How Trump won Georgia and other takeaways from a stunning night

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a campaign rally in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday. AP/ Evan Vucci

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a campaign rally in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday. AP/ Evan Vucci

Donald Trump scored an epic upset victory over Hillary Clinton early Wednesday, notching victories in most battleground states while keeping Georgia firmly in the Republican column.

The Republican’s stunning performance included a 5-point win in Georgia that was not as clear-cut as it seemed. The networks and The Associated Press called North Carolina, Ohio and Florida before Georgia, largely because of the surprising result in metro Atlanta.

Here are some of the top takeaways from Georgia’s electoral results:

A stunning metro Atlanta flip. Before Tuesday, Democrats would have told you flipping Gwinnett County would mean an overwhelming win for Clinton in Georgia. As it turned out, Clinton flipped Gwinnett, Henry – and even the GOP stronghold of Cobb – and still was trounced statewide. Why? He was able to run up the score in other conservative bastions, including huge wins in Columbia and Hall counties.

The Republican ground game in Georgia is still tops. At a final pre-election rally on Monday, Georgia GOP chair John Padgett scoffed at a report that Democrats made more than 420,000 calls and knocked on nearly 100,000 doors. He wasn’t the only one. We quickly received numbers from Trump operatives showing their volunteers made contact with nearly 2 million voters. And they said they staked a nearly 100,000 vote advantage in absentee ballots and early voting. It showed on Tuesday, when Trump won the state by about 250,000 votes.

David Perdue (right), with Gov. Nathan Deal (left) and Georgia Republican party chairman John Padgett (center). Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

David Perdue (right), with Gov. Nathan Deal (left) and Georgia Republican party chairman John Padgett (center). Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Democrats will seek to salvage a silver lining. Georgia Democrats will cast the 6-point defeat as a victory of sorts, narrowing their 8-point defeat in 2012. They’ll point to rising minority registration numbers, the flipping of metro Atlanta counties and wins in a handful of legislative seats as evidence the party has new vitality. And they’ll try to capitalize on the failure of the schools initiative, which brings us to our next point.

Gov. Nathan Deal gets a stinging electoral rebuke. The governor put his failing schools initiative at the center of his second-term agenda, and it was trounced at the polls amid solid opposition from both Democrats and Republicans. Deal will note the more than $5 million spent by opponents to tank the bid, and he’s already drafted a Plan B. But expect the efforts by his critics to paint him as an ineffective lame-duck to only intensify.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA). (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA). (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Johnny Isakson was even more popular than Trump in Georgia. The Republican senator easily won a third-term, avoiding a runoff against Democrat Jim Barksdale by earning a whopping 55 percent of the vote. And he won by outperforming Trump by nearly 40,000 votes. But that’s not because Libertarian Gary Johnson’s supporters flipped to Isakson in the Senate race; Allen Buckley, the third-party candidate in the Senate race, actually outperformed Johnson. Instead, the numbers suggest Isakson benefited from split-ticket Democrats.

Here’s more of the AJC’s election night coverage:

Breaking: Donald Trump wins Georgia

Johnny Isakson cruises to third term in U.S. Senate

All of Georgia’s congressmen appear poised for reelection

Reader Comments 0

49 comments
Daniel Fairo
Daniel Fairo

Yea, the ignorant and stupid part of Georgia.

Greg P Bates
Greg P Bates

The racist bigot won the majority of the popular vote.

Enryke Tres
Enryke Tres

Georgia is the raciest state on the south.

Patrick Morrell
Patrick Morrell

He got more votes. There. Now you don't have to read this drivel.

Karl M Anderson
Karl M Anderson

He won because Clintons suck and people are tired of the status quo that's been screwing them.

