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October 13th   , 2022          Political Note #513 Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky elections

2022                          General Election

This is the South.  Except for Georgia which is some kind of mixture of the South and an industrial state. Except for Tennessee and Kentucky which are border states.  South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi really are the South. Together, these states. Altogether, these states, which have a total population about half way between Texas and California, have 12 Senators to Texas’s 2.  Here is a question.  Is Georgia a precursor for what will become of the American South or an outlier? Kentucky and Mississippi have state elections in odd numbered years, so they show up here only where they have US Senate elections.


Georgia — Governor

Stacey Abrams (Political Note #432) is an American phenomenon, a renaissance woman.  But will she be Georgia’s governor?Her story doesn’t begin in Georgia, but the Governor’s mansion in Georgia is where it begins to resonate.  High School valedictorians were invited to the mansion.  Stacey Abrams was among them. Her father brought her to the event and a guard would not let them in.  She remembers nothing of the event, only how hard her father had to work to explain and to persuade so she could join the other valedictorians.  He had moved the family from Mississippi to Georgia.  Her parents were studying at Emory to become pastors and they had expected better from Georgia than Mississippi.

Stacey Abrams went to Spelman, the extraordinary HBCU for women.  She graduated magna, won a Truman, and went to Yale to study law. Along the way, she got an MPA from Texas.  Instead of choosing a very high salary from among the biggest law firms, she went back to Georgia where she became a Deputy City Attorney. Four years later, in 2006, she was elected to the Georgia Assembly.  Four more years, she became Minority Leader.

When she rested from her effort to get into the Governor’s Mansion, she wrote novels under the name of Selena Montgomery.  She did not rest much.  She ran for Governor in 2018 and, notwithstanding the explaining and persuading she did, lost by a point.  Can she get into the Governor’s Mansion in 2022?  She has been writing more books – from inspirational politics to mysteries.  She has created a movement – Fair Fight, intended to protect the right to vote.  And she has made herself into a national figure.

She will have to win in Georgia, though.  She will have to defeat the incumbent. Brian Kemp.  Politicians love to describe themselves as small businessmen.  When he ran for governor, that’s what the local newspapers called him.  Wikipedia describes him as owning several agribusinesses, financial services, and real estate companies.  His financial statement for 2009 shows him owning more than 20 entities and has connections with 20 more.

He tended to public matters, though.  He was elected to the state senate and  appointed to the position of Secretary of State, a position he remained in as he ran for governor.  Stacey Abrams , accusing him of complicity in voter suppression, refused to concede the election.  As governor, he dealt with Covid by rejecting mask mandates and requirements that people stay home.  He was unwilling, however, to buy into Donald Trump’s Big Lie about the election and certified Georgia’s results in favor of Joe Biden.  He also signed Georgia’s new law regarding voting, which many see a voter suppression.  My view is that any law that creates the possibility of voters waiting for hours on line to vote while prohibiting those waiting from being given sustenance is voter suppression.

Help Stacey Abrams overcome voter suppression and win this election.  Donate to her campaign or to Fair Fight or both.

  • On October 7th , 538 projected that Abrams would win 14 times in 100 and found that she was behind  2 – 52.3
  • Recent Polls can help
    • A media funded B rated poll reported on October 4th that Abrams was behind 45-50
    • A media funded A rated poll reported on October 4th that Abrams was behind 45-47
    • A media funded A rated poll reported on September 26th that Abrams was behind 43-50
    • An independently funded B rated poll reported on September 20th that Abrams was behind 44-51
    • A media funded B+ rated poll reported on September 19th that Abrams was behind 46-52
    • A Democratic funded B/C rated poll reported on September 18th that Abrams was behind 47-50
  • Georgia Public Broadcasting reported that through June 30, Abrams had raised $49 million; that through September 30 Kemp had raised nearly $60 million.


