For the second time in two years, Democrats are a whisper away from turning Georgia blue.
In 2018, Republican Brian Kemp narrowly defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams to become governor. Now, the presidential race remains too close to call hours after the polls closed. The outstanding votes almost entirely come from parts of Biden-friendly Atlanta and its suburbs.
With more than 90% of the estimated vote in, Trump leads the former vice president by a little more than 118,000 votes. But with Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties, among others, still yet to complete their counts, the race remains in the balance – contrary to Trump’s claim early Wednesday morning that he’s already won it.
No Democratic presidential nominee has won in Georgia since 1992, when Bill Clinton defeated incumbent George H.W. Bush. Barack Obama came close. Hillary Clinton, in 2016, got closer. Abrams, in the gubernatorial campaign, came within 1.4 percentage points of victory in a race marred by evidence of voter suppression.
Democrats’ slow and steady climb has been fueled by a rapidly diversifying electorate and suburbs that are, at once, growing and becoming increasingly hostile to Republican candidates. The state GOP has compounded the issue, refusing so far to expand Medicaid under Obamacare while Gov. Brian Kemp, in 2019, signed a so-called "heartbeat bill," one of the country's most restrictive abortion laws.
Sensing opportunity, vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, who was joined by Abrams, and Obama both visited the state in the final push ahead of Election Day. Sensing a tight race, Trump also visited over the weekend.
Biden’s fate could be decided over the next day, as the final votes are tabulated. But the political world will keep its eyes on Georgia for weeks to come. Both Senate races – one a special election – could be headed to runoffs early next year.
No matter who wins the presidency, those races have the potential to decide the balance of power in the US Senate for the next two years.
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