Voters waited over an hour at Henry W. Grady High School in Atlanta on Nov. 6, 2018. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM
Photo: JOHN SPINK / AJC/JOHN SPINK / AJC
Photo: JOHN SPINK / AJC/JOHN SPINK / AJC

The Jolt: In Georgia, Gen X & Co. fueled 2018 election results

The U.S. Census Bureau released national data on Tuesday that helps explain what it called “the historic 11 percentage point increase from the last midterm election in 2014.” From the Washington Post:

The findings illustrate an extraordinary breadth of engagement in the first congressional election since Donald Trump became president, and only four years after turnout hit a 74-year low in 2014, according to the United States Elections Project.

The Census found that 36 percent of citizens ages 18-29 reported voting in last year’s midterm elections, jumping 16 percentage points since 2014 (when turnout was 20 percent) and easily surpassing any midterm election since the 1980s. Turnout also increased sharply among adults ages 30-44, rising from 36 percent in 2014 to 49 percent in 2018.

Our colleague Jennifer Peebles, the AJC’s number-cruncher, took a look at the Census Bureau’s Georgia specific data.

In several age categories, Peebles found, Georgia matched the national 2018 data points. The 18-to-24 age range did show the same level of voting activity as the rest of the nation. Ditto with those between 45 and 64, and 65-plus.

Where Georgia outdid the nation was among younger Gen Xers, millennials – and those near to them.

Nationally, 37% of those between the ages of 25 to 34 voted last November. In Georgia, the figure was 43%. Nationally, 44% of those between the ages of 35 to 44 voted. In Georgia, more than 50% voted.

This Georgia burst of activism has implications for 2020. If you look at the crosstabs of the Journal-Constitution poll published earlier this month, you’ll find that these younger age groups are split when it comes to Gov. Brian Kemp’s approval rating. U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., fares slightly better.

But Stacey Abrams does very well.

*** 

You don’t get more macro/micro than this: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will address a prescription drug abuse summit at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta early this afternoon.

This will be the president’s first visit to Georgia in 2019. Lunchtime movement may be compromised in the area.

But in the print edition of today’s AJC, our colleague Meris Lutz has some more significant news on the drug abuse front:

Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn will withdraw his department from a Cobb drug task force after nearly four decades in order to focus more on drug prevention and intervention efforts…

The change comes as law enforcement leaders across the country reconsider decades of harsh drug enforcement policies, and as Cobb struggles with one of the highest rates of overdose deaths in the state.

 *** 

In 1992, Robin Shahar was a young lawyer who was offered a job in the office of Attorney General Michael Bowers. That offer was rescinded when Bowers learned that Shahar was a lesbian about to marry another woman. The attorney general cited Georgia’s anti-sodomy law.

Shahar sued and lost, but became known as a pioneer within Atlanta’s LGBT community. Which amplifies this news from Project Q:

A former City of Atlanta attorney filed a federal lawsuit claiming that longtime LGBTQ activist Robin Shahar, while chief counsel for the city’s law department, sexually harassed and touched her inappropriately.

Former senior assistant city attorney Tamara Baines is suing Shahar and the city, claiming that she was fired for complaining about Shahar’s alleged actions to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The lawsuit was filed in January, and is only now coming to light. Shahar retired 10 days later, the article states, ending a 25-year career with the city.

***

Via Twitter, state Sen. Renee Unterman, a Republican currently contemplating a Seventh District run for Congress, threw some side-eye this morning in the direction of Lynne Homrich, the former Home Depot executive who has jumped in ahead of her. Wrote Unterman:

“Maybe that Buckhead lady running for #7thCongressional district might need some directions to #Cumming #Lawrenceville; turn on that Mercedes GPS for I-85 north or GA 400, be glad to show you around” 

***

A thick packet labeled “2019 Congressional District Census” landed in thousands of Georgia mailboxes this week.But it wasn’t from the federal government. It was from the GOP.

The questions started with a few softballs, asking residents how strongly they identify as a Republican and whether they’d support Trump. (One of our tipsters, an avowed Democrat, scrawled in “hell no.”)

Other questions: 

-- Do you believe the national media has a strong bias against all things Donald Trump and Republican and fails to tell America’s voters the real facts about Republican policies, principles, goals and accomplishments? 

-- Do you think “political correctedness” has gotten out of hand? 

-- Do you think the Democratic Party as a whole is promoting a Socialist agenda for America? 

-- Do you support the Democrats’ call to raise taxes as high as 70%? 

And, under a foreign policy section, this one: 

Should the U.S. take a more muscular attitude toward Russia and China as they move to establish themselves as military and economic superpowers? 

Curiously, there was no question that asked whether recipients were U.S. citizens.

***

Stacey Abrams and Valerie Jarrett held a sold-out discussion at the Carter Center on Tuesday night. They did not commit news, but it was good conversation nonetheless. 

Abrams’ self-imposed April deadline to decide on a U.S. Senate run is nearing, and she offered little hint about her next step. But let’s speculate anyway:

Abrams will say in a few days that she won’t run for Senate and will stay initially neutral in that evolving contest but will say she will forcefully back whoever emerges as the nominee. Importantly, she also won’t rule out a bid for president, giving herself until late this year to make up her mind. 

From here, we can speculate further that she won’t end up running - but will end up on the vice-presidential short list for the candidate who survives. 

And if she doesn’t wind up on a ticket - or in a Cabinet post if a Democrat wins - then she will be free to pursue her primary ambition: A rematch against Gov. Brian Kemp in 2022. 

***

Jamie Dupree of WSB Radio, the Washington correspondent who lost his voice during the 2016 presidential campaign, is the star of this video on what he’s done to make do ever since:

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