Forget about the Senate race. Georgia’s big battle is for governor in 2014 … and the stakes are much higher than simply winning West Paces Ferry’s big house.
For Georgia Democrats to return to political relevancy, Jason Carter has to become governor this year. Here’s why:
Let’s say Carter wins in 2014. He then has one midterm legislative election (2016) to increase his party’s numbers at the statehouse. That’s also a presidential election year, so turnout is going to be higher than usual.
Then, Carter no doubt runs for reelection in 2018; another legislative election to grow the Democrats’ presence under the Gold Dome.
Let’s also say Carter wins reelection. He then has one final ballot – 2020 – to elect more Democrats to the state House and Senate.
The next political battle? The biggest one of all: the 2020 Census and the new legislative and congressional maps that will come out of that process.
No doubt here; whichever party controls the governor’s mansion and the Gold Dome when those new maps are drawn, controls Georgia’s political future until 2030.
But if Carter loses, Georgia Democrats wander in the wilderness for another decade. Even if a Democrat wins the 2018 governor’s race, that hardly leaves enough time for him or her to make any substantive effort to elect more Democrats to the House or Senate. Democrats won’t regain anything close to a significant political presence in just two years. That effort has to start now.
So if you’re wondering why House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Raphael Warnock are working so hard to register minority voters — and why Secretary of State Brian Kemp is giving them such a hard time about it — look to the 2020 Census. That’s the end game in this year’s elections.
And it’s a big one.