Georgia once again finds itself in election season, with two highly competitive midterm races on the horizon. At the state level, Governor Brian Kemp is facing Stacey Abrams in a rematch of their 2018 showdown, while Senator Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker will fight to determine who represents Georgia in the U.S. Senate. However, if any of those four wants a job come next January, they’ll need to prove to Georgia’s older voters that they can tackle the inflation that’s hurting our state.
New polling shows that the top issues for Georgians over 50 are inflation and the economy. This should come as no surprise since older Georgians are impacted the most by rising costs. The millions of farmers, city workers, and small business owners who are retired or living on a fixed income suddenly find themselves facing uncertainty as costs for most items including basic goods skyrockets with no end in sight.
Currently, inflation in the Peach State sits at an alarming 12.8%, well above the national average of 9.1%. The Atlanta area alone, home to millions of Georgians, boasts the second highest inflation rate in the country. In June, the price of groceries rose 15%, an all-time high for our state. None of this is ideal for any Georgian, but especially for low-income Georgians and retirees living on a fixed income or folks who are being forced to dip into their hard-earned savings. Older Georgians require a solution now, and they’ll make their feelings known at the ballot box if candidates and President Biden fail to meet the challenge.
A Georgia candidate who dismisses our older voters does so at their own risk. Data from the 2018 midterms shows Georgians 45 and older had a 65% turnout rate, higher than any other age group. They’ll be coming out again in force this November, and their votes will go to whichever candidate can offer a workable solution to the inflation disrupting their lives and chipping away at Georgia’s economy.
If any Georgian needs proof that ignoring kitchen table issues is a recipe for disaster, look no further at this years’ US Senate Republican primary election when one candidate essentially focused only on one issue, not the economy nor more kitchen table issues. He did not even come close to winning. The Governor, Senator Warnock, Ms. Abrams, and Mr. Walker can learn from that failure and create a plan to tackle inflation if they haven’t already. Older Georgians have made it abundantly clear which type of candidate will get their votes.
Judson Hill of Marietta is a former Georgia state senator.