First and foremost, this newsletter is truly a team effort. We are building on the data efforts of georgiavotes.com to point out races, locations, and results we find interesting. By no means are we journalists, but instead a mix of data nerds and politicos looking for an outlet for their thoughts. Please feel free to share your thoughts and questions by replying here, to Ryan directly on Twitter (@gtryan), and we also may try to get dedicated social media up in the next week or so to improve interactions and sharing of info.
Also this is our first go round and we promise it will get better. Stay tuned.
Georgia Congressional Races
Of the 14 Congressional Districts in Georgia there are only 2 competitive seats this year per most ratings sites. We can go into how problematic that is for the health of our state’s electorate or how it’s a product of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 pre-clearance or just a sign of the power of incumbency mixed with apathy.
GA-06 and GA-07 will go back and forth as to which the media horse race coverage will say is most competitive, but for the most part our belief is only the Georgia 6th is competitive. The demographics and efforts in the Georgia 7th have made it a district that has already flipped. Mix in that the 7th has seen a major influx of new residents and there is no real path for Republicans to defend this seat and not have it flip.
GA-06 made waves in 2017 when Karen Handel squeaked out a 3% victory over Jon Ossoff in a special election runoff to replace Tom Price, who had won the district 62%/38% just 7 months earlier. In 2018 that seat flipped to Lucy McBath in a remarkably close 50.5%/49.5% election and the story was Cobb County being forever lost to Republicans.
Meanwhile, over in GA-07, Democrats had high hopes of a pickup in 2018 only to see Carolyn Bordeaux fall an agonizingly close 419 votes short of Rob Woodall.
Given these data points, it’s easy to see why the media would focus on these as two tight races to watch in 2020. And, well, they’re half right. First, let’s look at the racial breakdowns of 2020 absentee requests.
70.4% - White
8.9% - Black
7.5% - Asian
2.7% - Hispanic
10.5% - Other/Unknown
49.8% - White
17.9% - Black
12.5% - Asian
4.8% - Hispanic
14.9% - Other/Unknown
Yep. GA-07 absentee ballot requests are majority-minority so far, with 98,985 already in. That’s 30% of the total electorate in the 2016 election.
But, you may say, GA-06 had a higher share of Democratic Ballots pulled in the 2020 primary than GA-07! And that’s correct, GA-06 was 56.9% D ballots and GA-07 was 52.8% D ballots. But let’s also look at the racial breakdown of absentee requests in THAT election.
74.4% - White
9.9% - Black
4.0% - Asian
2.3% - Hispanic
9.4% - Other/Unknown
56.9% - White
18.8% - Black
6.7% - Asian
3.8% - Hispanic
13.8% - Other/Unknown
Pretty big shift there! Whoever is running the Asian and Hispanic turnout operations in those districts, well done. Given the underlying demographics of Cobb and Gwinnett counties, you can see what GA-07 is seeing a much bigger shift so far
Add this up with Rob Woodall deciding not to run for reelection, and we’ve got GA-07 as a lock.
So if GA-07 is a lock what’s the other interesting seat? Not that it will flip, but GA-01. That district saw a 52%/46% breakdown of R/D ballots in the 2020 primary, and has an increasing minority share of early vote applicants for the 2020 general (34% -> 41%).
In the coming weeks we will also be pointing out data points in other districts that showcase where those races may lay in the state of play in the coming years and especially with a looming redistricting that will remake the Georgia Congressional District Map for the next decade.
The Other Georgia - Cobb County
Cobb County is the new Gwinnett County. Cobb County is flipping and has flipped. However, you want to put it the once dominant force in Republican politics and the home county of Johnny Isakson, Steve “Thunder” Tumlin, and Sheriff Neil Warren is no longer the safe red county it once was. The trendlines in early voting point more to Cobb following the likes of other metro Atlanta Democratic stalwart counties like Fulton, Dekalb, and now Gwinnett then the current bastions of the GOP like Cherokee, Forsyth, and Fayette counties.
The biggest thing to note in this very early data is that Cobb is leading the way in voters who are converting from day-of voters to early and absentee voters. Look to see how the state house races in Cobb County address this changing electorate in the closing weeks of 2020 to see if and how the GOP can hold on to enough seats not only Cobb, but to maintain their majority in the General Assembly.
Overall thanks for reading and realize the data is just starting to roll in. In the coming newsletters we’ll dive into races at all levels and all over the state. We will also play with some numbers you might not be able to see on the website so stay tuned and thanks for reading!