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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

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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  1. The Last Democrat in Georgia January 11, 2013 12:11 am

    Maybe that headline would be better if it read “Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed HOPES that Georgia will be a blue state in 2016”.
    There is no question that Georgia is steadily moving towards eventually being a “Purple” state politicially.  Heck, with its increasingly-diverse demographics in which non-Hispanic whites makeup only about roughly just over 55% of the state’s population according to the most recent census figures, the state of Georgia looks even more favorable to becoming a swing-state than recent Southeastern U.S. swing-state converts North Carolina (where non-Hispanic whites makeup 65% of the state’s population) and Virginia (where non-Hispanic whites makeup 64.5% of the state’s total population).
    The big problem is that the organization and structure Democrat Party has all but gone virtually extinct at the statewide level.  Adding to matters is the fact that at present, Democrats are totally despised and just downright completely hated by much of the state’s voting population outside of Metro Atlanta and a scant few select pockets around the state.
    Make no mistake, the current virtual, if not actual, Republican supermajority that now rules and virtually completely dominates Georgia politics has done themselves (and the people of this state) few, if any, political favors moving forward over the long run with their self-serving, narcissistic, sociopathic and just outright God-awful incompetent governance of the eighth most-populous and one of the fastest-growing states in the union. 
    If (likely when) the current uber-dominant Republican supermajority eventually yields to a more competitive political climate for the currently all-but-dead Georgia Democrat Party, this era of Republican rule will very likely not be looked back upon fondly by Georgians who will remember this time as one when the direction of the state floundered under political leadership that only cared about filling their pockets and stomachs (and even beds) with as many freebies as possible from well-funded big business and special interests and their high-powered lobbyists and cared little about those Georgians that had no powerful lobbyist footing the bill for dinner, a night-out-on-the-town (or even out of the country) and even a hot date.
    Even with the piss-poor political leadership and totally horrific governance on the watch of the ultra-dominant Georgia GOP and the favorable demographics, currently the Georgia Democrat Party is still absolutely in no position to even remotely challenge a Georgia GOP that can be described as anything but “robust” as Mayor Reed is absolutely correct that he and other Democrats first need to build a party to have a better shot of being competitive in statewide politics.
    With the complete state of disrepair that what little there is of the Georgia Democrat Party is in, Reed’s estimates of needing $10 million in spending by national Democrats to make Georgia competitive by 2016 sounds like they are entirely too optimistic as at this point the entire organization, structure and image of the Democrat Party as a whole in Georgia need to be totally rebuilt from the ground up.
    Democrats badly need to rehab their image as being completely out-of-touch fiscally and culturally, entirely too-far-to-the-left of the political spectrum on most every issue and even outright treasonous to a strong majority of voters before they can hope to be competitive in what is a culturally-conservative state with a very-strong libertarian bent.
    Democrats need to attempt to learn (or re-learn) to speak the language of the conservative and libertarian voters that dominate state politics outside of I-285 if they are to have any shot at being competitive statewide before the mid-20’s.
    With the complete organizational disarray and virtual near-extinction of the Georgia Democrat Party and the ultra-dominance of the Georgia Republican Party, 2024 looks like a much more realistic date that Georgia could turn blue for the Democrats, though anything could happen, I guess.Report

  2. Burroughston Broch January 11, 2013 2:53 am

    Mayor Reed tries to re-write history to suit his speech and sell his predictions. To be blunt, it’s propaganda. Here’s the truth and lessons learned.
    Bob Dole carried Georgia in 1996 over Bill Clinton by 47% to 45.8%, with Ross Perot taking 6.4% away from Dole. In 1992, Clinton carried Georgia over George Bush 43.5% to 42.8%, with Ross Perot taking 13.3% away from Bush. Absent Ross Perot, Clinton got 43.5% of the vote in 1992 and 47% in 1996.
    In the 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012 elections the Democratic nominee for President carried 43.2% (Al Gore), 41.4% (John Kerry), 47% (Barack Obama) and 45.5% (Barack Obama).
    Lesson Learned 1 – There was and is no great affection for the Clintons in Georgia.
    Lesson Learned 2 – There was and is no evident swing towards the Democratic Presidential nominee;  the Democratic candidate got between 41.4% and 47% of the vote between 1992 and 2012.
    Lesson Learned 3 – The strength or weakness of the Georgia Democratic Party has no effect on the percentage of the vote won by the Democratic Presidential nominee. In 1992 when the Georgia Party was strong, they got 47%; in 2012 when it is weak they get 45.5%.Report

  3. larryfeltonj January 13, 2013 2:21 pm

    It’s possible for Georgia to become a blue state, but only if the Democratic Party here stops being so passive, and I think that’s a tall order to accomplish by 2016.  The first thing the party needs to do is get off its butt and start fielding candidates in elections.  The Libertarian Party, which is economically crackpot, managed to field a couple of candidates in the recent special elections.  Of 14 candidates who ran, only one was a Democrat.
    This isn’t the way a winning party operates.Report

    1. Burroughston Broch January 13, 2013 10:01 pm

      @larryfeltonj Larry, I agree in part. Another thing the Georgia Democratic Party needs is a platform that will appeal to voters outside Fulton, DeKalb, and Clayton counties.Report

  4. kemskiy January 14, 2013 5:39 pm

    Taxation is a one of the most complicated issues for business, that is why I very appreciate good blogs related to taxation law and IRS. I will be glad to publish your articles related to taxation in Attorney Online, there are also free possibilities to publish your business news and blog posts as well as submit your contacts to Attorney Directory. This is the category with Georgia tax attorneys http://attorney-online.info/dir/tax/georgia/911  but you and good attorneys you know can choose other categories for free listing.Report


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