When President Barack Obama leaves Atlanta this evening after three fundraising events, he’s likely taking hundreds of thousands of dollars with him. But winning Georgia’s votes in November might be a different story.
The Obama campaign has said it’s possible to flip Georgia – where Republican John McCain won 52 percent of the vote in 2008 with little effort – and capture the state’s 16 electoral votes.
Georgia State University political scientist Steve Anthony said it won’t be clear if Georgia really is in play until the fall, when the campaign will start spending heavily in its target areas.
“Only a few states, relatively speaking, are in play [and] up for grabs, and that’s where most of the money and attention and appearances will take place,” Anthony said. “Right now, Georgia is a Republican state.”
Anthony said Obama couldn’t tap into all the potential money in Georgia if he conceded the state. And despite low turnout in the Republican primaries so far, Anthony expects Georgia to remain a red state, no matter who is the Republican nominee.
“If [Mitt] Romney is the nominee, there may not be voter enthusiasm from the [Rick] Santorum crowd, but you know, until I see it, I won’t believe it,” Anthony said. “The Republicans have a remarkable ability to come together in the fall and go capture elections.”
Movie producer and actor Tyler Perry is hosting two of the Atlanta fundraisers Friday, including a $36,000-a-plate dinner.
The president’s Georgia visit caps a day of campaign events, including two in his hometown of Chicago.