Stickers being handed out at a rally to announce the ATL Counts Census 2020 campaign at the Atlanta City Hall earlier this spring. EMILY HANEY / emily.haney@ajc.com
Photo: Emily Haney/emily.haney@ajc.com
Photo: Emily Haney/emily.haney@ajc.com

The Jolt: Georgia could be majority-minority by 2028

Every newspaper needs a number-cruncher, someone who can dive into a sea of digits and pop up with the stuff that matters. Jennifer Peebles does that for the AJC. This morning, we point you to a series of Twitter posts on new U.S. Census data she’s come across. The first:

The new #Census data … shows Georgia dropped to just 54.1% white/non-Latino, a drop of 0.46 percentage pts from the previous year's data release, & down 3.2 pctg pts from 2010. If that change continues at that rate, Georgia will be majority-minority in about 2028.

But this one is just as interesting:

Some of the suburban counties around Atlanta have been changing rapidly in recent years in terms of their white/minority mix. In the top 10 counties in U.S. that changed the most in that way, 2010-18, you see 4 from GA: Henry, Rockdale, Douglas, Forsyth.

That’s right. In 2010, Forsyth County had a non-white population of 18.7%. The latest estimate is 28.3%. That could have tremendous implications in next year’s Seventh District congressional race. With all the change happening in Gwinnett County, Forsyth has been seen as the bastion that allows Republicans to hang onto that seat, being given up next year by U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville.

And Henry’s 10-point increase in non-white population helps explain this year’s decision by state Rep. Andy Welch, R-McDonough, to resign his seat. More from Peebles:

Clayton Co. is now 89% minority (nonwhite/nonLatino). Up from 84% in 2010. Clayton is the now 20th most-heavily minority county in the US. (Most of the counties above it in the list are in TX).

Then this:

On the other end of the spectrum, Fannin Co. in North Georgia remains the whitest county in the state. It's now 4.4% minority, up from 2.9% in 2010.

Finally, this:

And Chatham County (that's Savannah) is now majority-minority: 50.1% of Chatham's population is nonwhite/non-Latino, up from 49.7% in last year's data release.

The Georgia GOP might want to bump up its minority recruitment efforts.

***

Georgia Republicans are also about to face a tough new debate about new gun restrictions, which have just been endorsed by Gov. Brian Kemp’s hand-picked choice as the state’s top cop. 

This year, a measure sponsored by state Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta, that would have barred domestic abusers from owning guns won unanimous approval in committee, but failed to reach a final vote.

Vic Reynolds, the new director of the GBI, endorsed the initiative this week in an interview with Lisa Hagen of WABE (90.1FM):

“As a former uniformed beat officer myself, and certainly as a prosecutor prosecuting cases involving domestic violence, and now as the director of the GBI, anything we can do that makes officer’s lives safer, we need to do,” Reynolds said.

He said domestic violence calls are among the top most emotional circumstances officers are exposed to.

“If an individual has had a previous domestic violence situation, particularly a conviction, then I think there’s a very strong argument that that individual does not need to have a weapon,” Reynolds said.

Kemp hasn’t taken a definitive stance on the issue, but he’s under pressure to go in the opposite direction and expand gun rights after a campaign where he wielded a shotgun in ads and pledged a tax break on firearms and ammo. 

Jordan, meanwhile, made clear that she plans to revive her bill next year.  “Ready for 2020 session,” she tweeted.

***

This was a little under the radar, but Gov. Brian Kemp has signed onto a letter circulated by the White House on Wednesday, urging congressional leaders to advance President Trump's new trade deal with Mexico and Canada. Kemp was one of 28 governors to call ratification of the agreement "critical to our states as we seek to boost economic development and encourage new investment." 

By our count, this is the first time Kemp has proactively commented about the NAFTA rewrite. 

Other Georgia officials have taken a wait-and-see approach as staffers have pored through the details, although several GOP members of the congressional delegation have signaled they like what they see so far. The big exception has been one of the members of Kemp's administration, Gary Black. The agriculture commissioner has urged lawmakers to oppose it because it doesn’t include new trade protections for the state’s produce industry. 

***

The U.S. Senate voted yesterday to block U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but Georgia's Johnny Isakson and David Perdue were not among the seven Republicans who broke from their party to rebuke the Trump White House.

The duo has largely stuck with the president on foreign policy, even as some of their GOP colleagues have registered anger with Trump’s use of emergency powers to circumvent Congress. 

****

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has abandoned plans to end a U.S. Forest Service job training program after his proposal prompted pushback from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other lawmakers, Politico reports. Cancelling the program, which trains at-risk youths to become first responders, would have led to upwards of 1,000 layoffs. 

***

We aren’t sure if any other political operative in Georgia could pull off this kind of bipartisan display. 

On Thursday, Democrat Tharon Johnson, who in 2012 headed up President Barack Obama’s re-election machine in the South,held a two-year anniversary party for his firm. Republican attendees included Gov. Brian Kemp, House Speaker David Ralston and Cobb CEO Mike Boyce. Among the Democrats: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, former U.N. ambassador Andrew Young and DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond. 

***

It isn't exactly a surprise, but the anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity Action rolled out its endorsement of Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue this morning. "From health care to taxes to veterans’ issues, Perdue has shown that he trusts the people of Georgia to make their own decisions, without someone from Washington telling them what to do," Stephen Allison, a senior adviser for the Koch-affiliated organization, wrote in an op-ed.

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