Last night, several special elections happened in various legislative districts in the states of Georgia, Alabama, and Wisconsin. After the results came in, a common theme was apparent: Republicans had overperformed compared to the 2020 election.
Yet, it was the Georgia election that raised the most eyebrows. In a suburban Atlanta district that saw its Republican vote share hit an all-time low just under a year ago, voters swung 22 points further toward the GOP yesterday.
Devan Seabaugh (R) has won GA-LD-34 by a 63-37 margin. This is a 22-point improvement on Trump’s all-time low margin in this suburban Atlanta seat.
— RRH Elections (@RRHElections) July 14, 2021
Now, because these special election results heavily favored Republicans, the media will not use them as a bellwether. Further, I’m not saying they are dispositive of what will happen in 2022. Yet, it is relevant to note the shifts we continue to see in these special elections regarding suburban districts where the GOP saw big vote share losses in 2018 and 2020. These are the places that will deliver a Republican majority next year if that is to happen.
In other words, there’s a lot for Democrats to be worried about here, especially in a state like Georgia where they had convinced themselves the tide has permanently shifted. But you don’t have to take my word for any of this. Stacey Abrams’ organization put out a response to last night’s elections and the fear is palpable.
We are proud of Priscilla Smith for the campaign she ran and proud of #HD34 voters. While the Georgia GOP’s spin factory kicks into high gear, they continue running scared of the voters of color across the state who defeated them last November and again in January. #gapol
— Fair Fight (@fairfightaction) July 14, 2021
Yes, Republicans won a Republican district — by 22 points more than they did a year ago. Those kinds of shifts don’t stay isolated in single districts. Rather, you tend to see a linear regression or progression of vote share across a state in a major election. If this district shifted 22 points, even in a special election, it’s likely the swing districts will see some shift rightward in the next election, albeit smaller. But smaller is all Republicans need to win big in 2022. The margins were already razor-thin in Georgia.
The fundamentals are just terrible for Democrats going forward. Redistricting alone may be enough to deliver the House to the GOP, but if we continue to see suburban voters return to their normal voting patterns, things could develop into an absolute blowout, including Raphael Warnock losing his seat after just two years in office. Couple that with Georgia’s new voter security bill hopefully stopping a lot of the shenanigans in Fulton County, and things start to look very different in the state than they did last year.
Democrats obviously aren’t sure how to respond, and that’s shown by the Abrams and her cohorts sticking their collective head in the ground. Hopefully, they keep it there.