Jason Carter received a shot of good news last week, when the Sabato Crystal Ball web site upgraded the Democratic gubernatorial candidate’s chances of making a runoff against GOP incumbent Nathan Deal.

In an Oct. 23 report, writers Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley shifted their rating of the Carter-Deal race from “leans Republican” to “toss-up/leans runoff.” The web site is produced by Larry J. Sabato’s Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

The site issued the same upgrade Oct. 16 for the U.S. Senate race between Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue.

“The race for governor in the Peach State appears to be on a similar trajectory” as the Senate race, Kondik and Skelley wrote. They said that Libertarian Andrew Hunt “may well win enough of the vote” to force the governor’s race into a runoff.

The web site found that in both the Senate and governor’s races “it’s easier to see the Republican winning the runoff that the Democrat.”

Kondik and Skelley also noted Georgia’s “bizarre scheduling” of runoffs. The governor’s runoff would be held Dec. 2, while the Senate second round would not arrive until Jan. 6, thanks to a federal court ruling.

The Crystal Ball in its Oct. 23 report also cited Georgia sources who surmised that Nunn might now have a better chance than Perdue of winning outright on election day.

A total of 36 states are holding governor’s elections this year. Including the shift in the Deal-Carter race, the Crystal Ball rates seven of those as tossups.

Noting that the GOP now holds 29 of 50 governorships, the Sabato site gives a range of projections from a GOP gain of one seat to a Democratic gain of two. 

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