Governor Nathan Deal seems to be making a conscious effort to actively engage with African Americans and Young Adults / Millennials, two voter demographics for which the GOP is generally considered to lack appeal. The Governor made two back-to-back campaign stops Tuesday night to address a few voters from these groups, Young Professionals for Deal and Political Cocktails.
While Young Professionals for Deal was an event affiliated with the Deal campaign, Political Cocktails was hosted by Cory Ruth, a young African American businessman in Atlanta and a former candidate for US Congress and the Fulton County Commission’s 3rd District. This event saw a good number of prominent African American business owners, entrepreneurs and community leaders in attendance. The Governor answered questions from the attendees on minority-owned small business growth, jobs, school choice and criminal justice reform.
Governor Deal’s stances on school choice and criminal justice reform drew a lot of positive feedback from his audience. Last week, Deal announced his support for exploring the adoption of a state-wide charter school district similar to Louisiana’s Recovery School District. Eric did a break-down analysis of what this model could look like in Georgia. Moreover, a recent poll conducted by the Economics of Education Policy Center at Georgia College and State University shows that African American support for School Choice programs in Georgia is slightly higher than that of the rest of the state (especially among lower and middle-income African Americans).
As far as Criminal Justice is concerned, a recent Atlanta Daily World article notes black incarceration rates have dramatically fallen (19% for males and 33% for females) under Governor Deal’s tenure.
Do you think the Governor’s efforts to engage with African Americans will pay off come November? If not, what will it take from him to win over a significant amount of the African American voter base in Georgia?