What (Scott) Brown can do for Georgia, part 2

In response to my post last week about the lack of competition in Georgia House and Senate races, a source who follows state electoral trends emailed me the following facts and observations:

  • “In [the] 2008 general election, 38 of the 56 state senators (21 Republicans and 17 Democrats) had a ‘free ride’ in November (no opposition from the other party). Of the 18 races that saw a Democrat and Republican run against each other (in that chamber), none was close. The ‘closest’ contest was in Senate District 46 (Athens-Monroe), won by Republican Bill Cowsert by a 58-42 percent margin. Only one other incumbent got under 60% (north DeKalb’s Dan Weber, who took 59%). The Senate has been stable politically (party representation) since the 2004 election. In 2004, 34 Republicans and 22 Democrats were elected to the Georgia Senate, a margin which remained unchanged in the 2006 and 2008 cycles.”
  • “In the State House last year, only 6 of the 180 seats changed [party] hands. Democrats picked up 4 GOP-held seats and Republicans won 2-Democratic held seats, for a net gain of 2 Democratic seats. As with the Senate, the vast majority of House incumbents (141) had a free ride last November….Incidentally, GOP has won majority of votes cast for State House (contested and uncontested) in every election cycle since 1996, save for 2002 (when multimember districts ‘rigged’ the numbers somewhat). In 2008, GOP won 59% of all votes cast for State House, compared with 40% for Democrats and 1% for write-ins/independents.”
  • Generally speaking, 30% black voter registration determines whether a seat goes Democratic or Republican. In the Senate, all 22 Democrats hail from districts that are over 30% black in voter registration (compared with just 1 Republican, Johnny Grant of District 25). The other 33 Senate Republicans represent districts that are under 30% black in voter registration. In the House, Democrats have a 65-9 advantage over Republicans (with also 1 Independent) in seats that are over 30% black, but among seats less than 30% black, Republicans hold a 95-9 edge over the Democrats (with1 vacancy)
  • Georgia’s congressional delegation lines up the same way. All 6 Democrats come from districts over 30% black in voter registration (with 2 representing majority-black districts, Hank Johnson of the 4th and David Scott of the 13th). All 7 Republicans come from districts less than 30% black. In the 2008 presidential election, Obama won 5 of the 6 Democratic-held congressional districts in Georgia (losing only Jim Marshall’s district), while McCain won Marshall’s district and the 7 GOP-held ones.

My two cents: None of this sounds very enticing for potential challengers, particularly a Democrat challenging a Republican or vice versa. Redistricting after this year’s Census will be very important and interesting to watch. Last time, Roy Barnes and the Democrats overreached and got slapped down by a federal court, resulting in the current maps. This sequence of events has left Democrats smarting for nearly a decade. Won’t some Democratic candidate for governor raise this point against Barnes sooner or later?

22 comments Add your comment


January 26th, 2010
8:52 am

Okay, first of all “particularly” and “vice versa” should never be in the same sentence. It’s an awkward dissonance.

But more importantly, the current “detente” certainly has it’s roots in the Democrats redistricting after the 2000 census, but the tree was watered and nurtured by the Republican majority in the additional redistricting mandated by the court ruling. What we are left with is 7 safe Republican gerrymandered districts and 4 safe Democrat gerrymandered districts with two tossups left over.

Essentially, both sides reached out and shook hands with the devil.

So, you can try the whole “Roy Barnes tried to play fast and loose with the election rules” tactic but all the opposition has to do is point to the 7 60+% Republican districts and say, “Really?”

Democrats are Corrupt, Repukes are Lying Scum

January 26th, 2010
8:55 am

Scott Brown can help us defeat the incumbents, ALL the incumbents, everywhere. The incumbents ARE the problem, they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, in maintaining the very programs they they voted into existence, sometime 30 to 40 years ago. Git them out of office, NOW.


January 26th, 2010
8:55 am

Having said that, I implore all conservatives to NOT vote for Oxendine as governor. He is a baffoon to the n-th degree. He will set back the Conservatives for years should he win

Churchill's MOM

January 26th, 2010
9:03 am

I will be voting for Karen Handel and Chuck Donovan come November. Up here in Athens we have a real Republican for US Rep.

Democrats are Corrupt, Repukes are Lying Scum

January 26th, 2010
9:04 am

I agree Lee, OxenSwine is a neo nazi at heart, imho. I would never, ever give him police powers, or command of people with police powers, given the way he has abused his “blue light special” state car for personal gain (time and distance in commuting) imho.

Road Scholar

January 26th, 2010
10:19 am

And you expect a Republican Governor to not gerrymander the districts like Barnes attempted to?

Kyle Wingfield

January 26th, 2010
11:03 am

griftdrift: True, about the congressional districts being redone. But we’re still using the state House and Senate maps drawn by the court. In both cases, though, I say: Bring on the primary challenges.

Road Scholar: There may be some funny business, but what Barnes did was on a different level. Like my source pointed out, Republicans were winning a majority of all state House votes as early as 1996, but Democrats were still winning a majority of seats. Barnes tried to preserve the status quo, and the only way to do that was through some severe gerrymandering.

One question will be what the Obama DOJ does with whatever maps come out of the Legislature. What we’ve seen so far — in cases like Kinston, N.C. — is more politicization, not less.

Chris Broe

January 26th, 2010
11:06 am

Luckovich hit a homerun today.

Dave R.

January 26th, 2010
11:21 am

Has anyone heard whether Johnny Isakson has any primary challenger this year? That is one useless Senator and we need a better, clearer thinking Republican in that job.


January 26th, 2010
12:17 pm

Georgia deserves what we have, the only thing to do is make the best of a bad situations or move, and the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Sit on the porch, drink and throw the cans at cars.

