Local Democrats Only Flip 40-ish Seats In Georgia Elections, Probably Excellent News For John McCain



Georgia held runoff elections for a whole bunch of local offices Tuesday, with some pretty good results for Democrats in the state, so hooray for that! The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that

After a lackluster general Election Night in November, Democratic leaning candidates roared back Tuesday to flip at least seven local races across Georgia Tuesday, and fended off Republican challengers in Brunswick and Forest Park.

Lackluster? Democrats picked up a net 35 local seats statewide in November, so adding another seven is more like on a roll, not "roaring back," you silly local drama-creators! Roaring back from a 30-seat net gain, huh? May we all have such amazing recoveries.

In Warner Robins, in central Georgia, voters chose the city's first ever Black mayor, and also the city's first ever woman mayor, and she's the same person, LaRhonda Patrick. Patrick currently serves as the city attorney in nearby Fort Valley, which we learn from the Source of All Knowledge has a fairly weird name since there has never been a fort in the community. It seems to have gotten the name in a transcription error of "Fox Valley" when the post office was made official, and nobody bothered to fix it.


Ms. Patrick grew up in Warner Robbins (which has its own strange naming story), and at 38, she's also the city's youngest mayor, because why stop with two firsts? Her father is in the Air Force, and since 1994 has been stationed at Robins Air Force Base, which provides much of the city's economic base. She's never held elective office, but has a political science degree from Georgia State, plus her law degree and her time as Fort Valley's city attorney.

Patrick ousted the incumbent mayor, Randy Toms, winning Tuesday's runoff by a bit less than 400 votes. Just two weeks before the election, Warner Robins was hit with an $800,000 IRS tax lien due to problems with the city's tax filings going back to 2015, so that was some terrific timing for Toms, who had to explain just how the hell the city had missed a whole lot of stuff that should have been reported. Ooops! Apparently voters didn't accept his explanation that "the office of the mayor does NOT keep the books for the city," accurate though it may have been.

Toms also claimed that most of the public reaction to the news amounted to unfair attacks by Patrick; she told WXGA-TV, "I've heard Mayor Toms say that I've misinformed and led people astray. So, my question is: Please tell me how I did that."

So now that she's won the mayoral election, Patrick will have a lot of cleaning up to do once she takes office January 1. She seems prepared to handle it!

Also in mayor-elect news, Atlanta native Andre Dickens won the runoff to be Atlanta's next mayor; he'll succeed Keisha Lance Bottoms, who decided not to run for a second term and had endorsed Dickens. Dickens defeated City Council president Felicia Moore, who had actually gotten more votes than he did in November's weirdass multi-candidate general election.

Dickens ran on improving public safety and "restoring the 'soul of Atlanta,'” and he and Moore quickly mended fences following the election, because as Moore put it at her campaign event Tuesday evening, "There’s no division tonight between the Dickens and the Moore camp because we’re all camp Atlanta," which is pretty darn good to hear. And as the New York Times reports, Dickens will need all the support he can get to deal with an impending White Flight mess, because didn't we say "Georgia"?

Both candidates also opposed a controversial effort to allow Buckhead, an upscale, majority-white neighborhood, to secede from Atlanta, taking with it a substantial chunk of the city’s tax base. This potential divorce, which has been fueled by crime concerns, would require approval by the Republican-dominated State Legislature and a subsequent vote by the neighborhood’s residents. To derail the plan, the next mayor will need to deploy the bully pulpit and engage in nimble and strategic lobbying of Republicans who control the Statehouse.

Hmm. We're sure the Republicans in the Georgia Lege will listen to reason and keep Atlanta intact for the good of all; that's what good governing is all about, isn't it? It's not like white Georgians have a thing for secession.

Also winning a runoff Tuesday was Doug Shipman, who'll be the next president of the Atlanta City Council.

This is pretty neat, too:

Liliana Bakhtiari also won an Atlanta city council seat to become the first LGBTQ Muslim elected in Georgia and, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only non-binary councilmember of a major U.S. city.

That's awesome! And now some dipshits in rightwing media will have a freakout over pronouns and Muslims and Muslims with pronouns, to be quickly forgotten as they find something else to worry about.

Also too, thanks to the Journal-Constitution for this trivia tidbit: "[With] Dickens’ victory, Atlanta has elected three mayors in a row with moms named Sylvia."

With Dickens's victory, his campaign manager, Maria Banjo, will now move on to help state Rep. Bee Nguyen with her campaign to become Georgia secretary of state in 2022. With all the rightwing flapdoodle over voting, is it possible the field will be split and a Democrat will have a shot at the job? That'd be terrific. Nguyen celebrated Banjo's joining her campaign by tweeting that it was a real "Nguyen Nguyen," and that pun won our heart. So much Nguyening!


Finally, as Stephen covers in detail this morning, with the '21 runoffs out of the way, Stacey Abrams declared her candidacy for Georgia governor yesterday, and if that isn't nice we don't know what is. Georgians might really be in a mood to get all those election-messing bastards out finally — here's hoping they're able to actually vote to do it. Go Stacey!

[AJC / WXGA / AJC / NYT]

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