Joe Biden will win Georgia, CNN projected Friday, striking at the heart of what has been a Republican presidential stronghold for nearly three decades. The former vice president is the first Democratic nominee to triumph in Georgia since Bill Clinton did it in 1992.
Biden’s victory adds 16 electoral votes to his tally, bringing him to 306 — matching President Donald Trump’s 2016 total. With CNN’s projection that Trump will win North Carolina, the final tally is 306-232, a landslide for the President-elect, who flipped five states and a congressional district in Nebraska from red to blue in 2020.
The symmetry provides the President with yet another bitter pill to swallow. Trump has spent years tweeting and talking up his margin of victory against Hillary Clinton — one that has now been turned on its head in a final, national rebuke of his presidency.
In Georgia, Trump had raced out to an early lead in the counting, but Biden surged ahead as the votes from Atlanta and its suburbs were tabulated.
The Democratic ticket’s historic success has been fueled by a grassroots organizing renaissance that rallied a rapidly diversifying electorate and suburbs that are, at once, growing and becoming increasingly inhospitable to Republican candidates. Georgia Republicans have compounded the issue, with state lawmakers refusing so far to expand Medicaid under Obamacare and Gov. Brian Kemp, in 2019, signed a so-called “heartbeat bill,” one of the country’s most restrictive abortion laws
Biden’s success in a traditionally Republican state is the culmination of slow, steady gains there by the party. Two years ago, Democrat Stacey Abrams fell narrowly short in her bid for governor, losing to Kemp by 1.4 percentage points. Her campaign, and the work she’s done since then, has focused on bringing out Democratic voters who had stayed home in previous cycles. That set the stage for Biden, a moderate, to win big in the counties overlapping and outside Atlanta, a city at the heart of the New South.
“We have been working at this for more than a decade. And there have been dozens of organizations and hundreds of people who’ve made this their primary mission,” Abrams told CNN’s Jake Tapper this week on “State of the Union.” “I have been privileged to be able to bring to bear resources, both before the election of 2018 and then the $40 million we were able to spend in 2018 to build a Democratic infrastructure that may not have yielded a victory for me in 2018, but certainly yielded a victory this week.”