Who would have imagined that Iowa, which voted or Obama by nearly 10 points in 2008 and by nearly 6 points in 2012-- would go for Trump in 2016 and 2020, while Georgia flipped to blue in 2020? In 2016 Georgia's 16 electoral votes went to Trump when he beat Hillary by 5 points-- 2,089,104 to 1,877,963. This year, turnout was much stronger than in 2016-- on both sides of the partisan divide, but a bit stronger for the Democrats than the Republicans. Biden got 2,474,507 (49.51%) to Trump's 2,461,837 (49.25%). Trump received 372,733 more votes than he had in 2016 but Biden received 596,544 more votes than Hillary did. Rapid growth and diversification of the Atlanta suburbs is the reason. In fact, the only Republican-held seat in the entire country to flip red to blue is GA-07 in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties north of Atlanta. All the big partisan shifts among counties in the state were in the direction of the Democrats.
But Georgia Republicans have grown accustomed to stealing elections they don't win-- and they tried, the same way they did in the 2018 when Secretary of State Brian Kemp ran for governor and in that position absolutely stole the election from Democrat Stacey Abrams. Five states flipped red to blue this year-- Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Georgia (73 electoral votes), making Trump a one-term president and making him vulnerable to prosecution for his years of criminal behavior.
I had never heard of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger before a week or two ago. I mean, a Republican Secretary of State in Georgia, a multimillionaire and a former state legislator... low expectations would certainly be in order. In the Republican primary for secretary of state he campaigned on voter ID positions that suppress African American and student voters. He won and went on to defeat worthless Blue Dog John Barrow in 2018. There was no reason to imagine he would ever amount to anything more than another racist, vote surpressing neo-Confederate. But...
Today Raffensperger has become something of a symbol of mainstream Republican Party "normalcy," their own pre-Trumpiness. It isn't much and it will likely end his political career. This morning US Today published an OpEd by him that he surely never imagined he would write. Turns out Republicans can have a sense of integrity too; would would have imagined?! Take a minute to read it: My family voted for Trump. He threw us under the bus anyway.
The past few weeks have been difficult for the voters of the Peach State.
As the nation and the world watched, Georgia took center stage in a battle that will define our country in a very practical sense for the next four years. But also, in a larger sense, how this country will move forward into the future.
Like Americans in every other state, Georgians went to the ballot box on and in the weeks leading up to Nov. 3; to cast their vote for president, for senator, or maybe just the local town council.
A record 1.3 million voters cast ballots absentee by mail here. Another 2.7 million cast ballots in-person during Georgia’s gold-standard three weeks of early voting. Around 1 million waited on lines averaging a miniscule 3 minutes on Election Day.
By all accounts, Georgia had a wildly successful and smooth election. We finally defeated voting lines and put behind us Fulton County’s now notorious reputation for disastrous elections. This should be something for Georgians to celebrate, whether their favored presidential candidate won or lost. For those wondering, mine lost-- my family voted for him, donated to him and are now being thrown under the bus by him.
Elections are American-- not partisan
Elections are the bedrock of our democracy. They need to be run fairly and, perhaps more important, impartially. That’s not partisan. That’s just American. Yet some don’t seem to see it that way.
When I took office, I committed to running elections in Georgia with integrity. After any election, half of the voters will be happy and the other half will be disappointed. But I wanted to make sure everyone felt confident in the process and confident in the outcome.
And as Nov. 3 came to a close, Georgia’s voters had every reason to be. Again, short lines on Election Day. Record turnout. Record early voting and record absentee by mail voting.
In the days that followed, a losing presidential campaign refused to accept the facts, following a playbook written by a failed gubernatorial candidate two years before. A failed senate candidate with nothing to do tried to undermine the integrity of Georgia’s elections. A self-described “attorney for the damned” took up the cause. An onslaught of fake news and unrepentant disinformation threatened to tear the fabric of our country apart. People on both sides of the aisle generated controversies out of nowhere to stir up trouble.
Even as Georgia embarked on its first statewide audit, a process that was only possible because of the state’s new printed paper-ballot system, those who requested the full hand recount triggered by the audit of such a close race lined up to undermine its credibility. Those who had so long been beneficiaries of the electoral process sought to tear it apart at its very foundations.
But still, integrity matters.
When the nation is caught in turmoil, as it has been through several presidential terms, the people of Georgia and their fellow Americans will look to leaders with integrity for guidance.
Throughout my two years as secretary of state, I have fought repeatedly to uphold the integrity of elections in Georgia. We worked with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to strengthen signature matching for absentee ballot voters. We outlawed ballot harvesting and implemented a new voting system with printed paper-ballots that voters could hold and review before casting for the first time in nearly 20 years. We fought frivolous lawsuits from fringe groups and a failed gubernatorial candidate seeking to undermine laws passed by state legislators who were actually elected by the voters.
In times of uncertainty, when the integrity of our political system is most at risk, the integrity of our politicians is paramount.
Many of my fellow Republicans are men and women of integrity. They demonstrate it each and every day: fighting for their constituents, fighting for liberty, and fighting for fair and reliable elections.
In times like these, we need leaders of integrity to guide us through.