This op-ed by State Policy Network’s Erin Norman and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s Kyle Wingfield was first published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
With less than 50 days to the midterm elections, political pundits are going into overdrive, constantly updating and analyzing predictions about which party will take the Senate, whether or not the House will really flip to Republican control, and what President Biden will do given a new Congressional make up.
Georgia sits in the middle of the election drama. The Peach State has one of just two Senate elections considered to be a true toss-up. To heighten the stakes further, Nate Silver’s forecasts predict that if the Georgia Senate seat goes to Republican Herschel Walker instead of Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock, the odds of the Republicans taking control of the upper chamber of Congress go from an unlikely 9% chance to a slightly favorable 52%.
But will a slight advantage in the U.S. Senate really matter? The most likely outcomes give control to the Democrats by Vice President Harris’ tiebreaking vote or by only one or two senators. If West Virginia’s Joe Manchin or Arizona’s Krysten Sinema are those two senators, there will be no ability to get anything done at the federal level, especially given the House is expected to be under Republican control. Alternatively, a slight edge in the Senate for Republicans won’t get them to filibuster-proof numbers or open the possibility of overriding a Presidential veto.
Georgians would be better served to focus on elections closer to home, including the race for Governor and the state House and Senate—where nearly 20% of the seats are open due to retiring incumbents. While politicians at the federal level squabble and scramble for airtime to rally their base, pander to donors, or fan the flames of culture war, elected representatives at the state level are getting things done.
Read the full piece in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution here.