Observers say turnout will be especially key among African-Americans, who turned out in record numbers two years ago across the country to elect President Barack Obama. Obama's absence on the ballot, combined with an overall lack of interest in the midterm vote, will likely mean waning black support this year for Democratic candidates.
"The issue is not whether the African-American vote is some kind of record," said David Bositis of the Washington-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. "What you're really talking about is black voters turning out at a level comparable to whites."
The state is generally conservative and easily went for John McCain in 2008, making black votes especially crucial.
In Georgia, the top of the Democratic ticket is meant to get the attention of black voters. Senate candidate Mike Thurmond - currently the state's labor commissioner and the only African-American not previously appointed who has won election statewide in Georgia - is also expected to appeal to blacks in November. He is running against Republican U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson.
"My guess is the reason Mike Thurmond did not seek re-election and instead is matched up against the most popular politician in the state is there is a hope on the part of Democrats that by having him on the top of the ticket it might energize black voters," said University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock. "It doesn't look like it's having that kind of impact."
Bositis said that though his odds for victory are slim, Thurmond's statewide appeal could be an asset to former Gov. Roy Barnes and other Democrats.