On the second day after an election, the fantasy league aspects of politics take over.
By Thursday, we all know who won the game. But within the team, who scored highest?
By the numbers, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson again proved himself the most popular politician in the state, leading the Republican ballot. Governor-elect Nathan Deal and Sam Olens, the next attorney general, who faced the two strongest Democratic opponents, brought up the rear.
The surprise on the Democratic side was Ken Hodges in the race for attorney general, who – boosted by a raft of Republican endorsements from fellow prosecutors and sheriffs — led the ticket.
In his last available disclosure, Hodges, a former Dougherty County district attorney, reported raising $1.5 million for his race. Democratic nominee for governor Roy Barnes, who earned 5,115 votes less, reported $8.7 million raised.
The worst statewide Democratic performance came from U.S. Senate candidate Michael Thurmond, who failed to break the million-vote mark.
And Libertarians proved once again that the further down the ballot you are, the more popular you become. Kira Griffith Willis, candidate for state school superintendent, led her party’s tickets.
As many others have noted, this was a ham-sandwich election. Party identity – rather than money raised or spent, or the name of the candidate — was the driving force in the returns.
Statewide Republican results: Total votes, percentage of field:
– U.S. Senate, Johnny Isakson: 1,487,011, 58.4%
– Secretary of state, Brian Kemp: 1,437,472, 56.5%
– Agriculture commissioner, Gary Black: 1,424,184, 56.1%
– Public Service Commission, District 2, Tim Echols: 1,404,060, 55.6%
– Lieutenant governor, Casey Cagle: 1,401,291, 54.7%
– Labor commissioner, Mark Butler: 1,396,403, 55.2%
– Insurance commissioner, Ralph Hudgens: 1,365,707, 53.8%
– School superintendent, John Barge: 1,363,784, 53.6%
– Governor, Nathan Deal: 1,363,284, 53.1%
– Attorney general, Sam Olens: 1,348,560, 53%
Statewide Democratic results: Total votes, percentage of field:
– Attorney general, Ken Hodges: 1,107,745, 43.5%
– Governor, Roy Barnes: 1,102,630, 42.9%
– Insurance commissioner, Mary Squires: 1,075,535 42.4%
– Lieutenant governor, Carol Porter: 1,070,432, 41.8%
– School superintendent, Joe Martin: 1,056,965, 41%
– Labor commissioner, Darryl Hicks: 1,038,684, 41.1%
– Public Service Commission, District 2, Keith Moffett: 1,025,521, 40.6%
– Agriculture commissioner, J.B. Powell: 1,023,080, 40.3%
– Secretary of state, Georganna Sinkfield: 1,002,318, 39.4%
– U.S. Senate, Michael Thurmond: 992,347, 38.9%
Libertarian results: Total votes, percentage of field:
– School superintendent, Kira Griffiths Willis: 124,959, 4.9%
– Secretary of state, David Chastain: 105,857, 4.2%
– Governor, John Monds: 102,901, 4%
–Insurance commissioner, Shane Bruce: 96,278, 3.8%
– Public Service Commission, District 2: Jim Sendelbach 94,708, 3.8%
– Labor commissioner, Will Costa: 93,077, 3.7%
– Agriculture commissioner, Kevin Cherry: 91,214, 3.6%
– Lieutenant governor, Dan Barber: 88,513, 3.5%
– Attorney general, Don Smart: 88,364, 3.5%
– U.S. Senate, Chuck Donovan: 68,574, 2.7%
My AJC colleague in Washington, Bob Keefe, has this assessment of what the Republican takeover of the U.S. House could mean to the state’s political clout:
— [Republican Rep. Tom Price of Roswell] is in line to become the Republican Policy Committee chairman, which could make him No. 5 on the GOP’s leadership roster and put him at the forefront of helping craft Republican legislative policies. One potential complicating factor: Some Republicans — including the current chair of the policy committee — want to abolish the committee and cut its $360,000 annual budget, saying it’s a waste of money. Current GOP leaders don’t back that idea, however. Price, currently chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, also is bucking for a position on the influential House Ways and Means Committee.
–Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Coweta County is running for regional representative on the Republican Steering Committee, the group that hands out committee assignments to other members. If he’s elected by his peers, Westmoreland could help put other Georgians on top congressional committees, which ultimately could help the state attract federal funding and give the state a bigger role in legislative matters.
– Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah, the longest-serving Georgia GOP member in the House, is expected to get an important subcommittee chairmanship in the House Appropriations Committee, the body that gives out federal funding. Kingston is expected to chair the agriculture subcommittee on Appropriations, a job that could help funnel federal money and other resources to the state’s agricultural interests.
– Democratic Reps. John Lewis of Atlanta and Hank Johnson of Lithonia will lose subcommittee chairmanships with the leadership change. Lewis currently chairs the influential Ways and Means subcommittee on oversight, which oversees tax issues. Lewis also is currently the Democrats’ senior chief deputy whip, making him part of the outgoing Democratic leadership in the House. Johnson currently is chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on courts and competition.
Don McClellan, who has spent more than 50 years over at Channel 2 Action News, has posted this balm for Roy Barnes on his personal blog. It’s a brief clip from an interview with Carl Sanders, several years after the former governor attempted his own comeback in 1970 – only to be beaten by Jimmy Carter: