The Jolt: Georgia Democrats’ 2022 Playbook

News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
May 4, 2021 Byromville - Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock speaks to supporters at JibbÕs Vineyard in Byromville on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Hyosub Shin /



May 4, 2021 Byromville - Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock speaks to supporters at JibbÕs Vineyard in Byromville on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Hyosub Shin /

Georgia Democrats released their post-election analysis this morning, and it’s different from the GOP version, which focused heavily on “election integrity” and hardly mentioned the party’s devastating defeats in the 2020 presidential election and two U.S. Senate contests.

Over the Democrats’ 15-page report, the party lays out reams of data, charts, and specific tactics that it says tell the story of how the party won its victories in the November presidential election and the two January U.S. Senate runoffs.

But it also includes lessons for 2022, when Democrats hope to defend U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock’s seat and also win the governor’s office for the first time since 1998.

“The lesson from Georgia is that we can no longer afford for state parties and campaigns to wait to build up their infrastructure or postpone strategic decision-making until the months before Election Day in November,” said party executive director Scott Hogan.

It’s the type of strategy Georgia leaders believe can be exported to other states, particularly Republican-leaning strongholds in the South.

The party hosted phone banks involving as many as 16 languages, and a “Voter Protection Hotline” that allowed Georgians to ask questions about the balloting process was available in seven languages. Some $1.5 million was spent on “in-language advertising.”

The party’s analysis showed Joe Biden had an 8-point edge over Donald Trump in absentee balloting, contributing to his narrow victory. Turnout among younger voters spiked in 2020, and Black turnout surpassed 66% -- up about 4 percentage points from the 2016 election.

Other parts of the report detail efforts to engage voters of color, fight back against misinformation and rebuild hollowed-out Democratic grassroots organizations in rural Georgia.

But it ultimately boils the party’s strategy down to four words: “Organize year-round. Compete everywhere.”



Gov. Brian Kemp has OK’d the purchase of more than 2,000 acres in Bryan County, the largest strategic land purchase in state history, the Savannah Morning News reports.

The land will be developed as a “megasite,” to lure a large-scale manufacturer to the area and all of the jobs that would come with it.

The News reports the money for the deal came from the $62 million the state made on the sale of a tract of land to Amazon for the online giant to build a distribution facility in Chatham County.



Outrage over Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s statements has again drawn condemnation from top Republicans in the U.S. House, but there are no signs their outrage will lead to any discipline.

Greene, R-Rome, has spent five days comparing mask requirements and COVID vaccination efforts to the persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazis. On Tuesday, she tweeted that schools and businesses that require proof of vaccination were no different from Nazis forcing Jewish people to wear gold stars.

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both blasted Greene’s statements as inaccurate and “appalling.” But McConnell said it was up to McCarthy to decide if Greene should be punished; McCarthy was silent on that.

On the Democratic side, the Chicago Sun Times reported that Illinois Democrat Brad Schneider is drafting a resolution to censure Greene for her comments about the Holocaust. Georgia’s U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, D-Atlanta, has already introduced a measure to censure the congresswoman, but it has not been put to a vote.

The shock at Greene’s comments spread past Capitol Hill Tuesday.

The U.S. Holocaust Museum tweeted about the danger of Holocaust analogies. “Simplistic comparisons to the Holocaust don’t help us understand the past or the present. These kinds of analogies demean the memory of the victims.”


U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff is pushing for legislation to either seal or expunge the records of nonviolent juvenile offenders in federal cases.

The bill, the First Step Implementation Act of 2021, is sponsored by Illinois Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin and Iowa Republican Charles Grassley.

It would be retroactive, meaning it would apply to people currently in prison, as well as those sentenced in the future. It would also allow for courts to reduce the sentences of juvenile offenders if they have already served 20 years in prison.

Ossoff sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and campaigned on a platform that included criminal justice reform.


