Where will Hunter Hill’s voters go?

On July 24, Lieutenant Gov. Casey Cagle (R) and Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) will compete in a runoff election for the Georgia Republican gubernatorial nomination. In the May 22 primary, Cagle received 236,371 votes (38.9%), Kemp received 155,324 (25.6%), former state Sen. Hunter Hill received 111,452 (18.3%), businessman Clay Tippins received 74,242 (12.2%), and state Sen. Michael Williams received 29,546 (4.9%).

My basic understanding of runoffs in Georgia is that they are low turnout affairs and there is only one group of persuadable voters: those who went with another candidate in the original primary. In other words, there won’t be many voters switching between Team Cagle and Team Kemp and, even though it’s not a requirement under Georgia law, most July 24 voters will have also voted on May 22. So the keys for Cagle and Kemp will be 1) keeping the turnout for their May 22 bases as high as possible (there will inevitably be some dropoff) and 2) winning over the persuadable voters.

On the first point, I would give Kemp an advantage. He is the grassroots candidate between the two, so I will make the evidence-free claim that the May 22 Kemp voters will turn out at a higher rate than the May 22 Cagle voters. I don’t know how substantial this difference would be or if it will change dramatically once the candidates begin attacking each other. That’s just my gut.

On the second point, it is worth looking at the geographic distribution of voters that went for another candidate on May 22. Right now, I only have the data to look at Hunter Hill voters. As you can see below, many of Hill’s supporters (about 23.6 percent) came from Fulton, Cobb, and Gwinnett counties. If we expand to Forsyth, Cherokee, DeKalb and Hall, you get 35.4 percent of Hill’s voters. Start taking in more of metro Atlanta and other urban/suburban counties (Columbia, Chatham, Muscogee, Fayette, Paulding, Richmond, Glynn, Coweta, Henry, and Houston) and you have captured 55.2 percent of Hill voters.

So, these 17 counties account for well over half of Hill voters. We obviously can’t know the individual preferences of Hill voters, but if they are anything like their neighbors, they might prefer Cagle. He won all 17 counties and, what’s more, Hill beat Kemp in six of them, including the all-important counties of Fulton and Cobb.

The relative urban concentration of Cagle/Hill supporters may be because Kemp billed himself as the candidate of rural Georgia. This seems to be generally true looking at the relative wider distribution of his voters. It takes 17 counties to reach 55 percent of Hill’s voters and 22 counties to reach the same percentage for Cagle. It takes 25 counties for Kemp.

Enjoy the map below, and access the underlying data here if you have other ideas about how to use it. Also, let me know when you see the Tippins and/or Williams data by county on the SoS website and we can analyze that next.

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Burley
Burley

Metro Hill voter here; will be voting for Kemp. The few other Hill voters I have talked to will be voting Kemp as well. Brian is not Hunter but he’s a lot better than Cagle.

Benevolus
Benevolus

There wasn’t a governor runoff in 2014, but there was a senate runoff, and the primary had very close to the same turnout as this years’ gov race. There was a 20% dropoff in overall vote totals for the Senate runoff. But the two remaining candidates gained votes anyway. Kingston gained about 81,000 votes and Perdue gained about 60,000 votes (a difference of 21,000), and Perdue still won by about 8000 votes. Since Perdue had a 29,000 vote advantage from the primary, that looks to me like almost all the voters for Perdue and Kingston showed up for the runoff,… Read more »

bethebalance
bethebalance

Good effort putting this all together.

Noway2016
Noway2016

Same reply from me. But he ain’t losing to Stacey.

Benevolus
Benevolus

In the 2014 GOP primary there were 596,000 R votes cast for Gov. In the 2014 Dem primary there were 304,000 D votes cast for Gov (Jason Carter). A difference of 292,000. In the 2018 GOP primary there were 734,000 R votes cast for Gov.(+138,000) In the 2018 Dem primary there were 553,000 votes cast for Gov. (+249,000) A difference of 181,000. So Dems appear to be more motivated this time around. R’s gained 749,000 votes from primary to G.E. in the 2014 Gov race. D’s gained 840,000 votes from primary to G.E. in the 2014 Gov race. Even if… Read more »

Noway2016
Noway2016

All this is appreciated but you really should slow down. You’re doing too much work today! Go to the Varsity for a couple of chili steaks!

alpha male
alpha male

Cagle gonna run roughshod over Stacey.

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

Believe it or not, this avowed progressive does run in some Republican circles. Not the “remember the Klan, those were the days” Republican circles that Noway traffics in, but the “I can’t make tee time because my wife needs to return something at Brooks Brothers” Republican circles. Since last Tuesday, the “spin” from camp Kemp to the country club Republicans is that he isn’t as crazy as the campaign ads suggest and he cares more about fiscal conservatism and business growth than rounding up “illegals” in his pickup truck. From my personal experience with Brian Kemp, I know this to… Read more »

Noway2016
Noway2016

Redneck all the way. Dance with the one that brung ye…
I envision a chaw of Red Man dribbling off his lip!

Noway2016
Noway2016

And your Brooks Bros Repubs don’t do runoffs.

ScottNAtlanta
ScottNAtlanta

Really? Still doing the Brooks Brothers thing? Werent they going bankrupt?

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

The company’s financial health has nothing to do with the phenomenon of late-20s and early-30s WASPs dressing like old people.

*As I type this, I’m wearing a Brooks Brothers dress shirt because they fit pretty well and were on sale a few months ago.

Noway2016
Noway2016

Do you remember what their sale price was? I don’t have one close but their stuff is high quality.

ScottNAtlanta
ScottNAtlanta

There is a conflict going on within these two candidates. On one hand, they have to play to the NRA base, but on the other hand, need to show their pro-b’ness bonafides. Seems that little Delta matter could be fodder for someone (most likely Abrams if she is smart). I think Kemp went to “all in” with the NRA to be able to use it as a line of attack, but its a clear vulnerability. Also, does the crazy clown car (or deportation bus…whichever) keep puttering down the road? My guess is it will

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

That’s the conflict that has grounded so many of the mini-Trumps out there. Trump has spent decades crafting a public persona that is so over the top his racism, misogyny, general lack of knowledge, etc. just get chalked up to the craziness that is Donald Trump. When someone like Michael Williams tries it, he just looks like an idiot. While our political polarization may be getting worse, the vast majority of voters that don’t spend all day on Twitter or watching Fox News want candidates who seem competent and are willing to put in the work and compromise necessary to… Read more »

Will Durant
Will Durant

With both having played up to the NRA and cancelled out each others gun support I expect the semi-finals to consist of the usual family squeezing and Bible thumping. Hill’s voters will go at least 70/30 to Cagle as I just don’t see that many potential metro voters swaying to Kemp. Also under our current system we will again have 4% of our adult population effectively choosing Georgia’s next governor. I did think that in this year of #MeToo that a wild card in the General would be heavy duty rumors with Cagle’s past but given the president’s antics I’m… Read more »