Georgia, The Nation’s Newest Battleground State

Georgia, The Nation's Newest Battleground State

Dan Stark, Student Editor

When most political pundits talk about battleground states and regions, the Deep South is almost never talked about. The states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina have some of the least competitive races in the country on the state and federal level and have been solid states for the Republican Party for the last three decades. However, Georgia is a different story than the rest of them.

Unlike the rest of the Deep South, Georgia has seen significant population growth over this past decade. As its population has grown, the voting population of the state has diversified, leading to changes in the electorate, specifically in the Atlanta metropolitan area and suburbs. What was once a strong Republican area has strongly shifted towards the Democratic Party, a trend that has been observed across the country. This shift in the suburbs and diversity of the voting electorate has turned the state into a competitive battleground.

Georgia’s newfound status as a battleground was proven in the results of this year’s elections. Former vice president Joe Biden narrowly won Georgia’s 16 electoral votes in the presidential election, becoming the first Democrat to carry the state since Bill Clinton in 1992. Though Biden only carried it by around 14,000 votes, it is significant because it was the only state in the south that he carried, while the Southern battleground states of North Carolina and Florida, which were viewed as more favorable to Biden than Georgia, went to President Trump. 

Georgia had the distinction of being the only state with both Senate seats up for election this year, with a special election being held for Georgia’s Class III Senate seat along with the regular election for the Class II seat. Both Senate seats are heading to runoffs in January since no candidate in either race got the 50% required by Georgia law to win the race. With Republicans at 50 seats and Democrats at 48 seats, Republicans will control the Senate till at least January 20, since the vice president acts as a tie breaking vote. If Democrats can win both races, then they could take control of the Senate with 50 seats and the tie breaker vote of vice-president elect Kamala Harris . These races are widely expected to be fiercely contested by both parties.

Additionally, Democrats picked up a House seat in Georgia’s 7th congressional district, based in suburbs northeast of Atlanta. Previously a strong Republican district, it was one of three districts that flipped from Republican to Democratic in 2020. 

Overall, the results from this year’s elections have cemented Georgia as a top battleground state and will likely continue to be a very competitive state over the next decade.