There are 35 days (as of Sept. 28th) left before the November 2nd elections.
I was encouraged to write this profile series of 35 counties after reading Peanut Politics’ Keith MacCants most recent blog comments in regard to the impression that some leaders in Georgia’s Democratic Party want to concede parts of Central and all of rural south Georgia to Republicans because it is viewed as unwinnable.
Peach County is one of thirty-five counties south of Macon that can help turn Georgia blue in November.
Here in Peach County, it is a metaphorical political battle between the more conservative Byron and the more progressive Fort Valley.
Even though there was a ‘Republicans for Roy” gathering in Peach County recently, Democrats need to realize so much is at stake in this upcoming election, especially in a college town such as Fort Valley-home of Fort Valley State University.
In 2008, Peach County voted for Barack Obama with approximately 53% of the vote to John McCain’s 47%.
However, Peach County voted for George W. Bush over John Kerry in 2004, but the results were flipped with Bush receiving 53% of the vote.
Peach County is a bellwether county in which anything can happen when turnout is low and voter apathy is high.
Peach County voted for Sonny Perdue TWICE with 54% of the vote over Roy Barnes’ 44% in 2002. Perdue won again with 55% of the vote in 2006 over Mark Taylor.
It’s safe to say Perdue and the conservative Republicans have been hostile toward education and it has affected Fort Valley State during their reign.
Earlier this year, the Georgia NAACP has filed a lawsuit that claims the University System of Georgia and Board of Regents have methodically shortchanged its three public black colleges and has violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 along with the 14th Amendment.
Not only has Fort Valley State been affected; all children of different backgrounds have been affected by the poor education policies and leadership of the Republicans.
Last year, the Peach County Board of Education decided to close schools on Mondays to make up $720,000 in new state budget cuts.
Where are the Democrats?
Mostly in Fort Valley would answer that question. Overall, there are approximately 14,000 registered voters in Peach County, over half live in Fort Valley.
The largest voting precinct in Peach County is located in Byron, which is called Byron #2 with a shade over 3,100 registered voters as of the July 20th primary.
In 2008, Fort Valley #3 had the most registered voters with close to 3,200. voters. However, as of July 20th, the number has dropped to approximately 2,900.
All the Fort Valley voting precincts were won by Barack Obama in 2008: Fort Valley #1, the most conservative of the Fort Valley precincts was won by Obama with 60%. Fort Valley #2 was claimed by Obama with 69% of the vote and Fort Valley #3 was Obama’s best precinct-receiving 95% of the vote.
How conservative is Byron? Obama only received 20% of the vote in Byron #1 and 25% of the vote in Byron #2. The remaining two voting precincts Claude and Powerville have fewer than 1,000 registred voters each, but were won by John McCain.
If Byron has higher turnout than Fort Valley, then Nathan Deal has a chance to win Peach County.
However, if an energized progressive base comes to the polls in November, Peach County will be one county that could help statewide candidates such as Roy Barnes, Mike Thurmond, Sanford Bishop, Carol Porter and others win on November 2nd.