ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal eked out a re-election victory Tuesday after a bruising campaign, defeating Democrat Jason Carter despite shifting demographics in the Republican stronghold of Georgia and the family pedigree of his opponent.
Democrats had hoped that Carter, a state senator and grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, could build a coalition of voters who typically sit out nonpresidential races and take down Deal.
The incumbent was part of a Republican takeover of the state’s constitutional offices in 2010. But Deal’s relentlessly optimistic take on the state’s economy proved effective, and Carter didn’t make the impact he needed by focusing on the state’s high unemployment rate and cuts to education.
Unofficial tallies showed Deal winning more than 55 percent of the vote Tuesday with roughly 94 percent of the expected vote counted.
His next term will be devoted to bettering Georgia, Deal told supporters gathered Tuesday night at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta between chants of “four more years.”
“We’re going to continue to make Georgia the best place in the country for everything you can imagine,” Deal said. “Jobs, environment, family life, best place to live. We have it all going for us and we’re going to keep it moving in that direction.”