ELECTION NIGHT SURPRISES; Two big Atlanta suburbs turn blue (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)


Donald Trump's surprise victory wasn't Tuesday's only electoral shock.

KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov 10, 2016) — Two of Georgia's most populous -- and previously reddest -- metro Atlanta counties voted for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time in a generation.

Some observers say demographic trends bringing minorities and transplants to the Atlanta suburbs have made those areas increasingly competitive for Democrats. This shift, compounded by Trump's polarizing campaign, helped Hillary Clinton win both Cobb and Gwinnett counties.

Late returns in these counties and crucial Democratic strongholds in and around Atlanta helped keep Georgia in the "undecided" column late into election night, surprising many who thought the state was safely Republican.

"There's no question, I mean, Hillary Clinton got more votes in Cobb County for Heaven's sake -- that's huge," said Kerwin Swint, chair of the political science department at Kennesaw State University. "It's becoming a multi-ethnic, multi-dimensional metro area in counties that before were reliably white, upper middle class."

Although Trump triumphed in Georgia, Swint said the state could turn reliably purple in the next five to ten years.

"It may be inevitable that Georgia will become a purple state, but that's assuming a couple of very significant things," Swint said. "It's assuming that the population changes continue as they have been for the last ten years, and we have the increases in minority voters in particular, but it also assumes that party loyalties stay the same."

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu