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Obama, Rep. Barrow Win Reelection; Hill Defeats Sen. Stoner

(APN) ATLANTA -- Among Tuesday’s election results, President Barack Obama won reelection; US Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) won reelection; and Hunter Hill, a Republican, defeated State Sen. Doug Stoner, a moderate Democrat.  This article reviews a number of important election outcomes from the November 06, 2012 General Election, including at the federal, state, and local levels.

US PRESIDENTIAL RACE AND US SENATE RACES

Obama, a Democrat, defeated former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, the Republican nominee; and numerous minor party candidates on ballots in states that have greater ballot access than Georgia, including such candidates as former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico, the Libertarian nominee; Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee; former Mayor Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake City, Utah, the Justice Party nominee; former US Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), the Constitution Party nominee; and actress Roseanne Barr, the Peace and Freedom Party nominee.

Republicans maintained control of the US House, and Democrats managed to not only maintain but expand their control of the US Senate from 51 Democratic seats to 53.  When including two independents--US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and US Sen.-elect Angus King (I-ME)--who are expected to caucus with the Democrats, the Democratic Caucus now has 55 seats.

Of 33 US Senate seats up for grabs, Republicans won eight; Independents won two; and Democrats won 23.

Democratic victories include US Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Murphy in Connecticut, US Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE), US Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Mazie Hirono in Hawaii, Joe Donnelly in Indiana, US Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, US Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), US Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), US Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), US Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), US Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Martin Heinrich in New Mexico, US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, US Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), US Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), US Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tim Kaine in Virginia, US Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), US Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Tammy Baldwin in (W-WI).

Republican victories include Jeff Flake in Arizona, US Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Deb Fischer in Nebraska, Dean Heller in Nevada, US Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Ted Cruz in Texas, US Sen. Orrin Hatch in Utah, and US Sen. John Barasso (R-WY).

Georgia’s two US Senators were not up for reelection this year, and will appear in the 2014 and 2016 ballots, respectively.

US HOUSE

There was no major upset in US House races in Georgia, as Republicans maintained majority control of the US House nationwide.

US Rep. John Barrow (D-GA), the last White Democrat in the US South, won reelection, with 53.72 percent of the vote, defeating Lee Anderson, whom one APN reader in Augusta referred to as “too country, even for Augusta.”  The Republican Party had fiercely targeted Barrow; APN even began receiving unsolicited press releases from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Former State Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican, won the new US Congressional District seat that Georgia recently gained in reapportionment.  That seat is actually the Ninth District seat due to the way the maps are drawn, although it reflects the fourteenth seat that Georgia has gained.

Republicans now control nine US House seats in Georgia, while Democrats control five.  US Reps. John Lewis (D-GA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), David Scott (D-GA), and Sanford Bishop (D-GA) easily defeated Republican opponents.

HUNTER HILL DEFEATS STATE SEN. STONER

Meanwhile, Republican Hunter Hill has defeated State Sen. Doug Stoner, a moderate Democrat whose newly drawn district includes part of Cobb and Gwinnett Counties in addition to Atlanta’s Buckhead community in Fulton County.

“Stoner, chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, was targeted during the 2011 GOP-controlled redistricting process.  Republicans combined senate districts in middle Georgia held by Sen. George Hooks and Sen. Freddie Powell Simms and created a GOP seat in the metro Atlanta area to provide themselves what they wanted - a Senate supermajority,” according to a press release from the Senate Democratic Caucus.

The redrawn Senate District 6 seat gave a 55 percent or greater edge to any Republican challenger due to heavily Republican precincts that were drawn in.

"I worked hard to overcome the obstacles.  The final tally of 52.87 percent to 47.13 percent demonstrates that had this district not been gerrymandered, I may well have won.  In fact, I carried the Cobb County portion of the district two to one," Stoner said.

“In those precincts - many of them Republican - I have built meaningful relationships across the aisle and across industries.  Democrats and Republicans alike knew I took a pragmatic approach to politics.  Unfortunately, I did not have an opportunity to build that confidence with voters on the Fulton County side before I had to run.  My sense is that extreme politics will not be tolerated in the district," Stoner said.

DEMOCRATS STAVE OFF REPUBLICAN SUPERMAJORITY IN HOUSE BY ONE ENDANGERED VOTE

Meanwhile, redistricting also created a very difficult environment for some Democrats running for State House seats.  Minority voters were packed into a number of new majority-minority House districts, particularly in the Metro Atlanta area.  

This created a number of new Republican leaning seats, and was also designed to stack the Fulton County delegation with Republicans, in an apparent attempt to dismantle Fulton County.  Numerous Republican-leaning House districts were given just a sliver of Fulton County so they could technically be Fulton County districts.

Republicans have also sought a Supermajority in this process, that is, two-thirds Republican members in the Georgia House.  With such a majority, Republicans could pass constitutional amendments without any Democratic or Independent support.

Following redistricting, Democrats were estimated to have lost all chances of staving off a Republican supermajority, with only 56 seats projected to be Democratic seats.

With 180 seats in the State House, a supermajority is 120 seats, and Republicans were projected to have 123 Republican seats, with one Independent, State Rep. Rusty Kidd, maintaining his seat.

However, Democrats held on to more seats than projected, including those of State Reps. Scott Holcomb, Pedro Marin, and Carl Von Epps.  Meanwhile, in House District 66, Kim Alexander, a political newcomer, defeated Bob Snelling, a former Republican legislator.

“With a strategic ground game, we won sixty races, including four that the Republicans did not expect and where we were running on GOP-drawn lines and with a fraction of their resources,” House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta) said in a statement.

“Democrats won decisive victories and held the Republicans below the magic number of 120,” Abrams said.

“Rep. Rusty Kidd is an independent who does not caucus with either side, but represents Baldwin County that voted for President Barack Obama,” Abrams said.

Shortly after the election, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper’s Political Insider blog reported that Kidd had contacted the House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) regarding possibly switching to the Republican Party.

REPUBLICAN INCUMBENTS KEEP PSC SEATS

Public Service Commission Chairman Stan Wise defeated David Staples, the Libertarian nominee, with 65.9 percent of the vote, in the District 3 race.  With no Democrat in the race, some believed that Staples might have been elected the first Libertarian to statewide office in the entire US.

Meanwhile, Public Service Commission Chairman Chuck Eaton defeated Steve Oppenheimer, the Democratic nominee, and Brad Ploeger, the Libertarian nominee, without a Run-off Election.  Eaton received 52.1 percent of the vote; Oppenheimer received 43.1 percent; and Ploeger received 4.8 percent.

BALLOT INITIATIVES

As previously reported by APN, the charter school constitutional amendment passed in Georgia, but faces legal challenges.

Meanwhile, as also previously reported by APN, same-sex marriage saw major victories in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington, while marijuana legalization saw major victories in Colorado, Massachusetts, and Washington.

OTHER

Paul Howard won reelection as the District Attorney for the Atlanta Judicial Circuit.

(END/2012)


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