Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 17, 2014

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 17, 2014

The Mason-Dixon line separating Pennsylvania from Maryland was established on October 18, 1767.

In 1760, tired of border violence between the colonies’ settlers, the British crown demanded that the parties involved hold to an agreement reached in 1732. As part of Maryland and Pennsylvania’s adherence to this royal command, Mason and Dixon were asked to determine the exact whereabouts of the boundary between the two colonies. Though both colonies claimed the area between the 39th and 40th parallel, what is now referred to as the Mason-Dixon line finally settled the boundary at a northern latitude of 39 degrees and 43 minutes. The line was marked using stones, with Pennsylvania’s crest on one side and Maryland’s on the other.

Twenty years later, in late 1700s, the states south of the Mason-Dixon line would begin arguing for the perpetuation of slavery in the new United States while those north of line hoped to phase out the ownership of human chattel. This period, which historians consider the era of “The New Republic,” drew to a close with the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which accepted the states south of the line as slave-holding and those north of the line as free. The compromise, along with those that followed it, eventually failed.

Five thousand British and Hessian troops surrendered to patriot militia on October 17, 1777, ending the Second Battle of Saratoga, and leading to France recognizing American independence and sending military aid.

On October 19, 1791, General Cornwallis formally surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, ending the American Revolution. Cornwallis claimed to be ill and sent his second-in-command for the formal surrender.

An editorial published pseudononymously by Alexander Hamilton on October 17, 1796, accused Thomas Jefferson, then a Presidential candidate, of having an affair with a slave.

Happy birthday to the Texas Rangers, created on this day in 1835.

In the midst of their revolt against Mexico, Texan leaders felt they needed a semi-official force of armed men who would defend the isolated frontier settlers of the Lone Star Republic against both Santa Ana’s soldiers and hostile Indians; the Texas Rangers filled this role. But after winning their revolutionary war with Mexico the following year, Texans decided to keep the Rangers, both to defend against Indian and Mexican raiders and to serve as the principal law enforcement authority along the sparsely populated Texan frontier.

On October 18, 1867, the United States took over Alaska from Russia and ran up Old Glory there for the first time.

Separated from the far eastern edge of the Russian empire by only the narrow Bering Strait, the Russians had been the first Europeans to significantly explore and develop Alaska.

Seeing the giant Alaska territory as a chance to cheaply expand the size of the nation, William H. Seward, President Andrew Johnson‘s secretary of state, moved to arrange the purchase of Alaska. Agreeing to pay a mere $7 million for some 591,000 square miles of land-a territory twice the size of Texas and equal to nearly a fifth of the continental United States-Seward secured the purchase of Alaska at the ridiculously low rate of less than 2¢ an acre.

Paul Anderson, known as the “World’s Strongest Man,” was born in Toccoa, Georgia on October 17, 1932. From his New York Times obituary:

As the unknown substitute for the injured American champion at the first Soviet-American dual athletic competition, in Moscow in 1955, the 5-foot-9-inch Anderson was scorned by his hosts.

The scorn turned to snickers when Anderson called for a weight of 402.4 pounds, more than 20 pounds above the world record. The snickers stopped when the 340-pound Anderson lifted the weight. By the time he set another record, in the clean and jerk, he was being hailed by Soviet fans.

The stunning achievement at the height of the Cold War made Anderson an instant American hero, and it was largely an anticlimax when he set three more world records at the world championships in Munich, Germany, later that year.

Although virtually conceded the gold medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, Anderson was stricken with a severe inner-ear infection.

Competing at 304 pounds and with a 103-degree fever, he fell so far behind his chief rival that on the final of three required lifts, he needed to clean and jerk 413.5 pounds, an Olympic record, to claim the gold. Twice he tried and failed. On the third attempt he asked God for a little extra help and got it.

“It wasn’t making a bargain,” he said later, “I needed help.”

Paul Anderson Memorial Park in Toccoa is a private park supported by a 501(c)(3) organization.

Funeral for Mack Burgess today

A funeral mass for Mack Burgess will be held at St. Brigid’s Catholic Church, 3400 Old Alabama Road, Johns Creek, GA 30022 at noon today with a celebration of his life at 1:30 PM at the Country Club of Roswell, 2500 Club Springs Drive, Roswell, GA. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested a memorial be made in Mack’s honor, to the Shirley and Billy Weir Scholarship Foundation or the Sam Robb Fund.

Georgia Politics today

A mailer from the National Rifle Associations Political Victory Fund hit my mailbox yesterday.

Obama Bloomberg Nunn Mail Front

Obama Bloomberg Nunn Mail Back

Runoff Fever

Yesterday, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball upped their assessment of the chance of a runoff in Georgia.

