As Republicans — led by former President Trump — peddled lies about a stolen election and rampant voter fraud post-November, Georgia still had two runoff elections to conduct. And there was much speculation at the time about whether the Big Lie might actually harm Republican chances in the state.
The races, of course, couldn’t have been more crucial to the GOP — Democratic wins in both of the runoff Senate races effectively gave Democrats control of both chambers of Congress, with a 50-50 split in the Senate and Vice President Kamala Harris acting as tie-breaker.
Nearly 4.5 million people voted in Georgia during the Jan. 5 runoff election that gave victories to Democrats Sen. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, a half million less than the turnout in the November presidential election.
It looks more and more like Republicans screwed themselves by latching onto — or not combatting — Trump’s democracy-dismantling crusade. We suspected this was going to happen in the run-up to the election, we got a little more proof afterwards, and, now, we’ve got some more.
Decreased turnout for a runoff election compared to a presidential election is normal. But, according to an analysis of precinct data conducted by Georgia Public Broadcasting, Ossoff’s and Warnock’s victories were largely due to an increase in Black voter turnout in metro Atlanta and southwest parts of the state. Importantly, the analysis also found that there was a substantial decline in white rural Republican voter turnout across the state, especially in the precincts where Trump won in November.
Of the 1,387 precincts that Trump won in the 2020 election, voter turnout dropped by 310,000 people, with a 9 percent drop in white voter turnout. Of the 1,261 precincts that Biden won in Georgia in November, 220,000 fewer people voted with white votes dropping by 7 percent and Black votes dropping by 6.4 percent, according to GPB.
It’s a fear that the GOP expressed in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 5 runoff, as Trump attacked vote-by-mail and the democratic process, and while his allies launched legal efforts to overturn the results of the election.
When you play with fire, etc.
Here’s more on other stories we’re following today.
What The Investigations Team Is Following
Josh Kovensky is writing about RonJon’s latest bizarre COVID-19 take: refusing to get vaccinated because he already had the virus.
Tierney Sneed continues to follow the voting legislation in Arizona and the Maricopa County audit, as well as other voting restrictions laws being introduced across the country.
What The Breaking News Team Is Following
- If you’re struggling with the online dating scene right now, take comfort in the fact that you probably didn’t get turned over to the feds for allegedly participating in the Capitol attack by one a person you matched with.
- Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) rallied around Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) on Thursday, saying he would support her reelection campaign “in a heartbeat” if she ran again in 2022 as Trump and her own state GOP vows to take her down with a primary challenger.
- Employees at the D.C.-based think tank that hired accused sexual harasser Mark Halperin as a consultant are angry about the hire. One staffer is even considering quitting the company altogether.
- Trump ranted last night that basketball star LeBron James was being “racist” and “divisive” for calling out the cop who fatally shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Ohio.
- It’s unclear why Trump, the crown king of racist remarks and divisive rhetoric, decided to weigh in on this issue or who he thinks he’s fooling by pretending to care about racism. Slow day at Mar-a-Lago, maybe.
If You Read Anything On COVID-19 Today, Read This
Josh Kovensky and Kate Riga
On The Agenda
9:15 a.m. ET: Biden delivered remarks and participated in the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate Session 5: The Economic Opportunities of Climate Action.
9:25 a.m. ET: Harris traveled to Plymouth and Concord, New Hampshire to speak on Biden’s infrastructure plan
11:00 a.m. ET: Biden received the daily presidential brief.
11:00 a.m. ET: White House COVID-19 response team and public health officials held a press briefing.
11:30 a.m. ET: White House press secretary Jen Psaki held a press briefing with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
11:55 a.m. ET: Harris held a listening session at New Hampshire Electric Cooperative in Plymouth, New Hampshire on broadband and Biden’s infrastructure plan.
1:45 p.m. ET: Biden will receive his weekly economic briefing.
2:45 p.m. ET: Biden will participate in a virtual conference with Defense Department leadership in the Situation Room.
4:45 p.m. ET: Harris will return to D.C. from New Hampshire.