It turns out the higher-ups in the Georgia Democratic Party were worried too much about Matt Lieberman.
The son of long-time U.S. senator and one-time vice-presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, Matt entered the jungle primary with a good bit of fanfare. His name alone did that for him, of course.
As the campaign progressed, Matt was encouraged (actually demanded) to end his quest. It seems the state party insiders wanted a clear path for Raphael Warnock who was their preferred candidate.
In the end Matt had little impact on the race polling just 2.77%. He didn’t even finish second among Democrats as that honor went to former Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson, who polled a surprising and respectable 6.58% (more than 320,000 votes.) She did so with very little media coverage.
The poor impact Matt Lieberman had in the race is somewhat surprising. His name along should have given him more traction. It should be noted that once the COVID-19 health crisis arrived, it didn’t seem Lieberman did much campaigning.
I don’t recall seeing one television advertisement for him or hearing one radio spot. I also did not see the first Lieberman for Senate yard sign.
Warnock finished first overall among the 20 candidates on the ballot but his 32.89% total actually forecasts trouble in the runoff when he faces non-elected incumbent Kelly Loeffler. Republicans in Georgia typically have the edge in runoffs.
It will be a major chore for Warnock to win in January. In fact, his best chance for victory was to win the jungle primary outright.
And after the outcome of the presidential election (both in Georgia and national), sentiment in the state could become so anti-Democrat that it would not be surprising to see Loeffler win by a 60-40 margin or more.
As for third-place finisher Doug Collins, the long-time northeast Georgia politician is running out of time in office. He bypassed running for reelection in Congress and has now lost in his quest for the Senate.
Some reports indicated Collins’ tasteless comments on the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg hurt him, even in a conservative-leaning state like Georgia,
The statewide media focused most of its attention in the race on Warnock, Loeffler and Collins with a little attention going to Lieberman and Ed Tarver. The other 15 candidates were given very little media exposure and many let it be known during an Atlanta Press Club forum they were not happy with the unequal treatment.
For the record, Jackson was actually fourth overall in the race followed by Lieberman and Democrat Tamara Johnson-Shealey. Tarver actually was last among the Democrats in the race as he earned less votes than Jamesia James, Joy Felecia Slade and Richard Winfield.
Among the other Republicans in the race, Derrick Grayson was third with just over 1% of the vote followed by Kandiss Taylor with a little under 1%. Taylor deserves recognition as probably the only candidate to visit all 159 counties during her grass-roots campaign.
Libertarian Brian Slowinski received 0.72% of the vote and Green Party candidate John Fortuin polled 0.31%.
Among the independent candidates, Allen Buckley received the most votes with 0.31% of the total.
In the other Senate race, Democrat John Ossoff appears to have made it into a runoff against Republican incumbent David Perdue. Similar to Warnock, Ossoff faces a major obstacle in winning the runoff.
As of this writing it appears there will also be a runoff in the Public Service Commission District 4 race between Republican Lauren “Bubba” McDonald and Democrat Daniel Blackman.
In the Public Service Commission District 1 race, Republican incumbent Jason Shaw appears to have just enough to avoid a runoff. Shaw was at 50.16% although it is possible if he could dip below the magic 50 percent number. A recount is on tap due to the closeness in the vote count.
I’ll comment more on the presidential election next week.