Republicans directly involved in the Georgia runoff for two US Senate seats are increasingly concerned that the Democrats are outperforming their pace in early voting as compared to the 2020 general election.
The better-than-expected turnout in early voting by registered Democrats puts a new level of pressure on Republicans to turn out their base voters on the final day of voting, January 5.
Republicans always anticipated that much like in the general election, the bulk of their voters would vote in the traditional fashion — in person and on Election Day. The party did make a concerted effort to encourage their supporters to vote early or by mail-in — but they fully understood that President Donald Trump’s consistent attacks on mail in voting would make that a difficult sell. According to two different GOP operatives familiar with the Republican analysis of data being collected, Republicans need an impressive turnout on Tuesday, January 5 in order to overcome the Democratic turnout in the two weeks of early voting leading up to Election Day.
“We’ve always known we need a big Election Day,” said one of the operatives. “It is the same as the General (Election).”
Meanwhile, Democrats agree that their early turnout pace is encouraging. They point to long lines at early voting locations in places like Cobb County, a Democratic stronghold that delivered a 15-point win for Joe Biden as well as impressive turnout among diverse voter groups.
“We are pleased with the level of energy and excitement, especially given how often pundits were discounting the likelihood of Democrats performing in a runoff,” said former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who has played an active role in the Democratic campaigns.
However, Democrats remain concerned about the record-breaking financial investment by national Republicans and outside groups. While the Democratic Party put a special emphasis on mail-in and early voting, they also plan to deploy a massive ground game on Tuesday with the goal of keeping the margins ahead of the gap Republicans expect to close on the final day of voting.
“According to the current analysis we are running even or ahead of where we were in 2020 November election, but we know that this is just the beginning we still have to get to Election Day and I don’t count anything until it’s done,” Abrams said. “But we are incredibly enthusiastic not only about African American turnout, but we have seen increases among Latino and API voters.”
While Republicans understand that they will have some ground to make up on the final day of voting, they still believe it’s an achievable goal — the Republican National Committee has invested millions of dollars into a ground game, mimicking the one used during the general election. They are also hopeful Trump’s last-minute visit to the state Monday will help encourage his diehard supporters to take the time to vote on January 5.
“(Election Day) is hugely important,” said another Republican operative. “Democrats have banked a lot more of their high propensity voters early. We need our base to turn out on Election Day in a big way. The President’s visit on Monday will hopefully go a long way to getting our base out.”