After the 2020 Senate cycle dramatically ended with the Georgia runoffs earlier this year, the attention of the political world will be going back to the Peach State this year, with the Governorship up for grabs. Between the general election on November 8, 2022 and the Republican Primary on May 24, 2022, there is plenty of money to be made in a potential Brian Kemp – Stacey Abrams odds rematch at PredictIt”>PredictIt present value.
Georgia Republican Gubernatorial Primary Odds
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Georgia Republican Primary Analysis
Incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp is facing a spirited primary challenge this year from ex-Democrat turned Trump supporter Vernon Jones. Jones, one of the more prominent Black Republicans, has the support of a few prominent names in Trump world, namely former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and is challenging Kemp from the right. The leading complaint of those pushing against Kemp is his failure to do anything once Joe Biden was found to have won Georgia in the Presidential election, failing to succumb to pressure from the former President to in some way flip the state for the President.
Kemp has been seen to be shoring up his right flank in recent months, partially by signing the controversial set of changes to the conduct of Georgia’s election laws in the wake of 2020 and partially by refusing to allow himself to be painted into any form of moderate corner, leaning on the conservative credentials that won him the 2018 primary. Can it work?
Kemp, at 61 cents, almost assuredly will win his primary again.
While Jones has the support of much of Trump world, he does not have the ever important Trump endorsement as of now, and even if he were to get it, sitting Governors generally just don’t lose primaries. Yes, history has a limited utility in some senses, but if the question is whether Kemp would lose, his incumbent status matters quite a bit. The Republican Governors Association would go all in on Kemp if he were to be in a serious amount of trouble come election day, and between that and the fact that Kemp, as an incumbent, would still have a fundraising edge over Jones with Republicans, Kemp has to be considered a large favorite.
Throw in the fact that Kemp’s incumbency enables him to set the agenda between now and election day – meaning that if he were to be in some amount of trouble, he could use his office to make decisions to reverse his lack of popularity – and Kemp at 61 cents to win the primary is a very attractive price.
Georgia Governor General Election Odds
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Georgia Governor General Election Analysis
Now, while Kemp is overwhelmingly likely to make it to the next general election as the Republican candidate, how likely is he to win that General Election against Stacey Abrams, who has not announced her candidacy yet but is still widely expected to run? That’s a more open question.
The case for why Kemp would win re-election, and maybe even do so easily, is pretty easy to make. In 2020, David Perdue won more votes on November 3rd than Jon Ossoff, and it was only the nature of the runoffs that meant the state tipped to Democrats. The argument is backed up by the idea that 2018 was a blue wave, but that wasn’t enough to flip Georgia when Abrams ran the first time. Plus, Donald Trump was a specific problem in the Atlanta metro, and without him causing chaos, the state should return to its old partisan leanings and elect a Republican.
The other argument is a little more friendly to Democrats, but still believes Kemp and the GOP will win again. It accepts that the state is trending towards Democrats, but the notion that a 2022 Biden midterm will be a favorable year to the GOP suggests it will bring Georgia with it. The problem is those arguments come more from hope than facts.
Georgia is sprinting towards Democrats, and the reasons why are simple – just under 70% of the state lives in the greater Atlanta metro (as defined by the Atlanta media market). Democrats are doing much better in the white parts of the metro, like they are across the US. Educated whites with degrees used to vote for the GOP overwhelmingly, and that was why even in 2018, Kemp was able to win. Now, those voters are sprinting towards Democrats, and even formerly white-only counties like Forsyth are seeing their huge Republican margins of victory quickly decline.
For Republicans to win now, they need huge turnout in the rural areas, or to reverse a decade of losses in the suburbs, and there is no argument that Kemp can do either of those things. Republicans lost in the runoffs because they didn’t get their turnout high enough without Trump on the ballot, and they didn’t get the suburban results they needed because they had gone so far to the right that there was no way for the suburbs to trust them in a general election.
Final Thoughts On Georgia Governor Odds
The things Kemp has done to shore up his position against Vernon Jones – signing restrictions on access to the ballot box, namely – mean that he will not be able to credibly pivot back to the center once he wins that primary.
Throw in all the work Stacey Abrams has done to register and turn out voters in the Senate runoffs, and the fact that Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock will do everything in their powers to get her elected, as she did for them, and Democrats are clearly the favorites in this race. And, that’s a favorite status at a 46-cent underdog price, making it even more attractive.
Kemp is a very good bet in that Republican primary, but the factors that make him a good bet to win his primary make Democrats a great bet in the general election. And if, somehow, Vernon Jones managed to win the primary, Democrats would be overwhelming favorites to win in Georgia.
Georgia provided bettors a lot of value in 2020, with Democrats winning the Presidency and both Senate seats as underdogs for the vast majority of the cycle. Now, there’s value again in the Peach State that bettors would likely do well to enter at this juncture on PredictIt.