Only one-third of 183,416 new voters describe themselves as white

The good news for Republicans in Georgia: Since March 1, 183,416 new voters have registered, according to Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

That's a good deal less than the number many, including Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, have said is necessary for a statewide Democratic victory on Nov. 4.

In 2012, whites made up 59 percent of the voting population, while black voters hovered around 29 percent. But as the new influx of voters indicates, that ratio is rapidly changing. The new-voter specifics from Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office:

-- White voters: 61,779, or 33.68 percent;

-- African-American voters: 67,500, or 36.8 percent;

-- Hispanic voters: 7,550, or 4.12 percent;

-- Asian/Pacific island: 5,094, or 2.78 percent;

-- Other: 3,865, or 2.11 percent;

-- Unknown: 37,628, or 20.52 percent.

You’ll note that the “unknown” category is quite large. Those voters neglect or refuse to identify themselves by race, a category that has grown significantly in the last few years.

Kemp’s office also put the number of registered voters available for the November election at 6,038,372 – down slightly from 6,077,554 in 2012.

But hold your fire on that number: Our AJC colleague Kristina Torres and friends have been madly crunching this voter registration data and will have some revised voting pool totals – with racial breakdowns – by Wednesday.

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Over on our paid site, we look at the growing Republican efforts to avoid a runoff in the contests for governor and U.S. Senate:

If you needed any proof that Republicans are worried about a looming runoff, look no further than Sunday’s gubernatorial debate.

That’s when Gov. Nathan Deal, instead of lobbing a softball at his Libertarian rival, unloaded a double-barreled attack questioning his support for a Medicaid expansion and criticizing the millions of dollars in federal grants his technology firms accepted.

You can also see the GOP effort to avoid extra innings in this withering TV attack on Democrat Jason Carter just launched by the Republican Governors Association:

On the GOP side of the race for Senate, Brian Baker of Ending Spending, one of the outside groups urging David Perdue across the finish line, said his group will spend roughly $1 million more in Georgia. They have done TV, radio and digital so far. He said he’s confident that Nunn's support "has a ceiling" and Perdue will prevail without a runoff.

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The flyer below landed in the mailboxes of a range of black voters in Georgia over the weekend as Gov. Nathan Deal stepped up his appeal to black voters through his criminal justice overhaul:

We told you last month that Deal would be pitching black voters in particular on the benefits of the overhaul, which was designed to keep more low-level offenders out of prison.

It's part of Deal's attempt to blunt Jason Carter's support among minority voters in the last weeks of the race. The Democrat's campaign hopes to push black turnout to roughly 30 percent of the electorate to unseat Deal.

The governor also hit the same note in the close of Sunday evening's debate:

"We are saving millions of dollars, and we're also saving lives. We've seen our African American population in our prison system drop by about 20 percent. We're going to break the cycle of crime by educating those who have no skills, so that when they get out, they will not commit crimes again."

One recipient told us it was the first time they had seen a GOP mailer featuring a smiling black face on it.

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The Gallup organization tells us why the Ebola virus will be part of the national political conversation through Nov. 4:

As the quarantine period ends for people exposed to the first person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with Ebola, the virus for the first time ranks among the top 10 issues Americans consider to be the most important ones facing the country. However, Ebola still ranks behind five other issues, including the economy (17%), dissatisfaction with government (16%) and unemployment (10%), and ties several others.

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Over at PeachPundit.com, Charlie Harper has these significant paragraphs about the post-November picture among Georgia Republicans:

Looking a bit further down the ballot, however, may well give us a clue as to what the near future of Georgia elections will be like. Casey Cagle is the clear front runner for re-election to Lt. Governor. A recent 11Alive Survey USA poll showed Cagle 7 points ahead of challenger Connie Stokes – the strongest lead of any statewide candidate polled.

Cagle will become the de facto front-runner for the Georgia GOP nomination for Governor regardless how the current Governor’s race ends up. Governor Deal is of course term limited. In the event there is a Governor Carter, it will be Cagle along with House Speaker David Ralston that will be the face of Republican rule.

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Jason Carter's campaign has an answer to the Sandra Deal ads inundating the airwaves:

The Democrat's latest feel-good campaign commercial features his wife, Kate Carter, a journalist-turned-teacher who is steadily ramping up her activity on the campaign trail.

The above 30-second spot, which features Kate praising her husband's daddy skills, is also paired with a new campaign push to "make Kate our next first lady." Carter supporters also received an email from Rosalynn Carter, Jason's grandmother, with this pitch:

"As a former First Lady myself, believe me when I tell you that Kate will be a phenomenal First Lady for our state."

The feel-good spots are a stark contrast to the hard-hitting attack ad Carter's camp unveiled last week questioning how Gov. Nathan Deal turned around his financial fortunes in office.

