Suburban and urban Newton residents split with rural county residents in voting for the next president in the Nov. 3 election.
In unofficial totals, Democrat Joe Biden won 55% of the Newton County vote and Republican incumbent Donald Trump won 44%. Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen won the remaining 1%.
The results from the Georgia Secretary of State’s office showed:
• Biden won 12 precincts covering most of the city of Covington and suburban western Newton County, including the City Pond, Town, Almon, Covington Mills, Cedar Shoals, Livingston, Downs, Beaverdam, Buck Creek, Stansell, Fairview and Crowell precincts.
His top winning percentages came in the Crowell and Fairview precincts in northwestern Newton where the former vice president received 87% of the vote in each location.
• Trump won 10 precincts covering the rural north, east and south, including Alcovy, Brewers, Brick Store, Gum Creek, Leguinn, Mansfield, Newborn, Oxford, Rocky Plains and Hub precincts.
He won his top Newton County percentages in Mansfield with 88% of the vote; and the Hub precinct in northeastern Newton County where he received 82%.
• Biden received 29,754 Newton County votes and Trump 23,847. Jorgensen won 576 votes out of the total of 54,177 cast.
Barbara Robertson, senior lecturer in political science at Georgia State University’s Newton campus, said the county’s voting choices followed the trend of a rural-urban split along party lines seen in Georgia for about four years.
One likely factor in suburban and urban Georgia voters agreeing politically in recent years is minority residents who lived in urban areas began moving to suburban areas.
Republicans who tend to be white make up the vast majority of rural voters, she said.
“The prediction was the suburbs would tilt toward Biden,” Robertson said.
She said the two congressmen who represent Newton County reflect the county’s political split.
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, is a liberal and represents western Newton in Georgia’s 4th Congressional District. Staunchly conservative U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, represents eastern Newton in the 10th Congressional District, she said.
Robertson noted the percentage of Democratic Georgia voters also has risen in recent years.
Republican Mitt Romney won Georgia with about 53% of the vote in the 2012 presidential election.
While the statewide vote barely topped 50% for unconventional Republican candidate Donald Trump in 2016, the trend continued in the 2018 gubernatorial election for Brian Kemp and this year for other statewide Republican candidates in close races with Democrats, Robertson said.
“It doesn’t seem to be a Trump thing,” she said.
Newton County voted 61% in 2000 and 63% in 2004 for Republican George W. Bush. But it narrowly chose Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and the trend has continued toward Democrats since then, according to past election results.
Robertson noted suburban Gwinnett County formerly had a large Republican majority and a congressman, U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, who easily won election as a supporter of the far right Tea Party movement in 2010.
This year, Gwinnett voters elected Democrats to countywide offices long held by the GOP. Woodall did not seek re-election this year and Democrat Carolyn Bordeaux — who almost defeated Woodall in 2018 — won the right to replace him.