This morning’s AJC brings us an enterprise story by Greg Bluestein on how the Georgia GOP is trying to broaden its base by organizing county parties in traditionally Democratic areas. The story highlights the effort in the second congressional district’s Quitman County, hard by the Chattahoochee’s Walter F. George Reservoir, south of Columbus.
As Democrats seek to take advantage of an influx of newcomers and a growing tide of minority voters, the GOP is launching a quiet counteroffensive to beef up support in future battlegrounds. And Quitman is one of a handful of places where the party is toiling to build its infrastructure.
The GOP’s goal here goes well beyond swinging control of the County Commission. Party leaders from Gov. Nathan Deal on down acknowledge that Republicans need to make more inroads to minority voters in places such as Quitman, where blacks narrowly outnumber whites.
In the story, those being interviewed admit that it won’t be easy for Republicans to make any progress in this overwhelmingly Democratic county. Some ask why the GOP is even trying.
Maybe it’s because the minority population in Georgia is destined to become an increasing portion of the state’s voters. And unless Republicans try to engage these voters, they will drift to the Democratic party.
Which brings me to the kerfuffle in Georgia’s 10th District runoff, where Democratic leaning voters are being encouraged to go to the polls to support one candidate over the other. We saw a similar situation last month in the Mississippi Senate runoff.
Both Mississippi and Georgia are open primary states, where there is no party registration. Yet in both states, there are complaints about “their” voters participating in “our” election.
If the GOP is to survive as more than a regional party, it will need a bigger tent. That’s what the effort in Quitman County is all about. Isn’t the effort in the 10th district, and especially in Mississippi, the other side of the same coin?