Money the DSCC might have spent in Kentucky now appears to be going to Georgia, which is good news for Michelle Nunn (D) in her challenging battle against David Perdue (R). Perdue has led most public polls by about three to four points — though Nunn led by three in a new SurveyUSA poll Wednesday — but Perdue needs to get to 50% to avoid a runoff. Right now, he’s stuck between 46-47% in the poll averages. Perdue also apparently has been hurt by comments from several years ago about outsourcing jobs.

Democrats and Republicans still seem to be holding out hope that they can get their respective candidate over 50% on Election Day (Perdue still has the better shot). But we’re not so sure either will make it. So we’re giving this race the same designation we have in Louisiana: Toss-up/Leans Runoff.

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog also rates more highly the probability of extended campaign season in the Peach State.

The thing that moved our forecast the most was a SurveyUSA poll released this week showing Nunn ahead 48 percent to 45 percent. It was the first time SurveyUSA, which ranks as one of the best polling firms in our pollster ratings, showed anything other than a Perdue lead. Other Georgia polls from Landmark and GaPundit.com have shown Nunn ahead at times, but neither has as good of a record as SurveyUSA.

The movement in SurveyUSA’s polls appears to be real, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee are both pouring more money into Georgia.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the race. We haven’t had a gold-standard poll there since the beginning of September. Back then, Abt SRBI (polling for the Atlanta Journal Constitution) found Perdue ahead by 4 percentage points. The battle for funds also appears to be shifting. Perdue edged out Nunn in fundraising in the third quarter. Nunn had been substantially out-raising Perdue.

What’s becoming increasingly clear, however, is the importance of Libertarian Amanda Swafford’s campaign. In the last two SurveyUSA polls, she has earned 3 percent of the vote. That has shrunk slightly from earlier surveys; it’s not uncommon for a third-party candidate to fade down the stretch. But if Swafford’s vote percentage holds, either Perdue or Nunn would need to beat the other by at least 3 percentage points to avoid a runoff. Perdue’s current lead wouldn’t cut it.

Who would have the advantage in a runoff? Unfortunately, very little polling has been done testing Perdue vs. Nunn without Swafford. A Public Policy Polling survey from earlier this month found that Perdue’s 2-point lead on Nunn with Swafford expanded to 3 points without her. PPP also found white voters would be more likely to vote in January than black voters, possibly benefiting Perdue. Again, though, it’s only one survey.

As our forecast indicates, Perdue is favored to get more votes in a one-on-one runoff matchup against Nunn. And that runoff could, depending on how other states vote, determine control of the Senate.

Visitors with different accents

Yesterday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie visited Georgia in support of Governor Nathan Deal. From Walter Jones of Morris News:

Christie, the governor of New Jersey and chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association, followed the association’s money trail to Georgia. The association has spent $2.6 million on Deal’s re-election, and its previous chairman, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal made a campaign appearance here earlier this fall.

Like Christie, Jindal is also frequently mentioned as a possible presidential candidate. Their prospects improve the more political debts they gather by campaigning for fellow Republicans around the country.

Christie told a crowd gathered at the Roswell City Hall that he Deal’s own term as chairman of the association impressed governors with his leadership. That’s why he said he would come back before the Nov. 4 elections to campaign for Deal again.

“The choice that’s in front of you is whether or not you’re going to go back to policies of the past, policies of higher taxes and greater spending, greater dependence on Washington, D.C., or,” he said gesturing toward Deal, “to a state government with lower taxes, less spending, smaller government and more of the people of Georgia free to pursue their hopes and dreams in an entrepreneurial spirit without government telling them what to do. That’s what Gov. Deal stands for, and he needs you to stand for him Nov. 4.”

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has also booked a flight to our fair state.

Gov. Nathan Deal and Republican Senate hopeful David Perdue just announced an nine-day “Victory Tour” starting next week, and firebrand Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — a possible presidential contender — is slated to join them.

The Cruz event will be Oct. 25 at a farm in Bloomingdale, outside Savannah. In other 2016 news, Peach Pundit reported that Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will appear with Perdue on Oct. 24 in McDonough. And we’re still waiting for a date for Hillary Clinton’s visit to Georgia to help Democrat Michelle Nunn.

Today, Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, continues the Obama Administration’s support for Michelle Nunn, appearing at a private home reception raising money for the Democratic National Committee and a Saturday Nunn political rally with Hand On Atlanta at Fort Street United Methodist Church.

And don’t forget the Rand Paul rally for David Perdue at the McDonough Square, 19 Griffin Street, McDonough, Georgia 30253 next Friday at 1 PM. You can R.s.v.p. online via Facebook. I’m planning to get there early.

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