Why the Republican sweep in Georgia?
Mainly, the voting in our state, and seemingly all across the nation, was purely anti-Obama in nature, as the Republican political operatives clearly convinced the electorate that the leadership by the President is missing.
In Georgia, the Democrats had charged ahead with two well-known names to run for the top offices, and many were thinking this showed a stronger Democratic Party rebounding from its previous meager showings. This perceived strength held throughout the race at the polls with neck-and-neck results causing eyebrows to be raised. Only in the last week did the polls show an indication of a shift toward the Republicans.
Meanwhile, in Gwinnett, some new faces brought added Democratic hopes for a winning. Yet when you consider the results, the anticipated strength never showed itself for the Democrats, getting 38-40 percent, about their average showing for the past elections. Putting it shortly, the 60/40 split remains the standard in Gwinnett. If you want to win, just put a “R” after your name, and if you don’t have opposition within the GOP, count on getting elected.
During this political season, we talked to strong and weak candidates in both parties. Yet in the final tally, it seems that even the strong Democratic candidates did no better than the weak Democratic candidates. And vice-versa, the Republicans in Gwinnett who appeared to be a weak candidates fared just as well as the strong Republican candidates.
Many cited Gwinnett’s growing diverse population as one possible boost to the Democratic candidates. That strength never appeared in the vote count. The county remains solidly Republican in every aspect, no matter how diverse Gwinnett is.
By the way, the turnout was relatively poor in Gwinnett, 199,550 votes cast, or 50.36 percent of those registered, which was 396,271. In presidential election years, there is always a better turnout: 75.22 percent in 2012. That year 297,824 people voted, out of the 395,934 registered. Note only the slight increase (347) in those registered in Gwinnett for this year’s election. If you don’t vote in the past two Federal elections, your registration is revoked. Because of this, about 50,000 people were removed from the list by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office this cycle, hence the similar registration numbers as 2012, about the same number of new registrants in Gwinnett.
Another factor which has kept Gwinnett solidly Republican in recent years has been the ineptness of the Gwinnett Democratic Party. It has had erratic leadership within the party for several years. Then the current chairman, a relative newcomer to the county, has been in office a few months, and in office by surprise when the former chairman moved out-of-state. The Democrats, in contrast to the Republicans, had no plan to encourage candidates to run for office, nor efforts to train potential members of their party, in sharp contrast to Gwinnett Republicans.
So it’s been a decidedly bad year for Democrats in Gwinnett this cycle, with little indication that the next election will be any better.
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The polls also indicated early on that a third party might bring surprises. Toward the end of the race, there was an apparent consensus that in races with Libertarians, there might even be a runoff. Yet the forecast of 4-5-6 percent of the vote going to the Libertarians was far off base. The lower you went on the ballot, the more strength the Libertarians showed. Amanda Swofford had only 1.9 percent in the Senate race, Andrew Hunt scored 2.37 percent for governor, while Ted Metz for Insurance Commissioner won 3.43 percent of the vote, and Robin Gilmer for the public service commission topped the Libertarians with 4.87 percent.