Republican Brian Kemp is leading Stacey Abrams in the race for Georgia governor by 10 points with 81 percent of precincts reporting as of 10:45 p.m.
Abrams would be the first black female governor in the history of the United States and, not surprisingly, exit polls show that race played a significant role in the election. Black voters comprised about 30 percent of the electorate and whites 60 percent — figures similar to recent elections. Abrams is winning the bulk of black votes (92 percent) and Kemp is up big among white voters (74 percent).
While she is not the favorite of white voters, Abrams is nevertheless performing slightly better among whites than Hillary Clinton did in 2016, garnering 26 percent compared to Clinton’s 21 percent. The difference is even starker among white, college educated women. This year, nearly half are supporting Abrams, compared to only about one-third for Clinton.
Although the electorate is Georgia is fairly conservative, only 40 percent say that Abrams is too liberal, with about half viewing her issue positions as neither too liberal or too conservative.
The race has been in some ways a referendum on President Trump and his policies, and a test of the diverse, progressive Democratic coalition that helped elect former President Barack Obama.
Abrams, the former minority leader of the state’s House of Representatives, and Kemp, the current Georgia secretary of state, have been locked in a close race for months. The contest has attracted national attention, as Mr. Obama and Oprah Winfrey campaigned with Abrams and Mr. Trump held a rally with Kemp. To make the rally, Kemp skipped a debate with Abrams.
Democrats accuse Kemp, who is in charge of overseeing elections in the state, of disenfranchising voters. And in the lead-up to Election Day, Kemp’s office leveled a vague accusation of “potential cyber crimes” at Georgia Democrats. Kemp did not provide evidence to back up the charge, however, and Democrats dismissed the move as an 11th-hour stunt.
Georgia has had a Republican governor since 2003, and the state has voted for the GOP in presidential elections since 1992. But political experts tend to believe that Georgia is likely to become more Democratic due to changing demographics, particularly in the Atlanta area.
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