ATLANTA -- Democrats are hoping their party’s win in Alabama Tuesday night could skip across state lines into Georgia. Every statewide elected official is a Republican in Georgia – and all those offices except US Senate will be on the ballot next year.
Even before Alabama Democrat Doug Jones won a US Senate seat Tuesday, Georgia Democrats have had their eyes on seats they can flip in 2018. Foremost among them is the congressional seat now occupied by four-term Republican congressman Rob Woodall. Donald Trump barely won Woodall’s district last year. When Woodall is on the ballot next year, Democrat Ethan Pham thinks he can flip it.
Pham is among a parade of Democrats vying in the May primary to run against Woodall in the November 2018 election.
"People are fed up with the politics of division. People want leaders who respect women and value our common decency," Pham said.
Another Democratic hopeful, Steve Reilly, told us Woodall is a "Trump enabler" by supporting the president's legislation on tax reform and health care.
Most of Georgia’s congressional map is red – and held firmly by Republicans. But Democrats will try to compete in at least two red districts -- against Woodall in the 7th district, and against Karen Handel in the 6th. Handel was the winner earlier this year in a high-profile special election against Democrat Jon Ossoff. Ossoff has not said whether he’ll run again.
"As a Republican consultant what concerns me is the energy I’m seeing amongst the Democratic base," said Brian Robinson, a Republican consultant. Robinson says President Trump could present challenges for Georgia Republicans running next year – for Congress and in races like Governor -- because midterm elections tend to favor the political party out of power.
Yet Robinson says Republicans will still be the favorites to win in 2018. "It's just going to be harder because its not going to be given to you by a large Republican majority in the district (anymore). You’ve got to go work for it in some of these areas now," he said.
Robinson added that Republicans need to avoid nominating extremists in order to keep Democrats at bay in 2018.