Angela Drossopoulos
Angela Drossopoulos

Do you people even realize what is likely going on here??? Do you realize the implications??? It's NO SECRET the Left brainwashes children in schools. They are Communists and Socialists after all! And just like Hitler with his Hitler Youth, they had children singing worship songs to Obama - now they are likely using mock elections to indoctrinate kids in the schools and use their teachers, parents and classmates against them if they don't "fall in line" and vote Democrat! They're not teaching them that they/we have freedom of choice - QUITE THE OPPOSITE! They're just raising a generation of brainwashed Liberals that will kowtow to the state and their goal is to take over all of the US by taking over the children! So Trump just like he needs to drain the swamp in Washington, he needs to clean up the corrupt Liberal infested school system! They are doing just like unions that pressure their members to vote for Democrats as well except kids don't know any better and can't fight back! This is your "Progressive" AKA Communist system in a nutshell! If Conservatives don't kick these Progressives out of the school system, who Jimmy Carter put in charge, this country is DOOMED! If parents allow their children to be brainwashed by them, and don't fight back, their children are DOOMED!

Sam Nicholas
Sam Nicholas

Angela-You didn't understand what they said because...well franky...you're stupid. He's already proving he's suckered you, by filling that supposed swamp he was going to drain with EVEN MORE rats. He's also keeping one of the main parts of Obamacare Pubs were trying to help big insurance out with, by getting rid of the preexisting conditions mandate. Which you clearly need for your psychosis.

Matthew Cooley
Matthew Cooley

Okay..... I'll just be happy when Democrat and Liberal doesn't mean the same thing.

Chris Fowler
Chris Fowler

No one is being brainwashed. If he reverses all his stance then we know half of those who voted may have been brainwashed for a period of time.

Mandy Jean
Mandy Jean

Go sell crazy somewhere else, kid. We are all full up here.

Sam Nicholas
Sam Nicholas

Exactly moron, the preexisting is what the establishment GOP wanted to do away with because SICK PEOPLE cut into Big Insurance's profit margins. \U0001f644

Matthew Cooley
Matthew Cooley

Who would have thought? Think about it. Who would have thought that God would have chosen Trump as President? I mean, c'mon, Trump said ALOT of things that made us say, "OMG! I CAN'T BELIEVE HE JUST SAID THAT IN FRONT OF EVERYONE!" But I believe that's the reason why he is president, because he showed the liberal democrats that he isn't scared to say what he thinks. He didn't allow them to oppress his thoughts. But I do ask, how is he going to keep all those promises he made? I guess it just doesn't matter. Begone Liberalism!

Jan Ryan
Jan Ryan

And Cyrus was God's appointed one

Jeff Lann
Jeff Lann

Good old Yankee gerrymandering.

Susan Coppola Gill
Susan Coppola Gill

I am a transplanted Yankee, and one of the reasons I left was the LIBERAL gerrymandering.

Yvette Marie Jacobs
Yvette Marie Jacobs

2 wings one bird. I'm happily independent progressive. Voted stein in hopes for any change. Most of us were relieved trump won over clinton. Neo liberals or just liberals (tearing up my card) are the ones bitching but not willing to work with ANYONE to achieve things we all need. Party lines suck maybe we can eventually stop playing by them.

Jeff Lann
Jeff Lann

So, one Yankee who runs from liberals rather than stand and debate rationally and change people's views with concrete facts and solutions... Then we have someone admitting they voted for the Moscow-backed Republican candidate who didn't spend a penny of her own money. ;-)

Susan Coppola Gill
Susan Coppola Gill

Jeff Lann Listen, honey child. I'm 70 years old and lived in that cesspool called New York and fought as long as I could for rational politics.. Believe it or not, I talked til I was blue in the face to get people to understand how evil the left is, but there comes a time when you know you have to give up. The "free stuff" mentality is too ingrained in the metropolitan areas to be offset by the rural areas, and as the city folk move out into the suburbs, they bring their "support me; I'm entitled" mentality with them, I gave up on trying to fix stupid and moved on. I have collected unemployment once in my lifetime, never got food stamps, paid into Social Security, EARNED my way through life and have a pension. New York is going to be in deep doo-doo very soon, because the taxes are unbelievable and those who can pay them leave, so they can survive before they have to go on the dole like the freeloaders. Liberal mentality is going to collapse the state of NY, so don't tell me I didn't stay and fight. There just aren't enough people with pride left; most of who's left are just looking for what they consider their "fair share," not realizing that they already have MORE than their fair share and the rest of us were getting shafted. PS: I was a Yankee by accident of birth, but thank God I didn't think like them.

