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Georgia GOP U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall won’t seek re-election in 2020

Decision will give Democrats a prime pickup opportunity in the Atlanta suburbs

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

ATLANTA (CFP) — After nearly losing his seat to a Democratic challenger in 2018, U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall has announced that he will forgo an expected rematch and instead retire from the House in 2020 after four terms.

Woodall is the first Southern congressman to forgo a re-election bid in 2020, opening the 7th District seat in Atlanta’s northwestern suburbs, a once a solidly Republican area that has shifted Democratic.

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Georgia

The congressman announced the decision in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, citing family concerns, including the recent death of his father, for his decision.

“Doing what you love requires things of you, and having had that family transition made me start to think about those things that I have invested less in because I’ve been investing more here,” he said.

He said he wanted to announce his retirement early in the 2020 cycle to “give the next team time to prepare.”

After Woodall’s retirement, Democrat Carolyn Bordeaux — who lost to him by just 433 votes after a recount in what turned out to be the closest House race of 2018 — announced that she will seek the 7th District seat again in 2020, a contest that will be a the top of both party’s target lists.

Bordeaux, a professor at Georgia State University, has scheduled her formal announcement for February 12.

While Bordeaux will be a prohibitive favorite on the Democratic side, the race is likely to draw a large field of Republican candidates, from among both state legislators and local officials.

The 7th District is centered in Gwinnett County, which has been trending less Republican as its growing population has become more racially and ethnically diverse. It also includes parts of Forsyth County, which remains solidly Republican.

Overall, the district is now majority non-white, with large and growing African American, Asian and Latino communities.

Woodall, 48, served as an aide to the district’s former representative, U.S. Rep. John Linder, before being elected to the seat in 2010 when Linder retired.

He won re-election by relatively safe margins before running into Bordeaux and a Democratic suburban wave in 2018 that nearly took him down.

In the neighboring 6th District, Republican incumbent Karen Handel lost to Democrat Lucy McBath, a seat the GOP will try to reclaim in 2020.

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News polls show Clinton, Trump in dead heat in Georgia

Three public polls show Clinton now within the margin of error

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

georgia mugATLANTA (CFP) — Three new public polls show that Hillary Clinton may be poised to do something no Democrat has done in 24 years — carry Georgia in a presidential race.

The latest poll results come as Priorities USA, a Clinton-allied Super PAC, announced that it would begin airing TV and radio ads in the Peach State  — the first sign that the Clinton campaign may make a play for the state’s 16 electoral votes.

All three polls showed Clinton within the margin of error in her contest against Donald Trump, in a state Mitt Romney won by 8 points in 2012.

The poll results included:

  • Landmark Communications: Trump, 47 percent, and Clinton, 43 percent,  within the margin of error plus or minus 4 points.
  • Fox5/Opinion Savvy: Trump,  50 percent, and Clinton, 46 percent, within the margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 points.
  • Atlanta Journal Constitution: Trump, 44 percent, and Clinton, 42 percent, within the margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 points.

white-house-chaseIn addition to those polls, a Washington Post/Survey Monkey survey of online respondents gave Clinton a 3-point lead, 45 percent to Trump’s 42 percent. However, that survey did not use a random sample and, therefore, its margin of error cannot be calculated.

The last time a Democratic presidential candidate carried Georgia was when Clinton’s husband, Bill, won in 1992. However, with independent Ross Perot in the race that year, Bill Clinton won with only 43 percent of the vote.

In the past 50 years, a Democrat has carried Georgia with a majority only twice, in 1976 and 1980 when Georgian Jimmy Carter was the nominee. During the same period, Republicans have pulled off that feat seven times, including the last four elections in a row.

In addition to Georgia, three other Southern states are also in play this year — Virginia, Florida and North Carolina. These four states are the largest in the South outside of Texas, with a combined 73 electoral votes, about a quarter of what is needed to capture the presidency.

The latest state polls show Clinton with a strong lead in Virginia and smaller margins in North Carolina and Florida.

No Democrat has captured all four of these states since Harry Truman back in 1948.

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