Democrats' hopes could depend on black turnout

ATLANTA --- How Georgia Democrats fare in next month's election could depend on whether black voters show up at the polls.

Observers say turnout will be especially key among African-Americans, who turned out in record numbers two years ago across the country to elect President Obama. Obama's absence on the ballot, combined with an overall lack of interest in the midterm vote, will likely mean waning black support this year for Democratic candidates.

"The issue is not whether the African-American vote is some kind of record," said David Bositis of the Washington-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. "What you're really talking about is black voters turning out at a level comparable to whites."

The state is generally conservative and easily went for John McCain in 2008.

In Georgia, the top of the Democratic ticket is in position to get the attention of black voters.

Senate candidate Mike Thurmond -- the state's labor commissioner and the only African-American not previously appointed who has won election statewide in Georgia -- is also expected to appeal to blacks in November. He is running against Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson.

"My guess is the reason Mike Thurmond did not seek re-election and instead is matched up against the most popular politician in the state is there is a hope on the part of Democrats that by having him on the top of the ticket it might energize black voters," said University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock. "It doesn't look like it's having that kind of impact."

Bositis said that Thurmond's odds for victory are slim but that his statewide appeal could be an asset to gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes and other Democrats.

"If he can bring out a small percentage more black voters, there will potentially be some close races where that might make a difference," he said.

Barnes, like many Democrats across the country, has distanced himself from Obama during his campaign. But he has attempted to appeal to blacks in other ways, picking up early endorsements from former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, civil rights icon Andrew Young, members of the black clergy and current Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, all of whom carry weight in the black community.

In 2008, three out of four registered black voters in Georgia cast ballots, and black turnout was a record 30 percent of overall turnout in Georgia. Historically, Georgia's black voters have comprised between 23 percent and 25 percent.

African-Americans are among the most loyal Democrats. With Republicans motivated this election cycle, the black vote could be crucial for Democrats.

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airbud7
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airbud7 10/10/10 - 08:33 am
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"Barnes, like many Democrats

"Barnes, like many Democrats across the country, has distanced himself from Obama during his campaign." I wonder why?

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 10/10/10 - 08:43 am
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The misinformed and

The misinformed and uninformed represent the vast majority of Dem votes. Their success is all about tricking the easily tricked. Fortunately for America, this group is also difficult to motivate.

geminibuddha
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geminibuddha 10/10/10 - 09:49 am
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The same can be said for ALL

The same can be said for ALL political party members, Cliff. GOP backers swallow lies just as easily. They are just different lies.

RichmondCountyResident1
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RichmondCountyResident1 10/10/10 - 02:21 pm
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So Cliff, you are informed

So Cliff, you are informed because you vote Republican? Well just this week a poll said whites with high school diplomas prefer to vote Republican. I wonder how much of the tax cuts they will get?You have bought every lie they have told, then spout them off as they are your own. Blacks don't need you to tell them how to act or vote.Your own post reveal your character.

mable8
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mable8 10/10/10 - 03:07 pm
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Voters should vote for the

Voters should vote for the individual they believe will best serve the Nation, State, County, City, etc---all this malarky about voting on color lines is a bunch of bunk. If this is what our country has come to, then we will never get out the mess we're in.

bentman
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bentman 10/11/10 - 12:43 pm
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That's right. The dems

That's right. The dems promise just enough to the blacks to keep them on the plantation. It's been the same message for 70years. "Don't leave the plantation. You can't make it out there on your own. Let's us take care of you."

geminibuddha
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geminibuddha 10/11/10 - 03:06 pm
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I don't what bentman is

I don't what bentman is talking about but I am tired of hearing segregated talk period! Stop breaking everything in our society based on racial groups except where cultural behaviors dictate a necessary difference in approach to address social issues. In other words...let's talk about Americans...not races.

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