5 key places to watch in Georgia’s Senate run-off

Democratic senator. Raphael Warnock stands on the brink of a feat his party hasn’t accomplished since 1990: winning three consecutive senatorial elections in Georgia. To do that, Warnock needs to up the score on Republican Herschel Walker in Atlanta and his hometown of Savannah, keep the race tight in Atlanta’s red suburbs and get voters to vote in majority black counties that have historically remained. at home for after the November election — until the Democrats’ two victories last year.

Here are five regions to watch in Tuesday’s Senate runoff when the votes start rolling in. Polls close at 7 p.m. Eastern Time.

Metro Atlanta (Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett counties)

2022 Senate result: Warnock 70-28%
Governor’s result 2022: Abrams 66-34%
2020 presidential result: Biden 69-30%

Democrats have dominated the five counties that make up Atlanta and its immediate suburbs in recent elections, but their margins matter. GOP Governor Brian Kemp was able to garner 34% of the vote in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties in his victory over Democrat Stacey Abrams last month, better than Walker’s 28% and the 30% of then-President Donald Trump. from.

Cobb and Gwinnett are still the two friendliest of Republicans — though Warnock still won by more than 15 points each — but Walker was still trailing even Trump’s 2020 numbers in every county. And libertarian Shane Oliver, whose votes meant no one was in a position to claim an outright victory in November, topped his statewide numbers in both counties. That suggests a small but potentially decisive bloc of right-wing voters who did not back Walker last month.

Seeking to keep Republicans in the fold, Kemp held a rally for Walker last month in Smyrna, Cobb County, home of Georgia’s once-dominant GOP.

The other three counties are solidly Democratic: Fulton, where Warnock won 74% of the vote, is home to Atlanta. DeKalb and Clayton – where Warnock got 84% and 87% respectively last month – are majority black.

Together, these four counties will represent about one-third of the statewide vote.

Savannah (Chatham County)

2022 Senate result: Warnock 59-39%
Governor result 2022: Abrams 55-44%
2020 presidential result: Biden 59-40%

Savannah — Georgia’s fifth-largest city — is Warnock’s hometown, though he only matched Biden’s 2020 numbers in Chatham County last month.

The top-funded candidate for Democrats anywhere in the country, Warnock highlighted his Savannah roots in a hyper-local ad campaign that hit every media market in the state.

Warnock’s 59.4 per cent vote in Chatham County last month almost matched the 59.8 per cent he got in his 2021 second-round victory over Sen. Kelly Loeffler.

Northern suburbs of Atlanta (Cherokee and Forsyth counties)

2022 Senate result: Walker 66-31%
2022 Governor’s Result: Kemp 73-26%
Presidential result 2020: Trump 67-31%

The fast-growing suburbs north of Atlanta are still solidly Republican, but Walker trailed Trump and especially Kemp in Cherokee and Forsyth counties, the state’s seventh- and eighth-largest counties, respectively.

Walker will need to improve his margins in both Cherokee (68%) and Forsyth (65%) to win Tuesday.

Golden Isles (Glynn and McIntosh counties)

2022 Senate result: Walker 62-36%
2022 Governor’s Result: Kemp 67-33%
2020 presidential result: Trump 61-38%

The Tony Islands on Georgia’s southeast coast — like Sea Island and St. Simons Island — aren’t heavily populated, but they lean toward the GOP establishment wing. Walker actually edged past Trump here, although he still finished well below Kemp’s benchmark.

If Walker can approach Kemp’s vote share here, it would be a sign that mainstream Republicans have aligned themselves with the controversial nominee.

The Baron (shire of Sumter)

2022 Senate result: Warnock 51-48%
2022 Governor’s Result: Kemp 51-48%
2020 presidential result: Biden 52-47%

The rural, majority-black Sumter County is small, but stood out as the state’s most competitive county in last month’s general election. He went for both Warnock and Kemp with equally small margins – and could pick the winner again.


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