White voters dominated Georgia’s election last month

Happy or sad about last month’s Republican election surge at the polls? You can thank Georgia’s white voters.

New turnout numbers released Tuesday by the Secretary of State's Office highlighted the continuing dominance by white voters, who cast nearly two-thirds of the ballots this fall despite their share of Georgia's registered electorate having dipped to historic lows. The numbers, broken down by race and ethnicity, show no real surprises, but some overarching gems can be gleaned from the data:

28.6% — African-American voters saw their highest turnout ever in a midterm, but an increase of less than 1 percent from the last midterm in 2010 wasn’t the surge Democrats needed. It also likely highlights a gap over individual candidates or issues such as immigration. “A midterm election with an unpopular president probably made it harder,” said Kerwin Swint, chairman of the political science department at Kennesaw State University.

63.5% — White voters continued to dominate turnout, although their numbers actually decreased from four years ago when 66 percent of people who cast ballots were white. Back then, whites made up 61.6 percent of registered voters. Coming into Election Day this year, registered white voters had fallen to less than 58 percent — after slipping under 60 percent for the first time in state history two years ago.

44.7% — The increase over four years ago of a growing pool of voters who declined to identify themselves by race or ethnicity or instead chose to be identified as "other." Less likely to be white, 154,428 voters in this pool cast ballots this fall, vs. 106,691 four years ago. Political leaders in Georgia made a point this year to broaden their efforts and take more time to reach voters, and at least one side thinks it paid off. "When the numbers started coming in on Election Day, you could see the strategy — which was not to wait until a month before Election Day to put together a get-out-the-vote effort — worked," state GOP spokesman Ryan Mahoney said. "When you get out and are establishing relationships with voters, you open up that communication."

0 — The number of statewide seats won by Democrats this year. The party “is now looking at the numbers and at where the efforts were made for voter turnout and where they overlap,” state Democratic Party Chairman DuBose Porter said ahead of a Jan. 31 contest to pick a new statewide party leader. That analysis, he added, “will provide the information for developing the blueprint for success in 2016.”