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Classes of U.S. Senators

Politics of Georgia (U.S. state)

Historically, politics at all levels of government in the U.S. state of Georgia was dominated by conservative white Democrats in the period between Reconstruction and the end of the New Deal Coalition. For decades, Republicans were a tiny minority, generally associated with Union military victory at the end of the Civil War. By the end of the 1950s, especially 1956's strong showing in Georgia by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower in that year's presidential race, the Republican Party appeared well-positioned to gain even more ground in the coming years. And indeed, the Democratic Party did not carry the state from the 1960 presidential election until Georgia's Jimmy Carter ran for the White House nearly 20 years.

Beginning with Barry Goldwater's presidential bid, the Republican Party slowly began making inroads in Georgia. In time, the Republican Party of Georgia would field competitive candidates and win races for seats in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Widespread migration from northern states to the Atlanta suburbs later permitted Republicans candidates to win races for seats in the Georgia General Assembly.

In Presidential races, Georgia has failed to give its electoral college votes to the Republican candidate only four times since 1964: in 1968, segregationist George Wallace won a plurality of Georgia votes on the American Independent Party ticket; former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter won his home state by landslide margins in 1976 and 1980; and then-Arkansas governor Bill Clinton won a plurality of votes in 1992, against incumbent Republican George H. W. Bush and Independent Ross Perot. Most recently, Republican George W. Bush won Georgia in 2000 and 2004 with 54.67% and 57.97%, respectively.

By 2007, conservative Republicans have become the dominant force in state politics of Georgia, with Republicans occupying the positions of governor and lieutenant governor and significant majorities in both houses of the state General Assembly. U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson are together considered to be one of the most conservative Senatorial delegations. Georgia's U.S. House delegation is composed of 7 Republicans and 6 Democrats.

As in many cases, Democratic strongholds in Georgia include urban and minority-dominated areas. Democrats typically fare well in cities such as Atlanta, Macon, and Columbus, which have large minority populations, as well as Athens, home of the University of Georgia. The Republican Party dominates state politics through its hold on rural south Georgia (with a very notable exception in the southwestern part of the state), the Appalachian north, and many of Atlanta's largest suburbs. In fact, suburban Atlanta is one of the most conservative suburban areas in the nation. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, co-author of the Contract with America and architect of the 1994 "Republican Revolution" hails from Cobb County, a heavily conservative suburb of Atlanta.

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