Georgia’s Senior U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson is working his way around a challenging Donald Trump presidential race in hopes of crossing Georgia’s requirement that he win his November contest by over 50 percent of the vote– even if it is just by a single vote. Isakson has generally pulled support from across political lines and his opponent Jim Barksdale has no experience in elected office. But Barksdale has dropped several million dollars on TV ads and Isakson is currently still polling at about 47 percent.
Insiders tell us that Isakson should be able to take Barksdale in November, but if Trump underperforms in Georgia the entire Republican ticket might suffer and that could force the GOP incumbent into a much dreaded January election runoff. Should that happen and control of the Senate (which expected to be very close) still be in question, Georgia could become the political “ground zero” for the nation.
Isakson is now up with an ad touting his vote to override a veto by President Obama of legislation allowing family members who lost loved ones to sue Saudi Arabia or other countries deemed responsible for the 2001 attacks. Meanwhile Barksdale is advertising Isakson’s support of trade deals that Trump derides.
Several of our HBS team are involved in following these races and we will keep our eye on Georgia as events unfold.