The top eight posts across the state all went to Republicans with an average of 6.3%, with Governor Shotgun leading with a 7.6% beating from Stacey Abrams. The average loss to the Democrats would have been greater had Warnock not been included in my calculations. He came out ahead of GOP candidate Herschel Walker but failed to cross the 50% line, so they will have to dress up and do it again in a ballot.
This year’s race is coming out of the 2020 welfare elections and the encouraging mid-term elections of 2018 in which Democrats across the state lost 3.5% on average. In that race, Abrams led the ticket with a 1.4% loss to Brian Kemp. He was so close he didn’t admit, fought Georgia’s electoral process in court, and started organizing to get Democrats to the polls, including people who didn’t normally vote.
2018 gave Democrats hope that voter turnout and demographic change would turn the tide. Hopefully, a growing minority population and more young people moving to Metro Atlanta will win the race.
That hope of a demographic change that would save the Democrats had been around for a minute. In 2014, the Democrats were thrilled. Jason Carter, a state senator with a famous grandfather, was running for the position of governor. And Michelle Nunn, daughter of US Senator Sam Nunn, was running for the Senate.
On election night that year I went to Manuel’s Tavern, the well-known Democrat club, to observe that enthusiasm. Instead, it was like going to an Athens bar and watching the Crimson Tide crush the Dawgs. Carter and Nunn each lost nearly eight points. And the 2014 Democratic ticket was worse, with an average loss of 12.5 points. It turns out Georgia wasn’t ready for a change.
Not much has changed since 2014, aside from the extra $ 70 million in campaign money and the severity of the loss. No Democrat, aside from Ossoff and Warnock, who got the brunt of Trump Craziness, has won a statewide victory since 2006 when incumbent Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond and two other negative ballot candidates were re-elected.
Thurmond, now CEO of blue DeKalb County, was being considered a possibility for the governor candidate if Abrams didn’t run this time. Given the results, I’m sure he’s glad he did it.
“The Democrats are saying it hasn’t been that bad this year, that there hasn’t been a red wave,” Thurmond told me. “But that wave hit Georgia. It wasn’t a tsunami. But it hit the beach where we were sitting ”.
He said Donald Trump by beating up Kemp helped “moderate” the governor in the eyes of independents and even some Democratic voters.
It’s not hopeless for Dems, Thurmond said. “The right message with basic concerns and the right coalition can lead to a victory,” he said, adding that Democrats were killed on the crime narrative of being soft. This needs to change.
Roy Barnes, Georgia’s last Democratic governor (not elected in 2002), said Bobby Kahn, his old aide-de-camp, predicts “it will be 2026 or 2028 before Georgia really goes purple, looking at demographic data “.
“It’s a long-term slog. But it’s moving in the right direction, “Barnes said. He sounded like Thurmond, saying independent voters must be faced with” kitchen table “problems.
This was the Democrats’ strategy in 2014, to go with moderate candidates. But Abrams’ outbreak and “success” in 2018 caused the party to hit base.
Congresswoman Nikema Williams, who holds the old John Lewis seat, joked that the state may not be purple but could be considered “periwinkle.”
He noted that the party has consistently won state legislative seats, although the recent district reorganization has solidified a firm hold by the GOP on both houses. He said waiting for demographics to change is not an adequate strategy.
“We have a serious voter turnout problem in the Democratic Party,” Williams said. “We need to get the voters out. We didn’t. “
He says more effort is needed in non-election times.
John Barrow, a former Democrat from Athens, said 2018 was “a classic mid-term wave” that made his party look good, even in the event of a defeat. Barrow forced GOP secretary of state candidate Brad Raffensperger into a ballot that year, only to lose.
Barrow said the party must distinguish between climate and weather. Climate is the state’s demographics and organizational scope. Time is what is happening politically, socially and economically in the election period.
I suppose the Georgia Democrats have to wait for the climate here to warm up for them.
Was 2020 a Trump-fueled fluke? We’ll find out at the ballot next month.