Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 4, 2014

On June 4, 1785, James Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia, met with John Adams, the first ambassador from the new United States to Great Britain.

On June 4, 1919, Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. In August 1920, enough states had ratified the 19th Amendment that it took effect.

The Battle of Midway began on June 4, 1942. During the battle, four Japanese aircraft carriers that had participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor and one cruiser were sunk at the cost of one American carrier and one destroyer.

Today is the 25th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing, China.

Jim Galloway was in Beijing during the protests and crackdown and writes about it at the AJC Political Insider Blog.

Mississippi Runoff

In Mississippi, Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel forced 36-year incumbent Senator Thad Cochran into a runoff election three weeks from yesterday.

Mr. McDaniel held 49.6 percent of the vote after a stupendous hometown turnout, which surged far ahead of the turnout for the 2012 Republican presidential primary and gave him a lead over Mr. Cochran, who is at 48.9 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

The contest is expected to be decided in a runoff election on June 24, assuming that the final votes, mainly in Rankin County, a suburb of Jackson, don’t break decidedly and unexpected toward Mr. McDaniel.

My question is why Mississippi wasn’t forced into a 45-day or more runoff like Georgia was as the result of a federal lawsuit.

Mississippi is currently in talks with the federal government about remedying the issue, but it’s beyond me why the United States Department of Justice sued Georgia more than two years before taking action in Mississippi. Did they fail to use Google to find out which states have runoffs? In an article dated March 18, 2014:

The [Mississippi] Secretary of State’s Office has been notified by the U.S. Department of Justice that current state law conflicts with federal military and overseas voting laws.

Recent changes to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) require states to send absentee ballots to military and overseas voters who request them at least 45 days before an election for federal office. State law provides only 21 days between a primary election and a primary run-off election.

“Rather than be sued by the federal government for failing to comply with federal law, the State Board of Election Commissioners have decided to provide military voters with both their primary and primary run-off ballot when electronically transmitting overseas absentee ballots,” said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “Mississippi is a leading state in allowing electronic voting for the military, and I intend to keep it that way.”

Military and overseas voters will rank the candidates of their choice for the primary run-off ballot, in a so-called “ranked choice” ballot. When the primary run-off ballot is returned to the Circuit Clerk’s Office with the primary election ballot, it will be placed in a separate absentee ballot envelope in the event there is a primary run-off election.

Mississippi has a number of electronic methods for overseas military and civilian voters, including via email on election day.

Mississippi also uses ranked choice ballots for the Primary election to allow voters to cast one ballot that covers both primary and primary runoff choices. Four other states, including neighboring Alabama, use this type of ballot for overseas voters.

I hope the Georgia General Assembly will consider other options like this during the next Session.

Campaigns and Elections

When Jeff Northway signed up to run for Mayor of Springfield, Georgia, he had to indicate on the form that he’d never been convicted and sentenced for a felony involving moral turpitude. The problem is that Northway had two 1983 convictions in Texas on felonies involving moral turpitude. In July 2012, Northway resigned, and now he’s been indicted for false swearing and perjury. That’ll ratchet the felony count up to four if he’s convicted or pleads guilty.

Jack Kingston will be endorsed by Congressman Phil Gingrey, who finished out of the money in the Senate race last month.

Kingston’s campaign is trying to parlay a unique accord between establishment forces, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and outsider elements on the GOP’s right flank. He has picked up the blessing of former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, who finished in third place with the help of tea party support, as well as the backing of most of Georgia’s congressional delegation.

Kingston’s campaign declined to comment but said it would hold a “major political announcement” on Wednesday morning. Gingrey, who has represented a northwest Atlanta district for more than a decade, could help Kingston make inroads to vote-rich metro Atlanta. Gingrey won four counties in northwest Georgia, and he and Handel helped dampen Perdue’s lead across the northern part of the state.

For Perdue’s camp, getting spurned by elected officials could play into his message of being an outsider set on shaking up the Washington status quo. He’s long run on his business credentials and his campaign has argued that rank-and-file Republicans will make up their minds on who to support on their own.

In addition to former Secretary of State Karen Handel, Congressman Lynn Westmoreland has endorsed Jack Kingston in the runoff.

“Jack Kingston and I have been friends for 20 years, during which I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know him and his wonderful family,” Westmoreland said according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “For the last ten of those years, we’ve been colleagues and I have seen firsthand how Jack commits whole-heartedly to his work. Jack is one of the most gracious, humble, and hard-working men I know. His honesty and dedication to serving Georgians can¹t be matched.”

Westmoreland mentioned Kingston’s work on the Savannah port, commitment to conservative values, and attention to issues facing the military, veterans and farmers as some of the values that make him the right pick for the U.S. Senate. Kingston represents Georgia’s first congressional district.

In State House District 112, outgoing State Rep. Doug Holt has endorsed Dave Belton in the runoff election.

Holt announced his endorsement of Belton Tuesday after several people asked who he believed would do the best job.
“I believe it is time for me to state openly and publicly that ‘Dave Belton is that person,’” Holt said in a press release. “Over the last 10 years, I have come to know Dave very well on both a personal and professional level. His commitment to our country and to public service is without equal.”
Holt said Belton’s military career includes 23 years of service as a pilot in the Navy and Air Force, involving countless missions flown during the Persian Gulf War and in four other conflicts around the world.
“Just weeks ago, he donated his time once again as a volunteer pilot to bring more than 100 of our service men and women from Kyrgyzstan back home. As always, he responded to the call of service,” Holt said. “It is this call to service that I believe has led him to run for the House District 112 seat.”

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