South Carolina — Governor

Joe Cunningham

As a freshman congressman, guards would not let Joe Cunningham (Political Note #199) onto the floor of congress.  The guards had a reason.  He was carrying a six pack of various South Carolina local brews to give to the Chairman of Congress’s beer caucus.  Joe Cunningham got the beer to the caucus chair via a different route and he got onto the floor of Congress.

Even in South Carolina’s district most welcoming to Democrats, it was a surprise that Joe Cunningham won his 2018 race in SC 01.  He lost in 2020.  He won in 2018 integrating his legal experience and his ocean engineering background into opposition to offshore drilling – a very appealing position in that coastal Carolina district.

The dynamics of a gubernatorial race are different from the dynamics of a race to represent people in the national legislature.  If they think about it at all, constituents should consider how someone will govern and how that government will affect their lives.  Joe Cunningham is not a “take your medicine governor.”  Here is what he had to say:  “Joe believes South Carolinians deserve more freedoms.  That’s why he wants to eliminate the state income tax, legalize marijuana and sports betting, and then use that money to give our teachers a raise and finally fix our roads.”

He says, about the incumbent who is his opponent, “if Henry McMaster was a coach in the SEC, he would have been fired a long time ago.” After Henry McMaster graduated from the University of South Carolina Law School, he worked as a legislative assistant for US Senator Strom Thurmond.  (If you don’t know who he is, look him up.  He could do a pretty good job as the definition of a racist senator). Ronald Reagan named McMaster a US Attorney.

McMaster did not get fired often, but frequently he did not get the job he wanted.  In 1986, he lost a race for the US Senate to the Democratic incumbent.  In 1990, he lost a race for Lt. Governor to a Democrat.  In 2010, he lost a race for Governor in the primary.  He did get elected attorney general in 2002, Lt. Governor in 2014, and Governor in 2016.  Do what you can to help Joe Cunningham get elected governor and help Henry McMaster lose another state-wide race.  One more thing.  Take a look at Joe Cunningham’s campaign website.

  • On October 9th , 538 projected that Cunningham would win 2 times in 100 and found that he was behind  5 – 56.6
  • Recent Polls can help
    • A media funded B/C rated poll reported on September 7th that Cunningham was behind 44-50
    • A Democratic funded B/C rated poll reported on August 30th that Cunningham was behind 42-49
    • A Republican funded A- rated poll reported on August 28th that Cunningham was behind 43-51
    • An anonymously funded unrated poll reported on August 25th that Cunningham was behind 39-50
  • The Post and Courier reported on October 8 that Cunningham had raised $1 million for his campaign and McMaster had raised $3.5 million

Alabama — Governor

Yolanda Flowers, teacher

Democrats for Life withdrew their support for Yolanda Flowers.  It is not clear why they did that. In this state where 52% of the electorate believes that abortion should be illegal, Yolanda Flowers position, according to, when she sought and got their endorsement, is that “abortions should be legal for safety reasons”. says she told them “she would like to see counseling for patients considering pregnancy termination.”

Dr. Harriet Bradley of Democrats for Life expressed disappointment [with her organization? With Flowers?]  saying “In a year where Republicans are heavily favored, a moderate position of meaningful safe, legal, and rare position with expanded support for pregnant women would have gained traction with the Alabama electorate.”  Maybe Yolanda Flowers can get some traction with the Alabama electorate without the support of Democrats for Life.=

If Yolanda Flowers were elected, she would be the first Black woman governor of Alabama.  Born in Birmingham and successful in school, she dropped out of her initial attempt at college to marry.  Later, she earned an associate’s degree in speech from a community college, a BA in audiology and an MS in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.  With those degrees in hand, she worked for 20 years in public schools and in Tennessee’s Division of Rehabilitation Services. If she were to be elected, she would work to improve Alabama’s public schools and create a new, comprehensive system for health care in this state which ranks high for a variety of health risks.  She also has thoughts about Alabama’s criminal justice system and its economics.

