As noted in the Toteboard last month, Georgia owns the singular distinction of serving as Trump’s primary (pun intended) vendetta state. The bad rash that just won’t go away put a lot of time and energy (and even some money) into wreaking vengeance on any republicans who displayed the thinnest shard of integrity during his frightening attempt to overthrow American democracy. Of course, his more sinister motivation was to place mindless, conscienceless sycophants into positions with jurisdiction over future elections, as he plots from exile what he hopes will be a more successful coup further down the road.
To counter Trump’s maniacal quest for power and revenge, not a small number of democrats – with some urging from the Toteboard – crossed over to the dark side, took republican ballots, and voted against Trump’s complete slate of candidates. Add in the indication that not every Georgia republican has been recently lobotomized, and the results, though not quite a rout, nevertheless amounted to a fairly stinging rebuke of Trump and/or Trumpism. Here is a summary of the key races the Toteboard has been following (and for which it dispatched specific recommendations):
Governor: This had to be a humiliating defeat for Trump, and even more so for David Perdue. Two years ago, this Trumpian bozo was widely viewed as a lock for senate re-election, and the next thing he knows he loses to a thirty-something Jewish nerd, and then despite Trump’s endorsement, can’t even scare up a quarter of the vote in the gubernatorial primary. Of course, the incumbent governor Brian Kemp is seriously bad news, and he may ultimately prevail in his rematch against Stacey Abrams, but at least Georgia may finally be done with Perdue, and good riddance. Toteboard 1, Trump 0.
Senate: The fact that Kemp and Trump-designee Herschel Walker both scored about 70% of the vote in their respective contests symbolizes very well the party’s somewhat conditional fealty to Trump. On the one hand, they weren’t willing to lay off their own red-meat good-old-boy governor who kept promising them more guns and tax-cuts, while on the other hand, they were willing to cast their lot with a carpetbagging jock who lacks fluency in policy matters but does possess a history of public dishonesty and domestic abuse, simply because Trump said so. The Toteboard actually feels kind of sorry for Gary Black and the other republican back-benchers who never got any oxygen during Walker’s absentia campaign. Toteboard 1, Trump 1.
Secretary of State: The result here was perhaps more gratifying than Perdue’s dismal performance, as this one really was almost certainly the result of democratic crossover voting, and kept a delusional conspiracy theorist out of the office that supervises elections. Brad Raffensperger, the recipient of Trump’s notorious “find 12,000 votes” telephone call, poked out 52.3% of the vote, avoiding a runoff with outgoing congressman Jody Hice. In a nice piece, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution characterized this as a victory over election-denial, noting the contributions of normally democratic voters, and, at long last, giving a shout-out to the Toteboard! Toteboard 2, Trump 1.
Lieutenant governor: Interestingly, this one is still undecided, and it’s so close that it’s hard to imagine democratic voters didn’t play a big part in this open contest (incumbent Geoff Duncan did not seek re-election, perhaps because he was on Kemp and Raffensperger’s side, and didn’t want to risk getting trashed by Trump all Spring). At the moment, Trump surrogate Burt Jones is sitting on 50.0596% of the vote, a mere 661 votes above the 50% threshold necessary to avoid a runoff, but there are an estimated 7,000 uncounted ballots still out there, not to mention provisional ballots and such, so we may not know the actual result for a while. Toteboard 2, Trump 1, Pending 1.
Attorney general: In the race for another office that could bear on the adjudication of future elections, Trump endorsee John Gordon lost big to incumbent Chris Carr. Perhaps the republicans didn’t want to rock the boat, or perhaps they didn’t know or care about Trump’s endorsement in this lower-profile primary. Toteboard 3, Trump 1, Pending 1.
Insurance commissioner: Trump got involved in this absurdly low-level primary only because he promised Patrick Witt his support if he exited the 10th district congressional race, which he wanted to clear for career opportunist Vernon Jones, whom he talked out of the gubernatorial race to create a supposedly unobstructed shot at Kemp for David Perdue, who lived in the house that Jack built. This one backfired too, though Jones did finish second and land a spot in a runoff for the congressional seat. Toteboard 4, Trump 1, Pending 2.
Summary: Except for the senate race (which is no small matter), Trump performed pretty badly, and one hopes that republicans in other states view Georgia as evidence that there is a roadmap for escaping the Trumpian ring of hell. Of course, the lieutenant governor and 10th district races could still go Trump’s way, which will make the scorecard look a little closer than the game actually was, but for now, the Toteboard is pleased to know that Trump is slumping in his corner getting treatment from his cut-man.