Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed: Georgia will be a blue state in 2016

By Maria Saporta

Looking into a crystal ball, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed predicted Thursday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for president.

And in 2016, she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, will invest time and money in Georgia. Because the Clintons have had such a strong relationship and history with Georgia, the state will go to the Democrats in the general presidential election.

Reed spoke Thursday at the Atlanta Press Club’s Newsmaker luncheon held at the Commerce Club.

He made those comments in response to a question about whether Georgia would be a swing state in the 2016 presidential election, a possibility that has been mentioned by national political observers.

“Where I think we’re going? I think Georgia is on an irreversible path to a Democratic majority,” Reed said. “But its going to be bipartisan because of the legislative districts.”

Reed also acknowledged that President Barack Obama did not follow his advice to try to put Georgia in play in the 2012 election.

“I think what you need in Georgia is somebody who really wants to win it,” Reed said, adding that he kept arguing that point to Obama, who told him to stop talking about it. “I almost got thrown out of the limousine.”

Without investing in Georgia, Obama did win more than 45 percent of the vote in 2012— which after North Carolina was the closest spread among the states that Romney won.

Reed estimated that Democrats would need to invest $10 million in Georgia in order to have it turn blue.

Demographers have predicted that the growth in Georgia’s Hispanic and African-American populations will make the state more purple as the years progress.

Reed also was asked whether it would be possible to have for an African-American, perhaps one from Atlanta, win statewide.

“Georgia has already done that,” Reed said of Thurbert Baker, who was elected to as the state’s Attorney General before deciding to run for governor; and of Michael Thurmond, who was the state’s Labor Commissioner until he decided to run for the U.S. Senate. Both Baker and Thurmond lost their respective races. And currently every one of the state’s constitutional officers are white male Republicans.

Asked directly whether he would consider running for statewide office (after serving as mayor), Reed stumbled around saying his dream job has always been to be mayor of Atlanta. During the talk, his re-election was referred to as almost a foregone conclusion.

Then he admitted that he was blushing. “It’s a good thing that when I blush, y’all can’t tell.”

Finally, the mayor gave an answer to what he would like to do after finishing his second term as mayor.

“I want to help build a (Democratic) party,” Reed said.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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