ATLANTA — ATLANTA – In a state that hasn’t favored a presidential candidate from the Democratic party in nearly 30 years, the political climate is changing.
The vote count continues in Georgia, but Democrat Joe Biden’s lead over President Donald Trump continues to grow. There may be a recount here. If Biden indeed takes Georgia, it would be the first time a Democrat won this state since Bill Clinton in 1992.
Georgia’s two Republican Senators have been forced into runoffs by their Democratic challengers. There are areas of metro Atlanta once dominated by Republicans that have experienced political climate change.
Four years ago, not a single Democrat bothered to run for the top spot on the Cobb County Commission. Now, the commission favors the Democrats.
“We have a Democratic County Commission Chair, we have a Democratic Sheriff, we have a Democratic D.A.,” stated Democrat Teri Anulewicz, who three years ago was elected to represent Cobb County in the State House.
Certainly, there are areas of Georgia that are still solidly Republican red, but the state’s population growth is bringing a more diverse look.
“We’ve seen the non-white population and the non-white electorate in Georgia grow,” said Emory Political Science Professor Andra Gillespie. “Then if you add that to the cadre of liberal whites, they’re now numerically in a position where they can actively compete for seats at the statewide level.”
Both Gwinnett and Cobb have felt the change.
“I moved to Cobb County in 2002 and I had friends say, gosh, Cobb is so conservative,” says Anulewicz. “I said look, nothing’s permanent.”
There is the Stacy Abrams factor.
“She made it her business to go out and register people of color,” said Gillespie. She developed field mobilization efforts where newly registered voters would get reminders to vote.”
Georgia hasn’t elected a Democrat to occupy the Governor’s office since 2003. Gillespie said Georgia isn’t solidly blue or red.
“That means we’re in for an era of close races and races where Democrats sometimes win and Republicans sometimes win,” said Gillespie.
In other words, the neck-and-neck races we’re experiencing in 2020 will likely be a part of our political future.