She is running against Alabama’s incumbent governor Kay Ivey.  A former school teacher in California, Ivey returned to Alabama after one of her two divorces and got a job with a bank promoting financial literacy in schools.  She has run successfully for state treasurer and lt. governor and became governor after her predecessor resigned in a scandal. She has taken anti-gay and anti-trans positions, supported school officials having guns at school and anyone to carry a concealed weapon, expressed a “steadfast commitment” to preserving the lives of the unborn, and sought to set a job training requirement for Medicaid benefits. 538 projects that Yolanda Flowers has less than a 1% chance to be elected and would lose an election 32.7-64.

Tennessee — Governor

Jason Martin grew up poor enough in Southern Alabama so that he was eligible for financial aid from Tulane and still needed student loans, which he is still paying off.  He went to medical school at the University of Southern Alabama and did his residency at Vanderbilt.  He and his wife are both physicians.  He is now at Meharry Medical College and Nashville General Hospital and was spurred to find ways to support medical care in rural Tennessee when 12 rural hospitals closed.  He criticizes his opponent Governor Bill Lee for failing to work toward making the people of Tennessee healthy.  Life and death decisions are made based on whether or not people can afford health care, a problem that could be eased if Tennessee, which is already paying for Medicaid, chose to support Medicaid expansion.  He criticized Lee’s leadership in dealing with Covid and says it is shameful that 24,000 people died from that disease. He argues for women having full control of their reproductive rights and to get the assistance with health care and child care that reflects a regard for the lives of children and parents.

Can he win his case against Governor Bill Lee, who is a representative of the corporate wing of the Republican Party – the CEO of the Lee Company, a construction and home services business, from 1992 to 2016. Lee’s positions are a contrast to Doc Martin’s.  He proposed and signed into law anti-abortion legislation, opposes extension of Medicaid (though did offer all state employees three months of paid parental leave or care giving leave).  He supported outreach to China for trade, charter schools, a school tuition voucher program that was declared unconstitutional.  538 would say Doc Martin does not have much of a chance.  To be precise, that would be less than a 1% chance of being elected.  They find Martin is behind 30.7 to 57.6.

US Senate

There is one competitive Senate race here; Georgia where the incumbent is a Democrat.  Is Georgia a precursor for the South or an outlier?  There are two races that I will not comment on.  The Democratic candidate for US Senate in South Carolina was tricked by Project Veritas and fell for it.  The Democratic candidate for the US Senate in Alabama, Will Boyd, is overmatched.  Doug Jones is not coming back, but stronger candidates will run in Alabama.


Inc Raphael Warnock (Political Note #379) is a member of a powerful tradition.  He is not only a Black preacher; his pulpit was Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church – the home of Martin Luther King, Sr and, for a time, jointly with his father, Martin Luther King, Jr.  Born in Savanna to parents who were Pentecostal preachers, he graduated from Morehouse inn Atlanta and got Master’s Degrees and a PhD from Union Theological Seminary in New York.  If someone were to write a story about an up from the bootstraps Black man succeeding through education, the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock would be the man to write about.

Life’s not perfect.  He is divorced from his wife and the divorce was not amicable.  Nevertheless, there is no better advocate for progressive positions from favoring women’s right to make decisions about their body to opposition to capital punishment to opposition to open carry gun laws to support for LGBT rights.  He won election in the 2020 run off 51-49 against Kelly Loeffler who had been appointed to complete a six year term.  This time he is running against Trump pick, former University of Georgia and NFL running back Herschel Walker whose business failures and sex scandals would have destroyed a candidacy in a world where party affiliation and views on cultural issues were less important.

  • On October 8th , 538 projected that Warnock would win 59 times in 100 and found that he was ahead  2 – 48.2
  • Recent Polls can help
    • A media funded B rated poll reported on October 4th that Warnock was ahead 47-44
    • A media funded A rated poll reported on October 4th that Warnock was ahead 50-38
    • A media funded A rated poll reported on September 28th that Warnock was ahead 46-41
    • An anonymously funded B rated poll reported on September 20th that Warnock and Walker were tied at 46
    • A media funded B+ rated poll reported on September 19th that Warnock was ahead 51-49
    • A media funded B/C rated poll reported on September 18th that Warnock was behind 44-46
  • Open Secrets reports that Raphael Warnock had $22 million available at the beginning of July; that Herschel Walker had $6.8 million at the beginning of September.




