Follow the Southerner’s election coverage in the attached interactive map as we take a look at the headlining races across the nation as both parties looked to secure various U.S. House and U.S. Senate positions as well as gubernatorial elections across the country.
In the national contest, the Democrats gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives, picking up 27 seats. The party needed a 23-seat gain to control the house. The Republican Party retained control of the U.S. Senate. Since Republicans no longer control both houses of Congress and the White House, the Republican agenda could meet opposition from a Democratic-controlled house in coming months.
Grady Current Issues teacher James Sullivan thinks this opposition may help the nation,
“The government works best when both parties have control. It forces them to compromise and work together.”
Georgia Governor’s Race
Georgia voters in Fulton County, where Grady is located, cast 303, 554 votes for Democrat Stacey Abrams and 112, 581 for Republican Brian Kemp. Kemp leads the statewide contest with 50.3 percent of the vote to Abrams’ 48.7 percent as election officials await absentee and provisional ballots, which could force a Dec. 4 runoff. Kemp, also the Secretary of State, must certify final election results by Nov. 14.
Sullivan accredits the delay in declaring a victor to nationwide polarization between parties and suspicious actions by Kemp.
“It’s troubling because Kemp was Secretary of State, so any broken voting machines or voter suppression look bad on him.”
Southerner reporters talked to voters after the polls closed on the issues that drove them to cast ballots. Reporters attended Abrams’ watch party at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Atlanta and visited Manuel’s Tavern, a popular political hangout in Midtown, to speak with voters. Kemp’s watch party was in Athens, more than 75 miles away and staff could not attend the event.
Abrams Fights On
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abrams took the stage at 1:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Hotel Downtown and delivered a passionate speech to reiterate her core beliefs and positions as well as emphasize the importance of each and every vote cast to support her. Abrams showed no signs of conceding as long as there are uncounted ballots.
“When you chose me as your Democratic nominee, I made a vow, in our Georgia, no one will be unseen, no one is unheard, and no one is uninspired,” Abrams said to applause.
After describing the effort she and her staff put into canvassing voters leading up to the election, Abrams added, Tonight, we have closed the gap between yesterday and tomorrow, but we still have a few more miles to go.”
Following the closing of the polls, many Abrams supporters shared her sentiments and said they felt empowered by Abrams’s message.
“I want women in power, especially women of color in power. I am disgusted by the fact the Republicans aren’t standing up to Trump,” said Stacey Hughes, a Democratic voter attending Abrams results watch party at the Hyatt. “I work with children who are immigrants, poor, black and I want them to have a future and a voice in the country.”
Voters also said they supported Abrams because of her views on key issues, such as gun control.
“I felt that she was the most qualified candidate, and I’m opposed to Brian Kemp and his views on gun control,” said Bradley Wagner, an Abrams supporter at the watch party.
The Southerner also spoke with voters at the popular Manuel’s Tavern off Ponce DeLeon Avenue, long recognized as an Atlanta gathering spot for politics and politicians, founded by former DeKalb County Commission Chairman Manuel Maloof.
“My grandfather is Manuel. He created the legacy of having people work together and be united, and the candidate who does that the most is Stacey Abrams,” said Megan Maloof, Manuel Maloof’s granddaughter.
At least one Abrams voter put her support behind the Democratic nominee after Stacey Evans, Abram’s challenger in the Democratic primary election, was defeated in May.
“Well I was supporting the other Democratic candidate in the primary, Stacey Evans, and I wanted to stay in the Democratic Party,” said voter Diana Daris.
Voter Reed Davis said he supported Abrams because she aligns with what he considers Democratic values.
“Stacey’s plan is concurrent with the Democratic agenda, which supports legislation to control a lot of environmental risks, to turn to more renewable energy and to really clean up this country and this world,” Davis said.
This story was originally published on The Southerner on November 6, 2018.