7:03 p.m.: If you don’t want to drink by yourself, wondering whether you’re an alcoholic, while you watch the returns, there are at least a couple of parties happening tonight. The official Clarke County Democratic Committee bash is at The Bar Formerly Known As the Melting Point, and another group, Drinking Liberally, is gathering at Normal Bar. The Athens GOP isn’t planning anything that I’m aware of, but if you know of other shindigs, please post them in the comments.
7:37 p.m.: The first results are trickling in. Gov. Nathan Deal and David Perdue have 65 percent of the vote in a handful of rural counties. Doesn’t mean much.
8:11 p.m.: No wifi and spotty cell reception at ACC’s secret vote-counting lair. Still virtually no results to speak of.
8:38 p.m.: ACC Election Supervisor Gail Schrader said it feels like a presidential year, not a midterm, with the phone ringing off the hook and people who mistakenly thought they could vote at the Board of Elections today lined up out the door. (Staff looked up their polling places for them.) She’s exhausted. “It feels like turnout was 100 percent,” she said. “That’s what it feels like.”
Schrader reported no problems except a couple of machines that froze up this morning at the Barnett Shoals fire station due to being left in the cold overnight, but voting never came to a halt there, she said.
9:07 p.m.: Republican Jody Hice, Hice Baby leads Democrat Ken Dious 67-33 in the 10th Congressional District, in spite of Hice’s 75-25 lead in Clarke County. Only 26 percent of precincts are reporting, but let’s face it, this one was over before it started.
9:41 p.m.: It’s not looking good for Carter or Nunn. Deal and Perdue both have 200,000 vote leads. Granted, 57 percent of precincts, many in urban areas, haven’t come through, but those are not easily surmountable leads.
10:28 p.m.: Stopped by The Foundry, where a clearly despondent CCDC Chairman Joe Wisenbaker and a handful of stragglers, including Tim and Jenny Denson, were taking down bunting. Not a good scene.
10:35 p.m.: The GOP finally got its white whale. After four tries, they’ve ousted former ACC Commissioner John Barrow, the last white Democratic congressman in the Deep South. The Associated Press has called the race for Republican Rick Allen, who leads 54–46 with 85 percent of the vote counted.
Hice, meanwhile, has defeated Dious 66–34, even though the outcome was reversed in Clarke County.
10:49 p.m.: Perdue and Deal both lead by more than 300,000 votes. Looking at the outstanding vote in the big Democratic counties (Fulton, Dekalb, Clayton, Chatham, Bibb, Clarke, Richmond, Dougherty), Nunn and Carter might be able to make up about 100,000 votes. But these races are over, folks.
11:10 p.m.: Nunn has conceded, and the AJC is calling the governor’s race for Deal, who, like Perdue, currently has 56 percent of the vote. All of the other Republican incumbents statewide are leading by 20-point margins. In the only open statewide seat, for school superintendent, Republican Richard Woods is beating Democrat Valarie Wilson by 17 points.
Quick analysis: This is stunning. I never really thought Democrats could win, but I thought they’d do respectably. But they may end up doing as bad or worse as 2010, a wave election the likes of which we hadn’t seen since 1994. The state of Georgia saw that we are dead last in unemployment and decided to double down on what we’ve got. In spite of favorable early voting numbers, Democrats clearly failed to turn out their base, and any gains they made in that department were offset by white voters in rural counties tilting even further toward the GOP.
11:24 p.m.: For those who are interested in the national scene, Republicans are guaranteed 50 Senate seats, and five more—Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Iowa and New Mexico—are in play, according to CNN. NEW MEXICO? New Mexico. Say hello to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (who, by the way, trounced Alison Lundergan Grimes 56–41 in what was supposed to be a close race).
I may have more to say tomorrow, but for now, either celebrate or take a bottle of whiskey to bed and cry yourself to sleep, depending on your political persuasion.
Here are the final results. Clarke County’s percentages are in parentheses.
David Perdue, R: 53 percent (33)
Michelle Nunn, D: 45 percent (65)
Amanda Swafford, L: 2 percent (2)
Nathan Deal, R: 53 (33)
Jason Carter, D: 45 (65)
Andrew Hunt, L: 2 (2)
Casey Cagle, R: 58 (39)
Connie Stokes, D: 42 (61)
Secretary of State
Brian Kemp, R: 58 (40)
Doreen Carter, D: 42 (60)
Sam Olens, R: 57 (37)
Greg Hecht, D: 43 (63)
Gary Black, R: 58 (41)
Christopher Irvin, D: 42 (59)
Ralph Hudgens, R: 55 (36)
Liz Johnson, D: 42 (60)
Ted Metz, L: 3 (4)
Richard Woods, R: 55 (65)
Valarie Wilson, D: 45 (35)
Mark Butler, R: 57 (37)
Robbin Shipp, D: 43 (62)
Public Service Commissioner
Doug Everett, R: 68 (53)
John Monds, L: 32 (46)
Bubba McDonald, R: 53 (34)
Daniel Blackman, D: 42 (60)
Robin Gilmer, L: 5 (5)
10th Congressional District
Jody Hice, R: 67 (35)
Ken Dious, D: 33 (65)
9th Congressional District
Doug Collins, R: 81 (32)
David Vogel, D: 19 (68)
12th Congressional District
Rick Allen, R: 55
John Barrow, D: 45
Amendment A (income tax cap)
Yes: 74 (56)
No: 26 (44)
Amendment B (reckless driving)
Yes: 70 (69)
No: 30 (31)
Referendum (tax exemption for privately-run college dorms)
Yes: 74 (49)
No: 26 (51)
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