Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections News for May 17, 2012

“Sadie” is a sweet and shy 2 year old, 58 pound girl, who is listed as “urgent” at the Cobb County Animal Shelter, which is never a good sign for a dog. She is so frightened in the shelter and really would like to find her forever home very soon.

Sadie knows how to sit when told but prefers to roll over for a belly rub. She is in run 79 and her ID# is 541593. She is up to date on shots, but sadly she has tested positive for heartworms, but with treatment, she will be good as new in no time.

To adopt these or any other animal from Cobb County, call Cobb County Animal Shelter, at (770) 499-4136 for more information or visit at 1060 Al Bishop Drive Marietta, Georgia 30008, and be sure to have the animal’s number available.

We will be featuring animals from Cobb County all week as they prepare for their adopt-a-thon on Saturday, May 19th from 10 AM to 4 PM. Visit Friends of Shelter Animals for Cobb County on Facebook for more adoptable dogs.

On Sunday, May 20th, DeKalb County Commissioners Elaine Boyer, Sharon Barnes Sutton, and Stan Watson will host a fundraiser at Stars and Strikes Bowling Lanes, located at 1741 Mountain Industrial Blvd. in Stone Mountain, GA 30083.

The fundraiser will benefit DeKalb County’s spay and neuter program for low-income pet owners and adult tickets cost $30.00 each, tickets for children 12 & under are $20.00 each or a four ticket package (any ages) may be purchased for $80.00; ticket price includes light refreshments, 1 hour of bowling & a game package.

For more information, you may visit www.helpdekalbanimals.com or contact Commissioner Boyer’s office at 404-371-2844 or email ecboyer [at] dekalbcountyga [dot] gov

Georgia Republican State Convention

Republican officeholders, activists, and candidates will be gathering in Columbus this weekend for the 2012 GOP convention. An agenda for the convention is online at the Georgia Republican Party website and the Ron Paul people have helpfully published the official GAGOP Convention Planning Manual online. Study up on the applicable rules before you head to Columbus, because they are.

Georgia Federation of Young Republicans will also convene this weekend after the state convention.

Senator Josh McKoon, the Republican who represents Columbus in the State Senate was kind enough to send his suggestions for other attractions in Columbus in case you’re dragging bringing the rest of your family who aren’t interested in the convention.

In no particular order, places on the McKoon Tour include:
National Civil War Naval Museum
Springer Opera House (State Theatre of Georgia)
National Infantry Museum
Coca-Cola Space Science Center
Chattahoochee Riverwalk (where you can see the whitewater course taking shape)
Ma Rainey House & Blues Museum
Dinglewood Pharmacy (Home of the Scrambled Dog)
Columbus Ice Rink (next door to the Civic Center)
The Loft (Bar/Music Venue)
Belloo’s (Cigar Bar across the street from the convention hotel)

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Doug Collins edged Martha Zoller for the Ninth Congressional District by a 47-44 margin in an online survey last week. While the survey is simply a survey of who cares enough to vote online, and doesn’t claim to be an accurate measure of anything, the number of participants, well over 5000, suggests a high level of interest in the race.

Carrie Deal Wilder, daughter of Gov. Deal, has endorsed Zoller in that congressional race, while Denise Deal, the Governor’s daughter-in-law is raising funds for Collins.

Landmark/Rosetta Stone released a poll indicating that most Georgians oppose gay marriage, and that Romney leads President Obama by a 51-40 margin. The sample size was 600 and margin of error 4 points in either direction. Pro-tip: any purported survey that doesn’t tell you the sample size is garbage.

Jim Galloway argues that voter perception of local schools will affect the election for Cherokee County School Board Chair and the State Senate cage match between Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers and Brandon Beach.

Galloway also notes that Beach lives on the border between Rogers’s District and that of Sen. John Albers, who Beach ran against in 2010, losing by a narrow margin.

Elsewhere on the web was published, then removed, a first-hand account of a meeting with Senator Albers shortly after the 2010 Primary Runoff against Beach in which Albers is said to have told a local GOP activist that one of his top legislative priorities was ensuring that Beach would not remain in his district so that Albers wouldn’t face another election against Beach. A google webcache of the page exists if you’re good at the internet.

Republican Danny Dukes is running as a Republican for Chair of the Cherokee County Board of Education.

“During the last few weeks, I have discovered a groundswell of support for a true conservative as Cherokee County School Board chair,” Dukes said. “Parents, teachers, community leaders and citizens share my sincere passion for the children of our county. We all deserve a school board with positive, collaborative energy and an effective leader who works for solutions based on conservative principles.”

Dukes said he finds the county graduation rate, 73rd among 182 systems evaluated, “alarming.”

“Meanwhile the Cherokee Board of Education has repeatedly raised property taxes with little to show for it. Additionally, the board has also engaged in a very public fight with families and community leaders.”

Elections for Richmond County Board of Education and Augusta City Commission are likely to be delayed by the federal court redrawing district lines there after the legislature failed to pass new maps.

Hall, presiding over a first hearing Wednesday in the federal lawsuit filed to stop local commission and school board elections from being held under a decade-old district plan, said he’ll soon file an order moving the qualifying dates to August unless the U.S. Department of Justice pre-clears a new Georgia law moving the election dates from November to July by the start of qualifying May 23.

