to make a serious race. Republican Austin Scott has been named an NRCC “Young Gun,” signaling the national GOP’s support and it came coupled with an NRCC-funded TV ad targeting Marshall’s voting record. Both sides’ polling shows Marshall in the lead, but narrowly and he is under 50%, a scary place for a four-term incumbent to be given the Republican tilt of the district and the especially-Republican year 2010 is shaping up to be. The Crystal Ball moves this race from Leans D to Toss-Up.

Update: July 28

Blue-dog Democrat Jim Marshall has overcome contentious races and strong challengers to enter into his 4th term in Georgia’s 8th District. Until the Republican “contract with America” sweep of the House in 1994, Democrats had held the district’s seat since 1873. But ten years of Republican control from 1994-2004 led to a Republican redistricting in 2005, and Marshall, who had been representing the nearby 3rd District, was forced to cover new, more Republican territory in the reformed 8th District. Brand new constituents comprised nearly 60 percent of his gerrymandered district. Despite this, he squeaked by with an extremely narrow 1 percent victory over highly competitive and popular former Republican congressman, Mac Collins, in 2006. In the 2008 election, however, Marshall expanded his base of support and captured a comfortable 57.2 percent of the vote and easily defeated Republican Rick Goddard.

In 2010, educator Kenneth Deloach, businessman Paul Rish, and state representative Austin Scott seek to unseat Marshall and have attacked him for not being “conservative” enough, as they believe his Blue-dog title should suggest. The 8th is Likely Democrat.