“I think that an overwhelming majority of the voters will come back our direction and reward us,” Mr. Duncan said. “And if they don’t see that as a valuable trait of their lieutenant governor, then I don’t want to represent them. I’ll be perfectly fine getting defeated if they don’t reward or recognize the value of honesty and integrity. I’m not their guy.”
When Mr. Trump is taken out of the equation, Republicans’ fundamentals are indeed strong in Georgia, at least for the immediate future. Every statewide elected office in state government is currently in Republican hands. And Democrats, who had hoped to make big inroads in the state legislature, netted only two State House seats and one State Senate seat in November’s elections, leaving Republicans with comfortable majorities in both houses.
That means that Republicans this year will control the decennial redrawing of state legislative and congressional district maps, giving them the ability to protect their own and create new problems for some sitting Democratic office holders. In the legislative session that begins Monday, Republicans are promising to impose strict new limits on voting in the wake of record voter turnout.
Republican legislators and state officials have discussed eliminating no-excuse absentee voting, which surged in popularity in the pandemic. They have also considered eliminating drop boxes for absentee ballots, curbing unsolicited absentee ballot applications and requiring a photo identification requirement for mail-in ballots.
Georgia’s Republican House speaker, David Ralston, said he was unlikely to support eliminating no-excuse absentee voting. But any attempts to curtail the current system are likely to be cited by Democrats as examples of voter suppression, a charge they have leveled against Mr. Kemp, a former secretary of state, for years.
Moreover, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, one of the two Democratic Senate victors this week along with Jon Ossoff, will have to run for re-election in 2022, because, in defeating Senator Kelly Loeffler, he is technically finishing out the term of the retired former Senator Johnny Isakson. He is likely to be a top target for national Republicans.
The activists who have been helping drive turnout and bolster Democrats know they have their work cut out for them.