Abrams, Warnock courting voters in Georgia’s rural, GOP-heavy terrain

Abrams, Warnock courting voters in Georgia’s rural, GOP-heavy terrain

Abrams, Warnock courting voters in Georgia’s rural, GOP-heavy terrain

  • Stacey Abrams and Raphael Warnock try to court voters in Georgia’s rural, GOP-friendly counties.
  • According to an AJC report, Abrams spoke this week about the increase in Democratic support in southwestern Georgia.
  • Democrats have made big gains in Georgia in recent years, thanks in large part to their support in the Atlanta area.

In 2018, Georgia’s then-Democratic governor-candidate Stacey Abrams campaigned extensively in the Atlanta metropolitan area, where the party began to maximize its power in the city proper and cement large gains in the densely populated suburbs.

But Abrams also campaigned in rural Georgia, where Republican electoral margins — coupled with the GOP’s longtime power in the Atlanta suburbs — had given the state a conservative veneer for decades.

In an effort to appeal to rural Georgia, Abrams pushed the issue of Medicaid expansion as she warned of the dangers of hospital closures, which leave residents in many of the state’s least populous regions highly vulnerable in case of health emergencies.

Four years later, Abrams is campaigning again in rural Georgia, but this time Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock has also raided Republican territories, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Abrams will be in a rematch against Republican government leader Brian Kemp, who she narrowly lost in 2018, largely due to his overwhelming success in rural areas. Kemp’s rural margins, coupled with his out-of-town support, overcame Abrams’ strong performance in the Atlanta area and metropolitan regions, including Columbus and Savannah.

She lost statewide by about 55,000 votes out of nearly 4 million votes cast.

During a recent campaign stop in Camilla, Georgia, a town of about 5,200 in Mitchell County in southwestern Georgia, the Journal-Constitution reported that Abrams had told the crowd that he had seen the increase in crude votes for Democrats in the region in recent years. had noticed.

“I know people have been paying a lot of attention to the numbers coming out of metro Atlanta, but I’ve seen the numbers soar here in southwest Georgia,” she said at the event.

The party is eager to build on their gains from the 2020 cycle, when now-President Joe Biden carried the state, and Warnock and now-Democrat Senator Jon Ossoff the then-GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue declined in two separate Januarys. Elections 2021.

Raphael Warnock

sen. Raphael Warnock addresses attendees at the Democratic Party of Georgia convention in Columbus, Georgia, August 27, 2022.

AP Photo/Jeff Amy

Warnock — who is in the midst of a tough reelection contest against Republican nominee and Wrightsville native Herschel Walker — reached out to rural voters of faith in his first race.

As the senior pastor of Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Once a copastor, he has sought to connect with a demographic that has not always been courted by the state party in the past — as they often target areas where they could maximize their votes.

But in statewide races, even the slightest increase in a few of Georgia’s 159 counties can shift a race to a particular candidate.

Warnock held an event Tuesday in Republican-dominated Coweta County, where he won 32% of the vote in the runoff election with Loeffler last year. (In 2018, Abrams got 29% of the vote in Coweta and Biden got 31.5% of the vote nationwide two years later.)

“The job description is to represent all people in the state,” Warnock told a crowd in the county seat of Newnan, according to the Journal-Constitution. “You can’t represent all the people in the state if you don’t want to talk to them.”

However, Republicans, including GOP Agriculture Commissioner nominee Tyler Harper, are not giving up any ground for Democratic efforts.

“Actions speak louder than words – and no matter how many times Stacey Abrams takes the call, Brian Kemp and I have walked the walk for rural Georgia,” he told the paper. “And that’s why we’re going to win in November.”

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