Donald Trump’s win is set to ripple through Georgia politics in the coming months and beyond, potentially redirecting expected state policy changes on issues like education, health care and religious rights.
Trump’s win “sends a signal” to the state Legislature, said Republican state Sen. Michael Williams of Cumming. He called himself the first Republican official in Georgia to endorse the now president-elect.
“I think the discussions that we have are going to dramatically change based on the leadership that we see from Donald Trump,” Williams said.
Before the election, lawmakers anticipated potential Medicaid expansion and education reform would dominate the legislative session beginning next January.
The Georgia Chamber of Commerce released a report outlining three ways the state might use federal money to get health care for people who are poor or disabled.
“I think that talk needs to kind of just be shelved until we see what President-elect Donald Trump does with Obamacare,” Williams said.
Gov. Nathan Deal has said he’ll pursue overhauling the state’s education funding formula and potentially give the state more control over how local schools operate. Williams said he’s anxious to see how Trump handles education.
On the national level, some high-profile Georgia politicians look set to benefit from Trump taking the White House.
Sen. David Perdue, one of the first Georgia Republicans and senators to support Trump, may have the most to gain.
“Americans sent a strong message,” Perdue said, using language similar to what he might have used during his own 2014 campaign. “I hope the political class in Washington will learn the right lessons from this latest election.”
Perdue is rumored to be a potential Secretary of Commerce in Trump’s cabinet.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may also be a pick for a high-level position in the administration.
“I won’t be surprised if he’s offered a significant position,” Randy Evans, a longtime advisor and attorney to Gingrich, told "Closer Look," “But I think at the end of the day he’ll probably take a pass.”
“Today Is Not Easy”
Georgia Democratic leaders, hard to find Tuesday night at their official election watch party, sent emailed statements Wednesday.
“Today is not easy. It was not expected, and it’s not what we wanted,” said Georgia Democratic Chairman Dubose Porter.
“It is my fervent prayer that the man who ran for office on a platform of racism, misogyny and religious bigotry will choose to govern our nation in celebration of its diversity and in search of a path for opportunity for all,” Democratic House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams said.
Democratic state Rep. Scott Holcomb, exhausted like many Georgians and Americans on Wednesday after very little sleep, said it’s time to get to work.
“I’m certainly committed to doing my part in the General Assembly to try and find common ground where we can,” Holcomb said. “I and others who are in the minority party are going to be very vocal in holding the party of Donald Trump accountable for all the promises that they’ve made.”