Mr. Thomas Anthony "The Taxman Cometh" Jones, SR (Waffen-SS, Lt. Colonel assigned to the 13th SS Panzer Division in Berman and later Dresden, Germany,ret.)

January 26th, 2010
12:56 pm

As a Yellow-Dog Democratic Party voter and member I want to repond to your column. Governor Roy Barnes did notoverrach. The courts and the Justice department were in the hands of the racist Republican Party and were going to push against move to improve the number of Democratic/African-American seats.
In the Democratic Party Primay (July, 2010) and Run-Off (September, 2010)I will vote for Attoney-General Thurbert Baker and in the general election on November 2nd, 2010 I will vote for person or Yellow-Dog we nominate.
In the 2006 Governor of Georgia race, Lt. Governor Mark Taylor and Secretary of State Cathy Cox (No not the Bankrupct Kathy Cox) cripples each other, attacking each other. Thus helping that Income Tax cheat Sonny Perdue win in November 2006. God’s 11th Commandment ot Moses was simple: Democrat do not attack each other ever!
If we all turn out to vote we can defeat that fool Sonny Perdue and his sidekick Glenn Richardson. Remember Democrats, our goal is to attack Sonny Perdue and Glenn Richardon all this year. Don’t even memtion the names of the Repubicans candidates. Only member Sonny perdue and Glenn richardsopn and we win going a way. People hate Perdue and Richardson!!!!!


January 26th, 2010
1:34 pm

Perdue and Richardson are irrelevant, Mr Jones. You might want to try keepin up there old bud.


January 26th, 2010
1:41 pm

I love it when snarky commenters commit grammar errors while correcting a writer’s supposed error in “style” or “tone.”

griftdrift: The contraction “it’s” only ever means “it is.” The possessive of “it” is always “its” without an apostrophe.


January 26th, 2010
3:07 pm

My apologies for my misplaced possessive. My copy editor was in the bathroom.

But thanks for educating me on something I’ve known since the 4th grade.


January 26th, 2010
3:10 pm

Oh. And now that I’ve re-read what I wrote, please re-read it yourself, subsitituiting “it is” where I placed “it’s”.



January 26th, 2010
3:34 pm

The rule of thumb is that most folks, certainly at the district level, think their incumbent is doing a fine job (hey, he got us that new high school football stadium) and the problem is with all the “others” that need to be voted out of office.

Michael H. Smith

January 26th, 2010
4:26 pm

I agree Kyle, what Barnes did was on a different level – of low. By status quo if desperately trying to steal power away from Republicans, which he knew could not be done without gerrymandering, again I would agree.

Anything Obumer’s AG Holder does comes as no surprise to me. I don’t care for Obumer, I care even less for Eric Holder. In fact, I have more positives for King Roy E. – as in egregious Rat – Barnes than I can say for the other two Democrats. Roy is a darn good lawyer but a dang lousy Governor. The other two are just lousy politicians and not as good a lawyer as Roy.

All that aside, I doubt any Democrat will raise the redistricting issue against King Roy, though, at least a Republican or two certainly shall and will score a few points. How many political points is tough to say. It all depends on how effectively the Republican candidate is in refreshing the public’s memory of the heated redistricting controversy of that time.


January 26th, 2010
4:45 pm

You should never be allowed to vote for your own representative. Wouldn’t that be interesting.


January 26th, 2010
4:53 pm

Y’all should be in my shoes. After redistricting, I ended up in David Scott’s gerrymandered district. Have you seen this on a map? His main base is in SOUTH Fulton. I live up by Smyrna in South Cobb. WTF!!! Do you really believe he gives 2 cents about anything someone in Cobb County believes?


January 26th, 2010
5:09 pm

PF…agree here. He did not represent my beliefs or values. I wish he would just go away. I lived in Clayton county.


January 26th, 2010
5:19 pm

What does the Democratic Party and the Nazi’s have in common each are a failing socialist party. This is why you will loose so many seats in 2010 and why you will continue to fail. People wanted some real change and less government for themselves and more benefits without paying which was why the voted an unknown into office in Obama, if that meant others suffered and especially if they are white, semi-wealthy/middle-class, and Republican so much the better. We as a people should get back to what made this country great self reliance, trusting in a power greater then yourself and I don’t mean the government, concern for your fellow man which amazingly enough is seen in how we are helping those in Haiti, and most of all making OUR government do what the Constitution calls it to do and that is not welfare/healthcare/Social Security but “Provide for the Common Defense” duh. “Promote the general welfare” (NOT GIVE IT). “Establish Justice for all” Black/White/Brown/Red/And Poke-a-doted. “Insure Domestic Tranquility” stop fighting with ourselves because everyone else sees us as Americans and hates us all. “And secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” Oh how easily we forget the Blessing of Liberty for a handout today and what that has done and is doing to our Posterity. The Conservatives of today must unite into one voice to tell our government that enough is enough we are taking back our country from the Socialist-Communist body politic that is in Washington, and to a lesser extent in our state governments and show them that if they cannot stop themselves from ripping our freedoms from us then we will stop them with our vote and send new people that will listen to us.

Michael H. Smith

January 26th, 2010
5:55 pm

I wasn’t going to comment further, however, after comment from TheConservative I must speak once again by adding to his recital in parts of the Premble to the U.S. Constitution, Article One Section Eight Clause One to correct an often misquoted misused text about “providing general welfare” in support of ObumerCare that does not and cannot be applied to the individual. As it plainly says the provision is to be made “for the general welfare of the United States”: Meaning for the good of the country as a whole not generally providing welfare to citizens on individual bases.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and “provide for the” common defense and “general welfare of the United States”; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;