First, the bad news: Donald Trump won Georgia 52 percent to 45 percent. Donald Trump won the nation and is now the president-elect.
America, meet your new president: Donald J. Trump. pic.twitter.com/Ug2ec6gCX0
— AJ+ (@ajplus) November 9, 2016
Yes, that is the world we live in. However, in the midst of this devastation are some amazing wins buried in Georgia’s local and statewide elections.
Amendment 1, the school takeover amendment, got crushed. Gov. Deal is about to be real unhappy. There are also three seats in the Georgia Legislature that changed hands from Republican to Democrat, and two other Democratic seats that were successfully defended against Republican challengers.
Democrat Sam Park unseated incumbent Valerie Clark, winning the HD 101 seat, which represents Lawrenceville. Park is the first openly gay man and also the first Korean-American elected to the House of Representatives.
Incumbent Mike Cheokas lost to Democrat Bill McGowan in Americus. HD 138 has turned blue. McGowan is the former Americus mayor, and someone who ran on supporting public schools.
Incumbent Janice Van Ness was crushed by Democrat Tonya Anderson, turning the SD 43 seat out in Conyers blue. Anderson is a veteran, former representative, and has served as the Mayor of Lithonia.
Also, two Democrats facing Republican challengers held onto their seats. Democrat Bob Trammell Jr. was successfully re-elected in HD 132, against Republican challenger Gene King. Democrat Vernon Jones won the HD 91 race against Carl Anuszczyk, to replace outgoing Democrat Dee Dawkins-Haigler. Democratic incumbent Taylor Bennett had a nail-biter of a race against Republican Meagan Hanson…and lost by only a few hundred votes. Oy.
These small successes — which aren’t really so small, because state and local issues have a significant impact on our everyday lives — came because folks worked hard and or-gan-ized. The work of creating change is a long, slow process.
These wins mean something. The defeat to Amendment One means Gov. Nathan Deal (and conservatives, in general) can no longer expect his agenda to pass in this state unchecked. Those seats changing hands mean the GOP majority in the legislature, more and more, has to contend with the Democrats. It also means Georgia’s changing demographics are beginning to impact elections, a trend that will only increase with more time (and more organizing).