State Rep. Elly Dobbs (D-Atlanta) has endorsed Jason Esteves in the Democratic Primary to succeed her in the state house.

Rabun County Chief Magistrate Judge Lawrence “Rocky” Ford resigned while under investigation by the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission, becoming the fourth judge in the Mountain Judicial Circuit to resign while under investigation since 2010.

Centerville’s City Council is considering repealing a homestead exemption for residents 70 and older by placing the question on the November ballot, guaranteeing a parade of older voters in that election.

The Cherokee County GOP will hold a series of debates for contested elections beginning this month:

May 31 at 7 p.m. at the GOP Headquarters in Towne Lake for the Cherokee County tax commissioner and the Cherokee County sheriff’s races; June 4 at 7 p.m. at the GOP Headquarters for the state House District 22 seat, Board of Education Post 2 seat and the Cherokee County Commission Post 2 seat; and June 11 at 7 p.m. at GOP Headquarters for State House District 20 and 21 seats.

Debates for other races will be announced after qualifying ends May 25.

Earlier this week, First Lady Sandra Deal spoke to the graduating class of Leadership Rome.

Dalton legislators told the Dalton Tea Party that they favor eliminating the state income tax but don’t expect it to happen any time soon.

There is a significant desire to do away with that tax in the state government,” said state Rep. Tom Dickson, R-Cohutta. “But there are expenditures and costs that we have to fund. And you have to find a way to make up that revenue or cut that spending.”

“There’s no way that we are going to eliminate that tax in the next few years. But we can begin to whittle away at it,” said state Sen. Charlie Bethel, R-Dalton.

Bethel also noted the importance of the repeal of the state sales tax on energy used in manufacturing:

“In this area, with its strong manufacturing base, we know how important that change is,” Bethel said, noting that no other Southeastern state charges such a tax.

“That put us at a disadvantage trying to recruit businesses. This was an easy way for us to play catch up with our peers in the Southeast,” Bethel said.

Dwayne Hooper will run for Chief Magistrate Judge in Whitfield County.

Georgia Right to Life has endorsed Rep. Doug McKillip (DR).

Whitfield County Commissioner Greg Jones will run for reelection in the Republican Primary against announced challenger Lynn Laughter.

Republican Tony Stanley will run for Whitfield County Board of Eduction District Three.

Citizens For Better Transportation: Region 2 has launched a website to “educate” voters about the T-SPLOST vote to be held July 31st.

Opposition to T-SPLOST is appearing in Henry County.

Senator Ross Tolleson (R-Perry) said that passage of the regional T-SPLOST will benefit Houston and surrounding counties.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to keep growing, and we’re going to need more transportation money,” Tolleson, R-Perry, said of Houston County.

“It’s going to kill us,” said Tommy Stalnaker, Houston County commission chairman, reiterating his previous opposition to the T-SPLOST. He said he didn’t think Houston County voters would renew any future SPLOSTs, which the county has used for major capital improvements since 2001.

The Macon Telegraph has a list of offices on the July 31st ballot.

State Rep. Chuck Williams, a Watkinsville Republican, will fundraise on Monday with hosts Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens and state Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens.

Cherokee County Recreation and Parks Agency Board Member Chris Hampton is running for Post 3 on the County Commission.

Residents of the City of Temple will have Sunday liquor sales by the drink on the ballot for July 31st primary elections if the US DOJ preclears it.

Gwinnett County’s Republican District Attorney Danny Porter was named by Governor Nathan Deal to the Georgia Board of Juvenile Justice.

Social Media

General Motors is moving away from Facebook ads, having decided that it isn’t effective.

“The revenue loss is insignificant, but the fact that one of the largest brand advertisers in the country sees Facebook as ineffective suggests others may do so,” said Carlos Kirjner, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York, in a research report. “One can plausibly infer that what GM found out, others will too, making it harder to make a bull case for revenue growth based on the presumption that there is high return on investment from social advertising to brand advertisers.”

On the other hand, Ford Motor Company, who spends $5 million per year on Facebook advertising, said it will increase its expenditure.

Ends & Pieces

Southern Nuclear, the subsidiary building Plant Vogtle nuclear reactors 3 and 4, asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to allow construction to continue while the company pursues a license amendment required by settling in a sub-foundation basemat for part of the nuclear facility.

A new barracks for injured soldiers has been completed at Fort Stewart:

Fort Stewart officials opened the two barracks buildings that feature fully furnished two-bedroom apartments for up to 240 soldiers. Each apartment can be specifically tailored to the particular injuries of the soldiers living in it, and many are fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, said Lt. Col. Thomas Woodie, the project manager from the Savannah District of the Army Corps of Engineers.

South Carolina voters will decide in November whether their Governor and Lt. Governor will run as a ticket in future elections.

Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped below 9% for the first time in three years.

Forbes magazine ranked Dalton, Georgia one of the top small cities in the country for job growth.

Rev. Al Sharpton will speak in Augusta in August for the 225th anniversary of Springfield Baptist Church.

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