Denise Wenzel Storm
Denise Wenzel Storm

Susan Coppola Gill I agree with you we left Michigan many years ago. Proud of MI now though

Susan Coppola Gill
Susan Coppola Gill

Denise Wenzel Storm You should be proud! A fellow I grew up with lives there now and he's so very pleased with the results of the election.

Mark Cotner
Mark Cotner

I know it's hard for libs to understand, but people vote. And those votes are tallied. And that's how you determine the winner. You're welcome. It's a service that I provide.

Gloria Moore
Gloria Moore

Hillary has more votes than Trump. So she should be the winner, right?!

Charlie Long Walker
Charlie Long Walker

Both sides have protested. The difference in HOW liberals and conservatives protested is clear. The liberals are holding violent protests to show their disdain for the system now. The conservatives held a peaceful protest on Tuesday, in voting booths across this country.

Mark Cotner
Mark Cotner

I lost a few IQ points tonight reading a story in Time magazine of all places suggesting . . . . get this . . . that the electoral college is . . . . "racist". I kid you not.

Mark Cotner
Mark Cotner

Not in GA. Maybe you need to read the headline again.

Monte Poitevint
Monte Poitevint

Yes, it is truly horrible that another nut-case, totalitarian lunatic didn't get into office and screw the country up some more.

Sam Nicholas
Sam Nicholas

No, just a fascist authoritarian pervert.

Charlie Long Walker
Charlie Long Walker

Can't wait for people to start attacking the multimillion dollar industry rap music. That is vulgar, violent, demeaning to women and free for all you little girls to hear. Unlike a private conversation.

Nolan Sims
Nolan Sims

Sam Nicholas do you know what a fascist is? it means they want government control of EVERYTHING! Trump and republicans are the complete opposite. fascists are closer to liberals DUMBASS!

Teresa Richardson
Teresa Richardson

Georgia has a bunch of Sheeple who would rather have their heads in the clouds asking the imaginary jesus to fix things for them instead of voting for their own interest.

Susan Coppola Gill
Susan Coppola Gill

Teresa Richardson Because the Demon Seed Harry Reid sat on any Republican bills; he did that because he knew obama would take heat for vetoing them.

Teresa Richardson
Teresa Richardson

You all vote based on how the TV told you to. They said crooked Hillary 17 times which is all it takes to remember something and you all believed because the TV told you to.

Terry Medley
Terry Medley

we voted for our own interest, we didn't vote corrupt

Susan Coppola Gill
Susan Coppola Gill

We voted anti-Atheist, Teresa. And I can't speak for anyone else, but I didn't vote for my own interests; I voted in the COUNTRY'S best interests! I believe the difference between Clinton supporters and anti-Clinton people (I really didn't want Trump to be the nominee) is that we looked beyond our own lives and considered others. I WOULD NEVER VOTE SOLELY THINKING OF MYSELF---Selfishness is a liberal trait (and usually an atheist one, too.)

Teresa Richardson
Teresa Richardson

Selfishness is a Republican trait. Republicans don't do anything to help people. How come the majority house and Senate didn't do anything to help poor folks?

Teresa Richardson
Teresa Richardson

Jody Pitts Comcast and General electric own nbc, home of Donald trumps the apprentice.

Teresa Richardson
Teresa Richardson

Susan Coppola Gill all of this shows how racist people are towards President Obama and black folks. You can't even support a woman, who will help push forward equality for women.

Gerald Murray
Gerald Murray

You must be writing this for the scared cry babies. We who voted for Trump know how he won. Much better than you liberals will ever know.