Elections Come to a Close
Year in ReviewNews

Elections Come to a Close

In Georgia, the blue wave was checked, for the most part, by a red wall.

Dave Schechter is a veteran journalist whose career includes writing and producing reports from Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Georgia elections results for Nov. 6, 2018 mid-term.
Georgia elections results for Nov. 6, 2018 mid-term.

In Georgia, the blue wave was checked, for the most part, by a red wall. Republicans swept 10 statewide contests, including two that required a general election runoff.

At the top of the ballot, Brian Kemp defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams in the race to succeed two-term Republican Gov. Nathan Deal. Had she won, Abrams would have been the nation’s first African-American female governor.

The gubernatorial race left a bad taste in the mouths of Democrats, though Republicans might suggest that it was a case of sour grapes.

Post-election, while Kemp said it was time to put aside politics, Abrams’ supporters sued, alleging that Kemp – who resigned as secretary of state after Election Day – mismanaged the election through the use of faulty and non-secure voting machines. The Abrams supporters also claimed that Kemp’s campaign was aided by procedures that suppressed the voting strength of minorities.

Nearly 3.5 million Georgians (61.4 percent of the state’s estimated 6.43 million registered voters) cast ballots for the Nov. 6 general election, better than the 2014 mid-term turnout, but below the 2016 presidential election. 

The most notable Democratic victory in the metro area was in the 6th congressional district, a Republican bastion for 40 years. Gun control advocate Lucy McBath unseated Republican incumbent Karen Handel, who had been elected in a June 2017 special election. The 6th is comprised of portions of DeKalb, Fulton and Cobb counties.

Democrats gained seats in the state legislature – though Republicans remain in control –and registered gains in traditionally Republican counties.

Democrat Lindy Miller fell short in her quest to become the first Jewish woman to win a statewide partisan race, losing a general election runoff for a seat on the Public Service Commission to Republican incumbent Chuck Eaton.

As of New Year’s Day, there were 672 days until the general election on Nov. 3, 2020.

By then, Georgia may have a replacement for its 16-year-old voting machines, which use an outdated operating system and do not provide a verifiable paper trail. A commission Kemp created as secretary of state meets in January and will make recommendations to the General Assembly. The state has 27,000 voting machines and estimates for the cost of their replacement range in the tens of millions of dollars. 

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