From Bill Kinney of the Marietta Journal: If Democrat Roy Barnes of Marietta seeks political redemption next year in the race for governor, he had better find a way to win back votes he lost in rural Georgia in 2002 after his education reform package and state flag change caused many traditionally Democratic voters in rural counties to vote for Republican Sonny Perdue.
In 2002, Barnes ran slightly ahead of Perdue in metro Atlanta, then consisting of 20 counties (compared with 28 counties today) and overall ran about even with Perdue in the state's other metro areas, but lost badly in the state's rural areas.
Interestingly, Barnes's 2002 performance closely resembled Obama's showing in the Peach State last fall, with both Barnes and Obama losing their respective contests in Georgia by five percentage points, and both running about even with their GOP opponents in the state's metro areas while running poorly in rural areas such as the north Georgia mountains and southeast Georgia.
Though rural counties account for only a small proportion of the state's total voters, they serve as the "tiebreakers" if in an election the state's metro areas split about 50/50 between Dems and GOP candidates.That's the argument democrats are going to have to realize. It's not enough to just get the votes in the urban areas & the cities. You need to get the rural vote because if you get a good number of rural votes, it'll become easier to win statewide. Relying on liberal voters is not enough. You need the conservative democrat vote, independents & moderate republicans to win. Had Jim Martin performed better in the rural areas of the state during the general election, he would be senator right now. That will be the key to Barnes if he does run agaain. Can he win back those rural votews that had been voting democrat for over 130+ years? DuBose Porter won't have that problem because he hails from rural Georgia & knows what it takes to get those voters back into the democratic party. That's something Roy is going to have to consider if he runs again.