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Georgia’s center of political gravity shifting toward Atlanta

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The Southside Atlanta district of state Rep. David Dreyer splays out like a wobbly chair as it straddles both sides of the Downtown Connector. And somewhere among the 130,000 or so constituents the Democrat represents, two stand out: newly elected U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

The area has long been home to diverse working-class neighborhoods suffering from a lack of investment. Until a few years ago, some of them didn’t have easy access to a grocery store. And to Dreyer, the fact that Georgia’s two Jan. 5 runoff victors live in his constituency speaks loudly about the state of Georgia politics.

“Power no longer lies in homogeneous gated communities like Sea Island,” he said. “Power in Georgia now lies in diverse communities.”

As Georgia transforms from a Republican stronghold to the nation’s premier battleground state, a seismic geographic shift is underway.

No longer is the state’s political gravity squarely in sparsely populated South Georgia, as it was throughout decades of Democratic rule in the 20th century, or centered in the conservative bastions of North Georgia that dominated the state GOP through most of the 2010s.

Now, Atlanta and its suburbs have increasingly become the center of state politics, home to a burgeoning […]

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