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Introduction: The nomination by Democratic voters of Stacy Abrams, an African-American woman, to run for governor of Georgia puts the state in the front lines of a possible new approach to elections by progressive Democrats across the nation. She will face the current Secretary of State, Brian Kemp who was nominated by Republican voters after using the same anti-immigrant dog whistle strategy adopted by his mentor in the White House who supported his candidacy.

Methods: All tables on registered voters in Georgia were derived from the Georgia Secretary of State, Voter Registration Statistics, Active Voters by Race and Gender as of August 1, 2018. The data parses the Georgia electorate by race, age, and sex.

Results: Older, rural, predominantly white Georgians voted heavily for the current president of the United States in 2016, 75% of them according to exit polls. However, the Georgia electorate is changing rapidly and current voter registration data indicate that 54% of all registered voters in the state are white, 30% African Americans and the remainder are mixed race, Latinos and Asians. These later groups are the core Democratic constituency.

Discussion: The major challenge that Abrams faces in this election is making certain that the demographic groups most likely to support her turn out to vote on election day. This is no small task because African Americans, Latinos, Asians and young people have the absolutely lowest voter registration and voting rates in the state. Older white voters have very high registration and voting rates. These are analyzed in detail in this report. If the Abrams campaign and the Georgia Democratic party can increase registration rates among their constituents in the state before the October 9, 2018 deadline for registration, only a month away, she has a chance of winning. There are enough progressive whites in the state, 25% voted Democratic in 2016, so that a coalition of voters may come together to make history in Georgia, but only if they go to the polls in greater numbers than in November 2016, which is not what usually happens in mid-term elections.


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Citation information: Bergad, L. W. (2018). Race and a Southern Governorship. Can Stacy Abrams Make History in Georgia? An Examination of Georgia Voter Registration Lists, Voting Participation Rates, Race, and Age. New York, NY: Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.



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