Georgia is on our mind. Constantly.
The Peach State is in many ways a microcosm of the larger struggle for the soul of American democracy that's playing out nationally–from the politicized response to the pandemic which is pitting the Governor against local leaders like Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, to racially charged violence-inciting protests, voter suppression and more. For its challenges, Georgia also presents Democrats with tremendous opportunity to get in big in November.
Just last month, Georgia Democrats turned out in record numbers to vote, overcoming widespread voter suppression. Thanks in part to the foundational investments in voter registration, access and mobilization that our friend Stacey Abrams has led over years, there are Democratic fruits ripe for picking in Georgia. These infrastructural improvements are met also by a rising class of talented political leaders emerging across the state: Stacey Abrams, Rev. Raphael Warnock, Lucy McBath and Jon Ossof to name a few.
Few shine brighter than Reverend Raphael Warnock. There are two Senate seats in play in Georgia in 2020, and Raphael is running for Georgia’s Senate special election, the seat currently filled by Governor Kemp-appointee Kelly Loeffler (of pandemic stock trading infamy).
Raphael is a talented civil rights leader who serves as senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the congregation Martin Luther King Jr. once led. As a pastor, he blends spiritual leadership with social ministry on issues of economic justice to health care to climate change. Rev. Warnock is also the longtime work partner and ally of Stacey Abrams; he helped lead The New Georgia Project, one of the largest voter registration efforts in the state’s history.
There are few community leaders who understand where and how to connect with voters across Georgia as well as Raphael Warnock.
And what a powerful action we can help usher in this current moment of protest for racial equity in America: to bring a civil rights leader to the U.S. Senate, a body that has just three Black Senators today.
According to a poll conducted by MRG Research, among those running in the Senate special election, Warnock has the best favorable to unfavorable ratio among the top contenders (see graphic, Favorability).
Consider, also, the stakes. Winning Democratic control of the Senate is possible in November, but requires us to quickly put more seats in play. Democrats must flip four to five seats, and to do that will need to invest in eight to ten. Yet today, most of the money has funneled towards just ~four seats (AZ, ME, KY and SC), leaving another four-to-five seats (that are actually more winnable) significantly underfunded–Georgia’s special election included.
I believe that Georgia holds a key to Democrats’ future. Why?
When Stacey Abrams ran for governor back in 2018, she was able to capture nearly all of the Black vote and ¼ of the white vote. Thanks to voter suppression, she “lost” by only 54,723 votes. Since 2018, there have been 600k new registrants in Georgia. And these new voters are fired up to make change happen in their home state. A path to Democratic victory in Georgia requires us to mobilize key voters.
Among African American voters, Warnock outperforms Lieberman almost three-fold (see graphics, Current Standing - African Americans Only and Current Standing - "Jungle Primary"). The numbers are there and the voters are ready.
If Georgia can overcome voter suppression (and our friends at Fair Fight Action have been hard at work to do just that), then we're looking at a historically transformative year for the Peach State–a year that will be marked by the election of a public servant who actually knows and cares about bettering the lives of his constituents. Raphael is the new generation leader Georgia needs and deserves.
Click HERE to learn more about how you can help flip Georgia Blue and get Raphael into the Senate.
Credit for graphics goes to the Sandler Phillips Center
Cover photo by REVOLT on Unsplash