Charles Booker

This is Charles Booker’s second run for the US Senate.  He ran and lost in the primary to Amy McGrath in 2020.  Amy McGrath was amazing at raising money.  By the time she lost to Mitch McConnell, she had raised $90 million to McConnell’s $60 million.  Despite her money, Charles Booker came within a few points of upsetting her in the primary.  In 2022, he had no Democratic opposition.

Charles Booker was briefly a state rep.  He worked in state government.  He was convinced that he would do better.  He founded a movement – Hood to the Holler –  to speak on behalf of Kentucky’s poor, white and black.  He has raised $4.5 million for his campaign, taken care that he had funds remaining at the beginning of the summer to compete, and is running against Rand Paul, one of the least likable candidates in the US Senate.  Has he gained any traction?  Rand Paul has raised a lot more money — $22 million.  538 says Paul has less than one chance in a 100 to win the election and sees Booker as behind 39.1 – 60.9.  The race hasn’t been polled since January, 2022.  Nevertheless, Charles Booker is so appealing, a donation that helps make him competitive is worth considering.

US Congress

I cannot suggest investing in any Congressional candidates from these states.  No Congressional races are close enough to invest in.  To be certain, I looked at the eight districts from these six states that had lean ratings of 20 points or fewer at the beginning of the campaign.  I looked at 538’s probability ratings for these eight districts.  538 rated six of these districts as having a 99% or greater probability of the favorite winning.  Two cases had lower probabilities. Republican Andy Ogles had a 98% probability of winning in TN 05.  Democrat Richard Bishop had a 95% probability of winning in GA 02.


Down Ballot


Attorney General

Jen Jordan’s uncle Hamilton was President Jimmy Carter’s Chief of staff.  Her family, the Auder Jordans, were a less prosperous branch. Jen Jordan (Political Note #441) was born at Camp LeJeune where her dad was a Marine.  After the divorce, her mom worked as a hairdresser. Undergraduate and law school were funded by Georgia HOPE scholarships, Pell grants, and part time jobs.   Jen Jordan recalls her south Georgia accent was so strong (or she was so conscious of it) that it was an object of teasing at the University of Georgia.  She identified with being from south Georgia as if it were an ethnicity.   She made the most of that “ethnicity” and told stories about the Dixie Georgia mafia.  She earned some notice for winning cases against payday lenders while working for former Democratic governor Roy Barnes’ law firm.  She moved Atlanta based on her reputation as a skilled jury selector, An active law school alumna, she raised money for the school,  made a lot of connections and honed that money raising skill – all good for a political career.  She was elected to the State Senate.  While in the Senate, still practicing law, she filed a law suit against the state EPA for not doing its job.  Then she filed for Attorney General.  She is running against the incumbent Chris Carr, a former staffer of Senator Johnny Isakson, he sued to prevent the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but not to void the 2020 election (Georgia was, after all, a kind of defendant).  Energy and turnout is an issue here.  How much will overturning Roe energize Democratic voters? Especially for a woman Attorney General.

  • A poll in early October showed Jen Jordan trailing Chris Carr 40-36, which leaves a lot of undecided votes.
  • At the beginning of July Jen Jordan had $750,000 available for the balance of the campaign, Chris Carr had $580,000.

 Secretary of State 

Bee Nguyen

She was one of the boat people.  Bee Nguyen’s (Political Note #409) family (three brothers and their families) escaped Vietnam in 1975 after all Americans were supposed to have left the country. Rescued at sea by Thai fisherman, they were brought to a camp in Thailand.