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Jason Carter's camp is also trying out a new attack line targeting Deal's sale of a salvage yard to Copart, the Texas-based firm locked in a dispute with state tax regulators over as much as $74 million.

The attack pivots on Deal's assertion at Sunday's debate that it isn't the "government that made us successful. It was those of us who worked to make our companies successful."

The Democrat's campaign highlighted the 160-page report by the Office of Congressional Ethics that found Deal may have violated federal ethics laws. Spokesman Bryan Thomas said the salvage yard was no "shining example of American capitalism."

Said Thomas:

"The truth is, Nathan Deal only made money through a wasteful government monopoly and he used his position of power to make sure the state kept the cash flowing into his pockets. Gov. Deal may be a junkyard king, but he used the government to get his crown."

Deal has repeatedly said he sold the salvage yard through a blind trust and was unaware of the firm's tax dispute. He said he wants an independent jurist to hash out the case so there's no appearance of a conflict of interest.

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Emily's List is back on the air in Georgia with this ad hitting Republican U.S. Senate hopeful David Perdue on the equal pay lawsuit against Dollar General, as the group that supports women who favor abortion rights did in August and September:

Politifact has the relevant background here. We're told the group is spending about $500,000 -- on top of its earlier $1 million buy -- to air the spot in Albany, Augusta, Macon and Savannah.

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The Washington Post has designated the Cobb County GOP as its poster child in an article on new GOTV technology being used by Republicans in 2014:

Standing toward the back of the Cobb County Republican Party headquarters, chairman Joe Dendy marvels at the scene.

A clutch of volunteers is handwriting postcard messages to would-be voters — one of the most intimate ways to reach supporters. But he is more intrigued by the other group — young, old, white and black — using new phones that automatically dial numbers from a database and can leave prerecorded voice mails for people who don’t pick up. Another group is out in the neighborhood using a phone app that feeds back information to a database that will keep county and state party officials updated on potential voters.

“We’ve never had anything like this going before,” Dendy said....

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Want to know what David Perdue will be talking about on the stump this week? The president just handed him a new line. From The Hill:

President Obama delivered a blow to Democratic Senate candidates looking to distance themselves from his flagging approval ratings Monday, saying lawmakers avoiding him on the campaign trail were “strong allies and supporters” who have “supported my agenda in Congress.”

The president said that Democrats faced a “tough map” and noted that many Democrats in crucial races “are in states that I didn’t win” during a radio interview with Rev. Al Sharpton.

“And so some of the candidates there — it is difficult for them to have me in the state because the Republicans will use that to try to fan Republican turnout,” Obama said.

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Georgia Tipsheet noticed this stray Twitter message floating around:

The National Federation of Independent Business on Monday demanded GOP state Sen. John McKoon remove or alter his latest campaign commercial after a local official spotted a scene in which the organization’s “Guardian of Small Business Award” was improperly featured.

“@JoshMcKoon I notice a NFIB Award featured prominent in your ad,” NFIB Georgia State Director Kyle Jackson wrote Monday on Twitter. “Since you have not won would appreciate you not using it in your ad.”

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There’s a reason you have to travel to see those grandchildren of yours, according to the New York Times:

The number of college-educated people age 25 to 34 living within three miles of city centers has surged, up 37 percent since 2000, even as the total population of these neighborhoods has slightly shrunk.

Some cities are attracting young talent while their overall population falls, like Pittsburgh and New Orleans. And in a reversal, others that used to be magnets, like Atlanta and Charlotte, are struggling to attract them at the same rate.

Among major U.S. cities, Atlanta has seen only 3 percent growth in its 25-to-34-year-old population, less than any metropolitan area, save for Cleveland and Detroit.

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Very rarely do you see someone pitch himself as a presidential candidate, then demonstrate why he might not get there -- all in the same Associated Press article. First there was this:

Nine Republican governors have expanded Medicaid for low-income people in their states, despite their own misgivings and adamant opposition from conservative legislators. Three more governors are negotiating with the Democratic administration in Washington.

Rather than demanding repeal, the governors generally have sought federal concessions to make their decisions more politically acceptable at home. That approach is in sharp contrast to the anti-Obamacare fervor of their party in Congress.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he doesn't think there will be a repeal in Washington, even if Republicans win a Senate majority and consolidate their hold on the House in next month's election.

"That's not gonna happen," the Republican governor told The Associated Press during a recent re-election campaign swing.

And then came the update:

Kasich called The Associated Press Monday night to clarify that he was speaking specifically about a repeal of Medicaid expansion and not of the entire Affordable Care Act __ although opponents in Washington don't usually draw such distinctions.

He said he believes the ACA "can and should" be repealed, but that opposition to the Medicaid expansion "was really either political or ideological," adding, "I don't think that holds water against real flesh and blood and real improvements in people's lives."

About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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