“We didn’t lose,” she wrote on social media shortly after the final votes were tallied. “We simply delayed the inevitable. MARTA is coming to Gwinnett.”
More: Gwinnett's MARTA referendum has failed
The intense attention still helped surpass turnout expectations on both sides of the transit debate. And it drew what data suggest is an older, whiter electorate than the more diverse bloc of voters who cast ballots in November.
The vote lost despite the support from some of the bigger names in Gwinnett County politics, including commission chair Charlotte Nash, who signed off on the idea to hold the vote during a special election. The sheriff and district attorney, some of the longest-serving Republicans in the county, also backed it.
Gov. Nathan Deal endorsed the expansion, too, as did Stacey Abrams, who used her political celebrity to push the vote in a radio ad. And the Democratic Party of Georgia deployed staffers across the county, with some of the state’s best-known operatives hired to promote the referendum.
One name missing from the back-and-forth: Gov. Brian Kemp, who stayed on the sidelines. Pressed hours before the vote his stance on the initiative, he would only allow that the results would be “interesting.”
“I haven’t taken a position in any of the elections going on now,” he said. “I’ve been busy being governor.”