Georgia Stakes: 'Entire Country Should Be Watching This'

Biden has a chance to capture a red state, and suburbs are key amid changing demographics
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2020 7:49 AM CDT
Georgia Stakes: 'Entire Country Should Be Watching This'
Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., interacts with supporters during a campaign event at Atlanta's Morehouse College on Oct. 23.   (AP Photo/John Amis)

Joe Biden has fewer final-week campaign trips on his schedule than President Trump, but the Democrat is making a point to visit Georgia on Tuesday. A reliably red state may seem like an odd choice, but polls suggest Georgia's red does not run as deep as it once did. "If this was the Georgia of 2008, 2012, I think there’s no way we would have seen a Biden come this late,” Nsé Ufot, chief executive officer of the New Georgia Project, tells the AP. His group aims to increase voting among minorities and young voters. "It’s a loud signal and acknowledgment of Georgia as a battleground state." Coverage:

  • Polls: Biden (48%) and Trump (47%) are essentially tied in a state that hasn't voted for a Democratic president since 1992, according to an Atlanta Journal Constitution poll. The state's two Republican Senate seats also could flip: Incumbent David Purdue is in a dead heat with Democrat Jon Ossoff, and a Democrat (the Rev. Raphael Warnock) leads the polls in the special election for incumbent Kelly Loeffler's seat. A runoff is expected in that one.

  • One big reason: So what's going on with Georgia? Demographics are key, explains the New York Times. The population has grown from 7.9 million to 10.6 million in the last 20 years, much of that fueled by non-Georgians moving in. Rural areas remain GOP strongholds, but not the rest of the state. "There’s been so much migration from the North and other parts of the country,” says Eric J. Tanenblatt, former chief of staff to former GOP Gov. Sonny Perdue. "And so you’re starting to see a turn in the suburbs more toward the Democrats."
  • Abrams factor: Stacey Abrams nearly became the nation's first Black female governor in 2018, and her campaign mobilized Georgia's minority voters in the process. In terms of the 2020 race, Biden "understands the vitality of the Sun Belt and the importance of not just winning this election, but setting the table for success for the Senate and for the country," Abrams tells the Washington Post. "Georgia has been ground zero for many of these conversations."
  • Huge factor: Whether Trump wins the state again (he won by 5 points in 2016) might well come down to whether suburban voters who sided with him in 2016 stay the course. Polls suggests plenty of them have been "turned off by Trump," University of George political science professor MV Hood tells Fox News. "Atlanta is a tale of the country, as far as what the suburbs do,” GOP consultant Brian Robinson tells the Post. "More than ever, what the suburbs here will determine is, do enough white people who live around me vote for Biden? Or do they stick to where they’ve been most of their lives and vote Republican? The entire country should be watching this."
  • Other red states: Biden also visits Iowa this week, while Kamala Harris will be in Texas, notes CNN. It's more evidence of the expanded battleground map of the 2020 race.
(More Election 2020 stories.)

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