Building relationships with and mobilizing voters of color key for Democratic victories in Georgia Senate races
Ahead of the January runoff elections, attention to the growing new multiracial electorate in Georgia highlights the role of AAPI, Latino, Black, and Native American voters who helped flip Georgia for the Democrats in the presidential election and will play a pivotal role in January’s runoffs – and beyond. Voters have been energized by a host of issues, including a rejection of the anti-immigrant policy making and white grievance politics that have defined the Trump administration and have been adopted and echoed by Republicans throughout the state. The battleground state status Georgia holds is due in large part to the longstanding organizing effort from communities of color that have built political power over time.
Already in the fight for the state’s two Senate seats, immigrant champions like former U.S. Rep Gutierrez are partnering with labor unions like UNITE HERE to turnout African immigrant communities, a relatively small and historically overlooked voting bloc, but one that could prove crucial in tight races. If Georgia is going to become fully blue and trend progressive, outreach to communities of color who are energized by rejecting anti-immigrant policy making will remain key. Below we lift up a few observers and voices emphasizing the growing importance of these voting communities and offering a reminder why continued and sustained engagement and investment will be key, both in January and beyond.
Deborah Barfield Berry and Kaanita Iyer for USA Today US Senate runoff results could be determined by Black, Latino voters:
“On Saturday, Black Voters Matter, a voter engagement group, will kick off its statewide, ‘Let’s Do It Again’ bus tour, starting in Macon. The group is credited with helping drive out Black voters in Georgia last month and in battlegrounds like Pennsylvania. ‘We are nearing the finish line,’’ said LaTosha Brown, a co-founder of the group. ‘Black voters saved the November elections. Let’s do it again.’ … The state Democratic party has coalition leaders who are building relationships with communities of color and providing them with support where needed, such as hosting in-language phone banks for the Asian American and Latino community, said Maggie Chambers, the state party’s communications director… ‘It’s not just this year that’s going to make a difference,’ Jones said. ‘We’ve got the entire future before us. If the state is going to remain blue, people are going to have to remain motivated without coming off a presidency like the one that we’re leaving now.’”
Jenny Jarvie and Jennifer Haberkorn for the Los Angeles Times In Georgia Senate runoffs, a rush to get out the Asian vote:
“After Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders helped Joe Biden beat President Trump by a razor-thin margin of 12,000 votes in this state, Cho and a new generation of activists are ramping up their work to mobilize their community to vote for Democrats Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock in twin runoff races that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate next year…Asian Americans make up just 3.2% of Georgia’s voting-eligible population — compared with about 15% in California — but they are playing an increasingly pivotal role in shaping the politics of this once-conservative and rapidly diversifying Southern state. Turnout among Asian Americans in Georgia doubled from about 67,000 in 2016 to 140,000 in the 2020 presidential election — a faster rate of growth than Latino, Black or white voters. More than six out of 10 Asian American and Pacific Islander voters cast their ballots for Biden, according to exit polls… ‘The surge in Asian American turnout — especially amongst first-time, younger Asian American voters — helped Biden flip the state,’ said Sam Park, Georgia’s first Democratic Asian state representative, elected in 2016. ‘If Rev. Warnock and Jon Ossoff are to be successful, turnout amongst the Asian American community will be critical.’”
Sonam Vashi in The Appeal How Immigrant Communities Beat Back ICE and Helped Flip Georgia:
“Gwinnett County operates one of the largest 287(g) programs in the country: this year, it ranks fourth in the nation for the number of ICE detainer requests, in which local jails hold people in custody longer in order to hand them over to federal agents…. But in November, voters in Gwinnett and nearby suburban Cobb County chose Democratic sheriffs for the first time in decades, electing candidates who made campaign promises to end the 287(g) programs. That upset, and the emphasis on 287(g) as a central campaign issue in both counties, resulted in large part from the work of local immigrants’ rights organizers who have grown their operations under the Trump presidency and activated communities of color. Their organizing also contributed to Georgia electing a Democrat presidential candidate for the first time since 1992…Joachin says that engaging the entire Latinx community—including those who cannot vote, like undocumented immigrants—is central to GLAHR Action Network’s Zuñiga believes the recent demonstration of Latinx organizing power is here to stay. ‘That comes down to people here actually living the experience of knowing what it’s like to be pulled over, and how immigration actually works here in the state,’ he said. ‘You’re not just voting for what’s best for you and your family. You’re also voting for what’s best for your community.’”