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Last Updated: Monday, 22 December, 2003, 17:52 GMT
State profile: Georgia
Georgia has traditionally been a key swing state with unpredictable changes in opinion, but in the last two electoral cycles Republicans have consolidated their hold here.

In 2002, they won both the governor's mansion and one of the Democrats' two senate seats.

KEY FACTS
Population: 8,186,453 (ranked 10 among states)
Governor: Sonny Perdue (R)
Electoral college votes: 15

The decision of the other, retiring Senator Zell Miller, to endorse George W Bush in 2004, can only make the party's task here easier.

The state has a strong Democratic tradition. In 1960 John F Kennedy won a higher percentage in Georgia than in his native Massachusetts, and in 1976 and 1980 there was strong support for native son and former governor Jimmy Carter.

2003 CONGRESS
House of Representatives:
5 Democrat, 8 Republican
Senate: 1 Democrat, 1 Republican
But in 1992 Bill Clinton won Georgia by just 13,000 votes and then lost to Bob Dole in 1996 by 27,000 votes.

Georgia, which grows 38% of the US's peanuts, is a curious mix of the rural old South and the more modern new South.

Its capital city, Atlanta, is the epitome of the latter.

VOTING RECORD
2000: Bush 55%, Gore 43%
1996: Clinton 46%, Dole 47%
1992: Clinton 43%, Bush 43%, Perot 13%
The birthplace of Martin Luther King, it has a progressive record on urban development and race relations, and is the fastest growing city in the south-east of the country.

Already the home of CNN, Atlanta's hosting of the 1996 Olympics sealed its new cosmopolitan status.





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