Look Who Marched in Gwinnett’s Memorial Day Parade

May 26, 2014 15:06 pm

by Jon Richards · 9 comments

Four years ago, Republican candidates for Governor, including Nathan Deal, Karen Handel, John Oxendine and Eric Johnson spent their Memorial Day morning marching in the Dacula Memorial Day Parade. It’s one of the biggest in the state, lasting over an hour and a half from beginning to end of the mile long route.

Jason Carter waves to potential voters at the 2014 Dacula Memorial Day Parade

Jason Carter waves to potential voters at the 2014 Dacula Memorial Day Parade

The candidates marched in the parade because Dacula is in the heart of vote rich Gwinnett County. The concentration of Republican votes in one of the most populous counties in Georgia made the parade a must-attend.

Another candidate for Governor made an appearance in the 2014 edition of the parade, tucked between the Gwinnett Republican Party and the Jody Hice for Congress campaign. This time, though, the candidate was Democrat Jason Carter. Some longtime observers noted this appeared to be the first time a Democrat has participated in the parade, much less the Democratic candidate for Governor.

Jason Carter’s appearance in a Gwinnett Memorial Day parade was not by accident. We suspect he would have been welcomed at almost any event or parade held today. Elsewhere, Stefan tells you about a new poll that has Carter with a substantial lead over Governor Deal. His attendance tells us the Democrats think the Gwinnett County vote could be up for grabs, and that Gwinnett will play a major role in determining which party wins the Governor’s race in November.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

The Last Democrat in Georgia May 26, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Mr. Richards, you are so very-correct that Jason Carter’s appearance in Gwinnett at a Memorial Day parade in the heart of TEA Party country in Dacula was not by accident.

One interesting thing to note about Gwinnett County is that even though the county is a GOP stronghold (the GOP received more votes in Gwinnett than in any other county in Georgia other than Cobb in the 2012 Presidential Election, and the GOP received the most votes in Gwinnett in the 2010 Gubernatorial Election), racial and ethnic minorities made up 58% of Gwinnett’s population as of 2012 (…racial and ethnic minorities only made up about 10% of Gwinnett’s population in 1990).

Another interesting thing to note is that as of 2012, racial and ethnic minorities made up 59% of the student body at the local high school (Dacula High School) in Dacula, which is a center of activity and hotbed for the Tea Party movement.

There have also been a series of ethics scandals and missteps by Republican politicians within the county’s GOP-dominated political scene, which has somewhat slightly-dampened enthusiasm for the party by GOP voters.

It is because of those factors (Gwinnett County’s increasingly minority-dominated demographics and multiple GOP ethics scandals and missteps) that a liberal Democrat politician like Jason Carter thinks that he has a chance to garner general election votes in one of the most-reliably Republican counties in Georgia.

David C May 26, 2014 at 9:53 pm

Also of note is while Gwinnett County is still a Republican county, like Cobb it’s becoming less and less of one. (Republicans know it too–that’s why they split it up in redistricting). In 2012 it went for Romney 54-47. In 2008, it went for McCain 55-44. So even as Obama’s margin of victory shrunk by half nationally, he still lost Gwinnett by less than he did four years ago. In between those elections, Deal won the county 57-38 while winning the state 53-43. Even then, Gwinnett isn’t what it used to be as a Republican stronghold: In 2002, while winning the state 51-46 Sonny won Gwinnett 60-37. Even Guy Millner would win the county 60-35 in 1998 while losing statewide by 8 points. In terms of raw votes they’re still the most Republican counties in the state, but the ability to give the GOP big raw margins that help overwhelm the big margins Dems are able to run up in Fulton and Dekalb are shrinking. Anything that Carter and Nunn can do that make a midterm electorate more like a Presidential one, and push Cobb and Gwinnett closer to being swing counties the way other inner suburban counties like Douglas, Henry, Rockdale, and Newton have become, the easier their job will be in November.

Jane May 26, 2014 at 8:05 pm

The fact the GOP dominant the Gwinnett government is evidence that good government minorities fleeing the poor schools in DeKald, Clayton and the high taxes and government mismanaged of Fulton are willing to support the GOP in a well run county like Gwinnett.

Dave Bearse May 26, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Jane, I think Gwinnett a well run county, but the luster of a good government reputation is distinctly tarnished.

The County paying too much for park land (beyond overpayment connected to bribery), the Atlanta Braves suckering the County for north of $10,000,000, Sheriff’s deputy arresting a sober Chairman Bannister for DUI, Bannister resigning as a result of grand jury testimony, Lassiter in prison for bribery, Kenerly awaiting trial on bribery…..

Indeed the parade took place where a Gwinnett County city councilman is facing charges for $11,000 in personal purchases on a government purchasing card.

The Last Democrat in Georgia May 26, 2014 at 9:29 pm

It is also somewhat highly-doubtful how much electoral support minorities currently give to the GOP power structure in Gwinnett.

That’s because I’ve seen numbers cited that say that minorities currently only make up about 15% of the Gwinnett County electorate…that’s even though minorities make up nearly 60% of Gwinnett County’s population.

Jane May 27, 2014 at 1:59 am

Gwinnett especially where I live is overwhelmingly Hispanic with many Asians. Significant number of the Hispanic residents are not citizens and voter participation of those Hispanics and Asians who are American citizens is very low. Very very few vote in primaries, so it is hard to measure partisanship among non black minorities. My gut is nonblack minorities vote in general elections like their neighbors. Middle class Koreans in Duluth support the GOP. Working class Hispanics in Norcross support the Dems.

John Konop May 27, 2014 at 6:57 am

Some data points:

1) Asian and Latinos voters are up around 300 percent from 2004 to 2012….This rate of growth we will start seeing thier voice more and more….

2) interracial marriage is exploding at the same time…Which only hurts the GOP more via the Phil Kent culture war style spewing…Great majority of peoople have friends and family now married interracially…..

Irroniically I heard about the Phil Kent hate call….first from 2 white male exceutives married to minorities…..I am sure they told many friends and family beyound me. I am sure Carter knows this a big card on his side…..With the above happening that is why most experts are predicting Georgia is a swing state by 2020….Unless the GOP reaches out….and elimantes the Phil Kent style spewing it will only be time….Deal should dump Kent via the call….it would help him….I still think Deal will win….but for the future a clear stamens needs to be made that the GOP will not tolerate that behavior…..

Jackster May 27, 2014 at 7:08 am

We also love our SPLOST money, so much so that our recent SPLOST wish (not project) list was so expansive that it was not finalized until May (a month after tax collection started). The ESPLOST also has given a nod to unchecked capital spending for tablets and curriculum licensing.

It seems as though lower taxes result in under funded services/investments.

However, I don’t think a Democratic Gov / party dominance would change this – the chamber will adapt to whomever is in office.

Mrs. Adam Kornstein May 27, 2014 at 11:37 am

Last time I marched in Gwinnett with a Democratic Candidate was 2006, the parents encouraged the children to throw the candy back at us, ah good times pelted with mints by gods gentle people in Gwinnett.