This piece originally ran Dec. 4
Daily Kos Elections’ project to calculate the results of the 2018 Senate and gubernatorial elections broken down by congressional district has Georgia on its mind. As with past cycles, we'll be releasing data after states certify their final results. You can find each state's certification deadlines at Ballotpedia, and you can also find our complete set of data from this and previous cycles at Daily Kos.
Georgia's race for governor saw Republican Brian Kemp narrowly edge Democrat Stacey Abrams 50-49 in an election marred by Kemp's aggressive efforts to suppress the vote in his role as secretary of state. But despite the taint left by Kemp, whom Abrams rightly criticized for "eight years of systemic disenfranchisement, disinvestment and incompetence," the results are still illuminating.
Abrams did better than both Barack Obama, who lost Georgia 53-46 in 2012, and Hillary Clinton, who lost the state 51-46. Abrams carried the same four safely blue congressional districts that both Democratic presidential nominees took, as well as two suburban Atlanta seats, the 6th and 7th Districts. That same night, the 6th flipped from red to blue, while GOP Rep. Rob Woodall narrowly held on in the neighboring 7th. At the start of the decade, Republican mapmakers had drawn both seats to be safely red, but they weren’t prepared for the big political changes the Trump era brought to these once-reliably red suburbs.
We’ll start with a look at the 6th, a district that, shall we say, has gotten its share of attention over the last two years.
Abrams carried the seat 51.0-47.5, while Democrat Lucy McBath unseated GOP Rep. Karen Handel 50.5-49.5. This was safely Republican turf just six years ago, and Mitt Romney beat Obama 61-37 here. But this well-educated seat did not react well to Donald Trump, and he carried it only 48-47.
The next year, the district hosted the most expensive House race in American history, but Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff 52-48. Some observers mockingly asked afterwards how Democrats could take the House in 2018 if they couldn’t win Georgia’s 6th in 2017, but Abrams and McBath proved that local Republicans still had further to fall here.
We’ll turn next to the 7th District, which Abrams took 50.0-48.6. While the seat had moved from 60-38 Romney to just 51-45 Trump, Woodall never felt threatened by well-funded Democratic opponent Carolyn Bourdeaux. In fact, the incumbent barely campaigned and only went up with his first TV ad days before the election. Woodall ended up hanging on just 50.08-49.93, a margin of just 419 votes, making this the closest House race in the nation. A win is a win, but his weak showing and Abrams victory here gives us plenty of reasons to think that, whether or not Woodall is ready, Team Blue will be on the offensive here in 2020.
Kemp had little trouble winning Georgia’s other eight seats, all of which are held by Republican members of Congress. The closest Abrams came to carrying any of these seats was her 56-43 defeat in the 1st District, which includes Savannah as well as the rest of the Georgia coast. Trump took the 1st by a similar 56-41 margin, and GOP Rep. Buddy Carter won his third term 58-42. The closest Obama/Clinton seat was the 2nd District in the southwestern part of the state, which Abrams won 56-44 and Clinton took 55-43. Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop had no trouble winning a 14th term 60-40 here.