How Brown Democrats Mobilized in Georgia

A record turnout of South Asian American voters helped swing the Georgia runoffs.

Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff (Jon Ossoff, via Instagram)

The Capitol is in chaos but the results are still in: Biden will be president in 2021, and Georgia’s runoff has swung control of the Senate into the hands of Democrats. In many ways, the stakes of Georgia’s senatorial elections were unprecedented, and the world watched as voters decided between Republican candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, and Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Beyond the politics, the race showed something else: the changing face of Georgia, which has transformed from a conservative state known for Black vs. white politics into a multicultural hub. 

“I feel like it's heading blue,” said Swathi Sekar, a 32-year-old Atlanta resident who phonebanked for the Democratic Party. “Cobb County is a different universe now than it was when I was growing up there. I can't remember any students of color at my middle school. I just always remember being in a sea of white.” Georgia now has at least 194,000 people of South Asian descent, according to the 2019 American Community Survey.

While there are plenty of Brown Republican voters, they are in the minority — 72% of Indian Americans voted for Biden in 2020. Much of the success of the Democratic senators can be attributed to the Black community, which mobilized in historic numbers to swing the state blue. 

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