Those were the days when Republicans and Democrats thought it patriotic to settle refugees from an American war. The Republican governor of Iowa, Robert Ray, asked President Carter to double the number of refugees sent to his state if the country admitted additional refugees. The Nguyens’ resettlement in Iowa, where her uncle who had worked at the US embassy was living, was made possible because Jimmy Carter admitted additional refugees and Robert Ray wanted them. Bee Nguyen’s dad, who had been a pharmacist, got an engineering degree while in Iowa and a job in Georgia, where he brought the family.  Bee Nguyen went to Georgia State University, became a communications specialist for a non-profit connected with Georgia State, managed Sam Park’s campaign for the state House of Representatives, and ran herself to replace Stacey Abrams in the House.  She has a tough task – running against incumbent Brad Raffensperger.  He combines a history of voter suppression (purging the voter rolls, insisting on printing ballots only in English) with a courageous stand against Donald Trump’s effort to “find” the votes needed to put Georgia in the Republican side for the 2020 election.

  • On October 5, Channel 11 reported that a recent poll found Nguyen behind Raffensperger 36-39.
  • A July 11 report found that both Nguyen and Raffensperger had raised about $2 million for the campaign.

South Carolina

Attorney General —Democrats have not fielded a candidate against Incumbent Alan Wilson

Secretary of State

Rosemounda “Peggy” Butler

Peggy Butler is a nurse, a former 2nd Lt. in the South Carolina national guard who was activated during Desert Storm, and an advocate for the disabled.  She served on the West Columbia City Council and as Mayor of West Columbia. She emphasizes the business responsibility of the Secretary of State in her campaign statements.  She is running against incumbent Mark Hammond. He is a former probation officer and criminal investigator who was first elected Secretary of State in 2002.


Attorney General

Wendell Major is the Chief of Police for Tarrant, Alabama.  He had served for 35 years as a Deputy Sheriff in the Jefferson County (Birmingham area) police. A graduate of the University of Alabama Birmingham, he earned a law degree from the Birmingham School of Law in 2006.  He promises to focus, as Attorney General, on public corruption, protecting women’s rights, and the mental health and opioid crisis.  He is running against the incumbent Steve Marshall appointed in 2017 to replace Luther Strange who served briefly as US Senator.  Marshall was elected in 2018.  He filed suit against the City of Birmingham for covering up a civil war memorial and the City of Mobile for removing one, joined in a law suit to require President Trump to end the Obama executive order protecting so-called DREAMers, refused to recognize Joe Biden as the elected President, and declined to throw out the conviction of a death row inmate widely understood to have been convicted with little or no evidence.  A donation to Wendell Major would be a contribution to justice.


Secretary of State


Pamela Lafitte had two careers – as a correction officer while working in the Mobile County Sheriff’s office and in the Air Force reserves.  In both roles, she rose progressively through the ranks and earned local and state-wide regard.  She expresses appreciation for the great strides taken in the Secretary of State’s office to professionalize oversight of the voting process.  She would build on those successes by introducing automatic voter registration, early voting, curbside voting for the elderly and handicapped, and no excuse absentee voting. She is running against State Rep Wes Allen and former probate judge.  He describes himself as having been a Christian conservative probate judge.  He promises that as Secretary of State, he would keep voting secure by avoiding what he calls the chaos and confusion that results from mail in ballots and no excuse absentee voting. He promises that only “those US citizens legally able to vote [would be allowed to] cast ballots in our elections.”  He makes no reference to the improvements of the past few years that are a product of the work of the outgoing Secretary of State.


If you had $500 to donate to candidates from these states, here is one way to distribute the funds

Begin with Georgia.  Try to solidify Georgia as a purple state

Stacey Abrams       Governor                  $150

Raphael Warnock  US Senator              $150

Jen Jordan               Attorney General   $  50

Bee Nguyen             Secretary of State  $  50

Try South Carolina where there is a slim chance

Joe Cunningham   Governor                  $  50

Try to catch them sleeping in Alabama

Wendell Major         Attorney General   $  50





























GA-AGSurveyUSA for 11Alive News: Chris Carr (R-inc): 40, Jen Jordan (D): 36

GA-SoSSurveyUSA for 11Alive News: Brad Raffensperger (R-inc): 39, Bee Nguyen (D): 36


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