- Joe Biden has won Georgia, according to Decision Desk HQ and Insider, the first Democratic presidential victory in the state since Bill Clinton’s narrow win in 1992.
- With nearly all statewide precincts reporting, Biden led Trump by a 0.3% margin (49.5% to 49.2%).
- Due to the closeness of the race, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Wednesday ordered a statewide audit of the presidential election results, which will require each ballot to be counted by hand.
- In winning the state, Biden performed strongly in Atlanta and its populous suburbs.
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President-elect Joe Biden has won Georgia, according to Decision Desk HQ and Insider, a huge breakthrough for the Democratic Party in their protracted fight to regain electoral relevancy in the Deep South.
It is the first time that a Democratic presidential nominee has won the Peach State since Bill Clinton, who, in 1992, carried the state by less than 1% of the vote.
With nearly all precincts reporting, Biden earned 2,472,154 votes, or 49.5%, compared to 2,458,003 votes, or 49.2%, for President Donald Trump. Biden’s statewide lead amounts to 14,152 votes, or 0.3%, out of nearly 5 million votes cast.
The president-elect has now secured the state’s 16 electoral votes, bringing his final Electoral College count to 306, well above the 270 electoral vote threshold for victory. Trump will earn 232 Electoral College votes.
Due to the closeness of the race, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced on November 11 that he would oversee a statewide audit of the presidential race, where every ballot will be counted by hand. Each of Georgia’s 159 counties will then have to report final vote totals by November 18, just two days before the state’s November 20 deadline for certifying the election results.
The audit is not expected the change the overall outcome of the state’s results.
In securing his statewide win, Biden followed the formula of 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, routing the opposition in Fulton County, which encompasses Atlanta, while ramping up the vote in DeKalb, Cobb, and Gwinnett counties. For decades, Cobb and Gwinnett had been suburban Republican strongholds, but in 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won both counties with 48% and 50% of the vote, respectively. This year, Biden won Cobb with 56% of the vote and Gwinnett with 58% of the vote.
After initially trailing Trump in the vote count, Clayton County, with its large Black population, put Biden over the top in the statewide tally. Biden won the suburban Atlanta county with 85% of the vote and a nearly 80,000-vote margin, more than five times his current statewide lead.
Biden also racked up smaller, but significant margins in outlying Richmond, Muscogee, and Chatham counties, which contain the Democratic-leaning cities of Augusta, Columbus, and Savannah, respectively.
More than 3.9 million Georgians cast early ballots in the state, which was roughly 51% of all registered voters, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
With its fast-growing Black, Latino, and Asian populations, along with an influx of younger residents and Northern transplants, the Georgia electorate has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. In 2004, white voters made up 70% of the state’s electorate, compared to 60% this year, according to The New York Times.
On October 27, Biden travelled to Georgia for the first time since winning the Democratic presidential nomination, giving a speech in Warm Springs, the retreat of former president Franklin D. Roosevelt, and holding a drive-in rally in Atlanta.
On November 2, the day before the general election, former president Barack Obama held an outdoor rally for Biden in Atlanta, promoting the candidacy of his former No. 2.
“Georgia could be the state,” Obama said. “Georgia could be the place where we put this country back on track.”
In January 2021, the state will also determine which party will control the US Senate, courtesy of two runoff elections.
Republican Sen. David Perdue faces a stiff challenge from Democrat Jon Ossoff. In the November election, Perdue led Ossoff by a 49.7% to 48% margin. However, under state law, a Senate candidate must receive at least 50% of the vote to win an election, which prompted the runoff.
The second Senate runoff is the result of a November special election that featured appointed Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, Democrat Raphael Warnock, and a multitude of candidates from different political parties. Loeffler and Warnock were the top two vote-getters in the race, but since neither candidate received over 50% of the vote, they are both advancing to a separate runoff election.
Democrats currently have 48 Senate seats, compared to 50 seats for the GOP. If Democrats can win both Senate seats, the chamber would be split 50-50, but Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will have the ability to break tie votes, which would give the party majority control.
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