The message from last night: The dynamics of Georgia politics haven’t changed much in four years. Republican Mitt Romney on Tuesday won this state (53.4 percent) by nearly the same margin as John McCain (52 percent) in 2008.
Here’s the county-by-county map of last night’s returns.
In fact, with the exception of D.C.-infected Virginia, Republicans won every state in the Old Confederacy, and a few border concerns besides. But 206 electoral votes won’t win you a presidency. Elsewhere, the GOP clearly needs to recalculate its audience and its message.
Republicans had bet the demographic changes measured in countless surveys and the 2010 census wouldn’t show up at the polls. They were wrong. The quick and simple from the Associated Press:
In exit polling Tuesday, voters mirrored the voting public’s makeup of four years ago, when Obama shattered minority voting barriers and drove young voters to the polls unlike any candidate in generations.
White voters made up 72 percent of the electorate — less than four years ago — while black voters remained at 13 percent and Hispanics increased from 9 percent to 10 percent.
That flew in the face of GOP assumptions that the fierce economic headwinds of the past three years and the passing of the novelty of the first African-American president would trim Obama’s support from black voters, perhaps enough to make the difference in a close election.
However, Obama carried Virginia, the heart of the old South, in part by having increased his record support from black voters there in 2008, which reached 18 percent, to more than 20 percent, according to Obama campaign internal tracking polls.
On CNN this morning, former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich simply said “I was wrong” when he predicted a 53 percent victory margin for Romney:
“We all thought that we understood the historical pattern and the fact that, with this level of unemployment, with this level of gasoline pricing, what would happen….The country was looking at a different set of things than we were looking at.”
The miscalculations and misstatements – both Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana lost their Republicans campaigns – cost the GOP control of the U.S. Senate. Again, from AP:
In a somber statement, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Republicans “have a period of reflection and recalibration ahead.” He added that, “While some will want to blame one wing of the party over the other, the reality is candidates from all corners of our GOP lost tonight.”
Some will declare that Republicans were beaten because they weren’t conservative enough. A message from Jenny Beth Martin, the Cherokee County woman who heads up Tea Party Patriots, arrived just before midnight. It included this:
What we got was a weak moderate candidate, hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country-club establishment wing of the Republican Party. The Presidential loss is unequivocally on them….
We cannot change what the Republican establishment handed us tonight. We can stop Barack Obama from fundamentally changing the future and character of this nation. We can stop the mushy-middle, non-fighters in the GOP from rolling over and getting rolled, yet again by the Left.
Or you can simply move on. This voice mail from Republican Joe McCutchen, who lived and breathed Mitt Romney for 18 months, arrived this morning:
”I’m sorry about Mitt, but I’ve already gone to work on the next two-year election. I’m happy about my nephew Hunter winning. We’re going to take over the Senate in 2014. I’ve already started to work on the next election.”
In the passage of Amendment One the charter school measure, five counties in metro Atlanta provided 62 percent of the 625,133 margin of victory:
– DeKalb: Yes, by 81,784 votes;
– Cobb: Yes, by 83,204 votes;
– Gwinnett: Yes, by 74,626 votes;
– Fulton: Yes, by 111,733 votes;
– Clayton: Yes, by 39,503.
We’ve received one estimate that the charter school measure won approximately 65 percent of the African-American vote in DeKalb, 64 percent in Fulton, and 72 percent in Clayton. This despite concerted opposition from the likes of the Rev. Joe Lowery; state Sen. Emanuel Jones of Decatur, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus; and state Sen. Vincent Fort of Atlanta.
This was the result that TSPLOST supporters wanted, but couldn’t get. Here’s a link to the county-by-county map of the returns.
A review of other Georgia contests worth noting this morning:
– Both Republican incumbents on the state Public Service Commission won re-election. Chuck Eaton (52 percent) beat Stephen Openheimer (43 percent), with Libertarian Brad Ploeger taking 5 percent. Notice that the results roughly mirrored the presidential contest.
Stan Wise (66 percent) beat David Staples, who ended the evening as the state’s most popular Libertarian, with 34 percent – or more than 1 million votes.
– Democratic incumbent John Barrow finished off Lee Anderson with 54 percent in the 12th District congressional race.
Republican challenger Hunter Hill beat Democratic incumbent Doug Stoner in the race for District 6 state Senate seat. But Republicans will have to wait for a runoff and special general election contest in District 30 before they can claim a supermajority in the Senate.
State Rep. Bill Hembree, R-Winston, narrowly missed (48 percent) winning outright, and will face Republican Mike Dugan (24 percent) in December. The winner must still face an independent in January. Former House speaker Glenn Richardson finished third (15 percent) in the District 30 contest.
So the count in the Senate is 37 Republicans, 18 Democrats, and one race yet to be decided.
Members of the new Republican Senate caucus will meet next week in south Georgia at Little Ocmulgee State Park to pick a new leadership team. Do not overlook the fact that, at one GOP celebration last night, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle was introduced by state Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth, who is likely to be elected Senate president pro tem.
Democrats this morning claim they have blocked a GOP supermajority in the state House, keeping Republicans to 119 seats of 180. Among those races:
– In House District 12, Democratic incumbent Barbara Reece of Menlo lost to Republican Eddie Lumsden (51 percent).
– In House District 16: Republican Trey Kelley trounced (69 percent) Democratic incumbent Rick Crawford of Cedartown, who had promised to switch to the GOP if re-elected.
– In House District 81, Democratic incumbent Scott Holcomb defeated (56 percent) Republican Chris Boedeker.
– In House District 96: Democratic incumbent Pedro Marin survived (55 percent) a GOP challenge from Mark Williams, who was hospitalized during a portion of the campaign.
– In House District 105: Republican Joyce Chandler of Lawrenceville defeated (51 percent) Democrat Renita Hamilton for an open seat.
– In House District 138: Republican Mike Cheokas of Americus barely survived (50.64 percent) a Democratic challenge from Kevin Brown.
– In House District 145: Independent incumbent Rusty Kidd (54 percent) defeated Democrat Quentin Howell. Despite their effort to knock him off, Democrats say Kidd’s presence in the House– plus their 60 members — deprives the GOP of supermajority status.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider