ATLANTA – Georgia Republicans rode a strong ground game and a ticket of proven incumbents to overcome financial and demographic challenges in last year’s elections, according to a new report.
The 2022 Impact Report was released Tuesday by former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., who chaired the conservative voter mobilization group Greater Georgia during the 2022 election cycle.
“Despite national media narratives, 2022 was a record-breaking year for Georgia Republicans,” Loeffler wrote in a news release. “Thanks to sustained and dedicated work on the ground, a commitment to growing the conservative movement, and proven Republican leaders, Georgia is a red state.”
Loeffler’s words ring true when looking at last year’s election results in Georgia. While Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., won a full six-year term over Republican challenger Herschel Walker, the GOP captured all eight statewide constitutional offices.
The incumbent-heavy Republican ticket included Gov. Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and Attorney General Chris Carr.
Those GOP victories came despite Democrats vastly outraising Republicans, particularly in the Senate and gubernatorial races. Warnock outspent Walker by $100 million, and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams outspent Kemp by $30 million.
Loeffler attributed the Republicans’ success to a ground campaign that included direct contact with voters via telephone, text messages, targeted digital ads and direct mail. The GOP reached millions more though television and radio ads.
Republicans worked to diversify the conservative movement, holding more than 100 voter registration drives at colleges, churches, grocery stores, and gas stations. Outreach events were held with women, young voters, and with the Hispanic, Asian and Black communities.
Part of that outreach included educating voters on the new voting reforms the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed in 2021 requiring Georgians voting absentee to provide identification and restricting the location of absentee ballot drop boxes.
Nearly 340,000 “disenfranchised conservatives” had stayed home during the January 2021 runoff that elected Democrats Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the U.S. Senate because of concerns over election integrity, according to the report.
Georgia Democrats weren’t without some successes last fall. Besides Warnock’s victory over Walker, Democrats dented Republican majorities in the General Assembly, gaining two seats in the Georgia House of Representatives and one seat in the state Senate.
The report concludes with a challenge that Republicans must work hard if they are to turn back efforts by Democrats to turn Georgia blue.
The state is changing – economically, demographically, and politically – but that change is positive as long as conservatives put in the work,” Loeffler wrote. “If we continuously adapt to this dynamic environment, then conservatives will have the infrastructure and mobilization needed to succeed in even greater numbers in 2024 and beyond.”
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation