A new analysis of the January 5th U.S. Senate runoffs confirms what we all knew: Hundreds of thousands of Republicans failed to return to the polls to vote for Republicans Loeffler and Perdue.
Precinct-level data analyzed by GPB News show the narrow margins of victory for Sen. Jon Ossoff (about 55,000 votes) and Sen. Raphael Warnock (about 94,000 votes) were the result of stronger Black turnout — particularly in metro Atlanta and southwest Georgia — coupled with a precipitous decline in white rural Republican areas across north Georgia.
In 1,387 precincts that former President Trump won in November, turnout dropped by about 310,000 voters, including a 9% drop in white turnout, or about 227,000 white voters. Black turnout in those precincts fell only 6.7%.
By comparison, the 1,261 precincts President Biden won in Georgia saw a drop-off of just 220,000 voters, white turnout dropped by about 7% and Black turnout fell only 6.4%.
Of the 25 precincts that saw the largest raw decrease in voters from November to January, all of them went for Trump. Nine of them are in the 9th Congressional District in northeast Georgia and four of them are in Forsyth County, a fast-growing exurb that sits in both the 7th and 9th districts.
It’s been said that victory has 100 fathers, and defeat is an orphan. Thus it’s easy to place the blame for this depressed turnout squarely on the shoulders of Donald Trump, whose constant claims that Georgia’s elections were rigged certainly didn’t help efforts to get Republicans back to the polls. However, we must remember the third Republicans on the ballot that day: Bubba McDonald. How did Bubba win while Loeffler and Perdue lost?
McDonald defeated Democrat Daniel Blackman by 33,727 votes. Meanwhile Warnock defeated Loeffer by 93,272 and Ossoff defeated Perdue by 54,944. Another important set of numbers to consider is the total votes cast in each race. Warnock v Loeffer drew the largest number of votes with 4,484,954. Ossoff v Perdue had 52 fewer votes with 4,484,902. McDonald v Blackman dropped to 4,435,651 – 49,303 fewer votes that Warnock v Loeffler.
What does all this mean? With hundreds of thousands of Republicans staying home, there are likely thousands of reasons these voters made their decisions not to vote. Republicans interested in winning in 2022 need to figure out as many of those reasons as possible if they want to defeat Warnock for the Senate and hold on the Governor’s Mansion and other statewide offices. Will Trump loyalists only vote for Trump? Perhaps, but it was also predicted that African-Americans would never support other Democrats at the same levels of support they gave President Obama, yet African-American turnout in Georgia has remained high since the Obama years. When people become passionate about voting, they tend to continue voting, for a while at least. It’s possible the twin stock trading scandals hanging over Loeffler and Perdue depressed turnout among Republicans as well. And of course Trump’s toxic rhetoric and style of governing was harmful and should never be part of Republicans politics ever again….unless the GOP is OK with losing.