Georgia

By Trevor Dougherty

Although it was a Democratic stronghold for most of the 20th Century, Georgia has become a strong red state in the 21st Century: it has voted Republican in all of the last four presidential elections. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is currently leading by at least 10 points against President Barack Obama in an average of elections polls, according to RealClearPolitics.

Georgia has two Republican U.S. Senators, neither face re-election campaigns this year. The next senatorial contests will be in 2014 and 2016.

In races for the U.S. House, 11 representatives out of 14 are being challenged for their seats. Eight out of the 14 representatives are Republicans, and six of these eight are being challenged by Democrats. The 12th District race is considered a toss-up by The New York Times.

Given Georgia’s Congressional districts, most of the Republican and Democratic incumbents being challenged should keep their seats. Fairvote projects that Republicans will win nine seats and Democrats will win four.

Republicans have held the governor’s office in Georgia George “Sonny” Perdue won election in 2003. This election marked an ideological shift, as there had been Democratic governors consistently since 1872.

In the Georgia General Assembly, the Senate and the House of Representatives are currently controlled by Republicans, allowing conservative legislation to find quick approval with the support of Republican Gov. Nathan Deal. The Senate has 36 Republican members and 19 Democratic members, while the House has 116 Republicans and 63 Democrats. Party control in the General Assembly is not likely to shift in this election.

Amendment 1 is the most contentious ballot initiative. If approved by voters, it would give the state legislature the power to establish charter schools. So far, this initiative is producing a great deal of opposition. Voters and politicians alike are worried about state bureaucrats spending taxpayer money to start schools at will. Georgia State Schools Superintendent John Barge, a Republican, said “this constitutional amendment would direct taxpayer dollars into the pockets of out-of-state, for-profit charter school companies whose schools perform no better than traditional public schools and locally approved charter schools.”  Supporters argue that more charter schools will allow for more options for parents and more innovation in education. A recent poll showed that half of Georgia voters polled would vote for the amendment.

Political affiliation in the state is tied closely to geography and race, with most urban and minority groups voting Democratic and most white/rural groups voting Republican.

Analysts point to an “exodus” of southern whites from the Democratic Party as a major reason for the success of Republicans in Georgia. Only 23 percent of white voters in Georgia cast a vote for Obama in 2008.

Still, Georgia’s predominantly-Democrat minority population continues to increase. Because of this, the Obama campaign contested the state in 2008. Most of Georgia’s minorities live in the state’s major cities, like Atlanta and Augusta. The “Black Belt,” a series of heavily African-American counties, is the state’s only other Democratic strongholds. A record number of black citizens have casted their votes early for the 2012 elections.

Although Georgia is home to more minorities than it was before, the white shift to conservatism has overwhelmed this change and created a significant political realignment in the state.

 

The Press and the State

Notable newspapers

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

http://www.ajc.com/

The Augusta Chronicle

http://chronicle.augusta.com/

The Ledger-Enquirer

http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/

Notable television stations

WSB-TV

http://www.wsbtv.com/

WAGA-TV

http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/

 

Politicians

Governor – Nathan Deal (R)

Lieutenant Governor – Casey Cagle (R)

 

State Legislature

Johnny Isakson (R)

Saxby Chambliss (R)

 

U.S. Congress

District 1:  Jack Kingston (R)

District 2:  Sanford Bishop (D)

District 3:  Lynn Westmoreland (R)

District 4:  Hank Johnson (D)

District 5:  John Lewis (D)

District 6:  Tom Price (R)

District 7:  Rob Woodall (R)

District 8:  Austin Scott (R)

District 9:  ** NEW DISTRICT – NO INCUMBENT **

  • Doug Collins (R)
  • Jody Cooley (D)

District 10:  Paul Broun Jr. (R)

District 11:  Phil Gingrey (R)

District 12:  John Barrow (D)

District 13:  David Scott (D)

District 14:  Tom Graves (R)