Both Democrats and Republicans in the Peach State are very focused on this state legislative runoff in the Atlanta suburbs. With polls essentially closing, here are some quick thoughts about what a win by Democrat Taylor Bennett might look like.
There were about 4,000 votes cast in the July special election, and recent history suggests the runoff total will exceed that. Let’s assume a 12.5% increase, or 4,500 votes, which means the winning candidate will need to get to 2,250.
Bennett would definitely have to win Fulton County, and the turnout there needs to be big. I didn’t see much increase in the early voting numbers in Fulton compared with July, but it appears that advance voting generally makes up a small portion of the voting numbers in both these counties. Regardless, Fulton County turnout would have to be 700 votes or more, with Bennett winning 450-500 of them. That produces a margin of 65-35, which seems high, but this is also where Davis came in a distant third.
I would think Bennett would also have to win the southern parts of DeKalb County (Briarwood, Cross Keys High, & Woodward Elem), where he took almost 50% of the vote in July. He need to win close to 60% of the vote here, and turnout would need to be about 650-700 in those three precincts. That would net him another 425 votes.
Also, Catherine Bernard’s strongest precinct, by far, was Brookhaven, and Davis received only 13% here. If Bernard’s voters stayed home today, there won’t be 400 votes cast like in July.
Those are some big assumptions, but if they play out, Bennett would only need to hold Davis to 55% in the rest of DeKalb to win. I expect Davis will run up big totals in the northern part of the district (Ashford Parkside, Ashford Dunwoody Road, and Montgomery Elem). I would especially watch Silver Lake and Kittredge Elementary. Bennett narrowly won both of those in July. If he did so today, he probably wins.