Henry County, Georgia – named after Revolutionary War Patriot Patrick Henry, who coined the slogan “give me liberty, or give me death” – is under the microscope again this election cycle, two years after the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division scrutinized the school district for demanding social security numbers from its students.
The New York Times includes Henry, Georgia as a county to watch Tuesday night. In the 1996 election cycle for president, the area was a +25 for Republicans. In 2012, the county was +3 for Republicans. White voters make up 49.8 percent of the county. The Times claims Georgia Democratic Senate nominee Michelle Nunn will need this county to win on election night with a strong turnout from black voters in the area.
In 2012, the Obama Justice Department announced that it reached a settlement agreement with the Henry County School District to guarantee that all students in the district could enroll in school, regardless of national origin or immigration status.
“The settlement agreement resolves the department’s investigation into allegations that the district improperly notified parents that their children would be withdrawn from school for not providing a social security number, and failed to make its enrollment procedures accessible to parents with limited proficiency in English,” stated a press release from the DOJ.
“Public schools serve all children in this country, no matter where they or their parents were born,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
Henry is around a half-hour south of Atlanta, and the demographics have changed immensely over a short period of time. As of 2013, around 211,000 people live in the county, and 6.3 percent of the population in Henry is Latino.
According to the Times, the number of black residents in the county “more than quadrupled from 2000 to 2010, and Democrats have made gains as a result.” If Nunn manages to pick up Henry County, it would be the first time a Democrat, since Jimmy Carter ran for re-election in 1980, did so.
The Henry County GOP, however, is aware of the demographics change and says they are seeking out and finding Democrats to cross over and vote Republican this year.
“I know we’ve had a lot of voters turn out early, and I know that the demographics have changed, but we are still just making a push to get every vote out that we could possibly get out. And we do know there will be some Democrats crossing over to vote Republican. They’ve already told us,” Joyce Hinton, Chairwoman of the Henry County GOP, told Breitbart News.
Brad Mock, the south metro field representative for the Georgia GOP, told Breitbart News that, since June, the party has participated in various outreach efforts through the Victory 365 campaign to expand the base.
“Since June, we’ve made efforts to expand the base, then drive out the newly expanded base–the ones the Republicans knew about and the newly found Republicans that were the independent swing voters from before,” he said.
He added, “So we spent a lot of time over the summer recently surveying and canvassing by phone and by door to find Republicans we didn’t know about and to confirm Republicans that we did know about to try to drive them out.”
According to Mock, the Georgia GOP has made “40,000 phone contacts and well over 60,000 door contacts through what’s described as a six county region.”
Hinton says that GOP voters in her county are “very enthusiastic and very focused” and are motivated by the general dysfunction of the government right now.
“People are sick of the government and, of course, there are issues. We know there are bills that are stuck in the Senate that Harry Reid will not touch to make the Republicans look bad,” she said. “We’ve even heard there are Democratic bills that they know the Republicans and Democrats would both vote on, and he won’t even put forth Democratic bills.”
Hinton finds Nunn’s pitch to voters that she will work with Republicans to accomplish her goals to be laughable, noting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will do what he wants to do regardless of what one Democratic Senator wants.