The polls close in a half hour, putting an end to a lot of recent conjecture and providing fodder for a whole new round of predictions and projections, particularly in the governor’s race.
On the Democratic side, I don’t think there’s much suspense. Roy Barnes is almost certain to win without a runoff, although I also remember an election night eight years ago when Barnes was also expected to win pretty handily. I’m sure Barnes remembers it even better.
I suspect Karen Handel will come out of tonight as the GOP frontrunner, with a close and late-called race for the all-important second-place among John Oxendine, Nathan Deal and Eric Johnson. Handel no doubt hopes it will be Oxendine, whose candidacy and political career have been fatally — and justifiably — damaged. If Ox sustains enough support to make it into the two-person runoff, Handel will win the nomination easily.
If it’s Deal or Johnson, things get more tricky. With her blanket condemnation of GOP legislative leadership on ethics grounds, Handel angered a good deal of the party establishment. And despite her endorsement from Sarah Palin, she’s vulnerable to attacks from her party’s right. If the rest of the party unites against her in the runoff, which seems possible if not probable, she could lose.
Nothing to do now but wait for the numbers to roll in.