All six Democratic members of Georgia’s U.S. House delegation have penned a second letter related to the backlog of residents applying for unemployment benefits through the state’s system.

The latest letter, to state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, asks Butler to explain the delays in his department. The lawmakers also take issue with the state’s recent decision to withdraw from the federal program that gave people who lost their jobs during the pandemic an extra $300 per week.

“Even with a recovering economy, the state has processed about 140,000 new jobless claims every month since March, exceeding pre-pandemic levels,” the letter says. “Recent reports also place the GDOL backlog of benefits claims at around 80,000 that have yet to be decided.”

The lawmakers, along with Sens.Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, previously wrote to the U.S. Department of Labor in March to request that the Department perform an audit of unemployment system delays.



Former House Speaker (and former Georgian) Newt Gingrich is dusting off his 1994 Contract with America in an effort to once again help Republicans win back the House majority, Politico reports.

The original document was at the center of Republicans’ successful takeover of the House during the Clinton Administration, when the GOP picked up 52 House seats to win control of the chamber for the first time in more than 40 years.

Republicans need to flip just five seats to win back control next year. So Gingrich and, who else, former President Donald Trump have been huddling at Mar-a-Lago to update the 1994 effort with more timely, and more Trumpian themes like “abolishing the 1619 Project,” the New York Times’ project on the history of slavery in America.

It isn’t the first time Gingrich has tried to squeeze the last of the victory juice from the Contract.

In 2011, he released the “21st Century Contract with America,” to boost his flagging presidential campaign. That document called the Affordable Care Act “stunningly unfair” and promised to “rein in lawless judges.”


A heavyweight outsider just got in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Jody Hice in a conservative northeast Georgia congressional district.

Matt Richards announced Wednesday that he’ll run for the seat vacated by Hice, who earlier this year launched a campaign for secretary of state.

We’re told Richards, who owns a demolition firm, is ready to unload at least $1 million of his own money to win the seat.

His announcement might as well have been a sledgehammer: It said he would use his business background to “wreck the left and rebuild this country” with former President Donald Trump’s American First agenda.

Others in the race include former U.S. Rep. Paul Broun and state Rep. Timothy Barr. Mike Collins, who was narrowly defeated by Hice in the 2014 GOP runoff, is also expected to launch a bid.


A day after GOP state Sen. Butch Miller announced he is running for lieutenant governor, Hall County Commissioner Shelly Echols launched her campaign for the state Senate seat to succeed him.



A tense showdown took place in Cobb County Tuesday night between County Commission chairwoman Lisa Cupid and the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, the Marietta Daily Journal reports.

At issue is a recent zoning decision greenlighting a 38-unit condominium development over the objections of nearby Dobbins Air Force Base and the Cobb Chamber. The Chamber has warned the project could endanger the base in a future round of base closure considerations, since the condos will sit inside Dobbins’ “Accident Potential Zone.”


“In the final minutes of the meeting, Cupid accused the Cobb Chamber of a failure to communicate with commissioners, saying, “This is not the partnership I expected.”

Cupid also spoke out on behalf of the other members of the Cobb Commission.

“It bothers me that these women up here who do what they do every day to prepare, and to plan, and to serve, to be viewed as if they consider this county any less than their predecessors—who made decisions that impacted flight operations at Dobbins,” Cupid said, shortly before adjourning the meeting for the night.

Commissioners Jerica Richardson and Monique Sheffield were elected in 2020, flipping the board to Democrats for the first time since the 1980s.


In the personnel department, Maggie Chambers, who most recently served as the main spokeswoman for the Democratic Party of Georgia, has a new job.

She will serve as the first executive director of the Georgia branch of Emerge Georgia, an organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office.

Local alumnae of the program include U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, state Senator and attorney general candidate Jen Jordan and state Rep. Becky Evans.

Prior to her work for the party, Chambers worked in research and communications for Stacey Abrams’ 2018 gubernatorial campaign.


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