Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 3, 2015

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 3, 2015

John Willis Menard became the first black man elected to Congress on November 3, 1868 from the Second District of Louisiana. Menard’s election opponent challenged the results and prevented Menard from taking his seat, though in defense of his election Menard became the first black man to address Congress.

On November 3, 1913, details of the federal income tax were finalized and published after the ratification earlier in the year of the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Bacon, Barrow, Candler, and Evans Counties were created on November 3, 1914 when voters approved Constitutional Amendments – prior to these Amendments, Georgia was limited to 145 counties. On the same day, Carl Vinson was elected to Congress from Georgia, becoming the youngest member of Congress at the time. Vinson would eventually become the first Member of Congress to serve more than fifty years. Vinson’s grandson, Sam Nunn would serve in the United States Senate.

The Chicago Tribune published the infamous “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline on November 3, 1948. Ultimately, Democrat Truman won 303 electoral votes to 189 for Republican Dewey.

Laika, a female Siberian Husky mix who was found stray on the streets of Moscow, was launched into space aboard Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957.

On November 3, 1968, Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson was elected President over Republican Barry Goldwater.

On November 3, 1970, Jimmy Carter was elected Governor of Georgia.

Democrat Cynthia McKinney became the first African-Amercian female elected to Congress from Georgia on November 3, 1992.

On November 3, 1998, Democrat Thurbert Baker was elected Attorney General and Michael Thurmond was elected Commissioner of Labor, becoming the first African-Americans elected to statewide executive office in Georgia.

One World Trade Center opened on November 3, 2014, more than thirteen years after the 9/11 attacks.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is the day that American citizens earn our right to complain about what happens in local government or to cheer those we elect to the offices that have the most day-to-day influence in our lives by voting for Mayor and City Council in many municipalities across Georgia. Other citizens will vote in special elections for two legislative seats, or will cast ballot in favor or opposition to either a new or continuing SPLOST sales tax.

In some municipalities, odd-year elections take place in different locations than we vote for Governor or President. The City of Cumming in Forsyth County is an example of a city that has only one polling place for municipal elections.

Election Day kicks off at 7 a.m. and runs until 7 p.m. at Cumming City Hall. Only registered voters who live within Cumming city limits are allowed to participate in Tuesday’s election.

In Cumming’s Post 4, outgoing councilman Ralph Perry will be replaced by either Chris Light, Dana Sexton, Jack Shoemake, Avery Stone, or Guy McBrayer.

In Post 5, John D. Pugh will be succeeded by either Linda Ledbetter or Julie Tressler, who ran against each other in June to succeed Sexton following his resignation. Charles F. Welch, Jr. won the election and replaced Sexton on the council.

Lewis Ledbetter is facing no opposition in Post 3 and will return to an office he has held since 1971.

Check out Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s MVP Page for up-to-date information on whether you have an election today, and where you will vote. Once you sign in, on the right-hand column, under “Polling Place for State, County, and Municipal Elections” you can click the link for “Click here for municipal polling place” to see if you go somewhere else to vote for Mayor, City Council, and the like.

In Gwinnett County, it is vitally important that you vote on the E-SPLOST penny sales tax for schools. There are good reasons to be for it, good reasons to be against it, but no defensible reason for not registering your approval or disapproval at the ballot box. Politicians count on fewer voters showing up in odd-numbered years, making it easier to pass taxes that will be paid by everyone. If I don’t know enough to vote for a tax or bond referendum, my default is to vote no.

Voters in Macon will also cast ballots on an E-SPLOST today. The Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce is for it and Erick Erickson is against is.

Elections Have Consequences

Qualifying has opened in the Special Election for State Senate District 20 in Middle Georgia, which will be held December 1, 2015.

Those interested in running in the Dec. 1 Special Election, must qualify before noon on Wednesday at the Secretary of State’s Office at 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SE, West Tower, Suite 802, Atlanta, Ga. 30334.

The district covers Bleckley, Laurens and Pulaski counties and a portion of Houston.

To cast a ballot, you must be registered to vote before the close of business Nov. 6.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Dec. 1, and the same hours on Dec. 29, if a runoff is necessary.

A candidate forum has been set for 6 p.m. Nov. 17 in Middle Georgia State University’s Oak Hall Atrium, 100 University Parkway, Macon. The event is hosted by Middle Georgia State University, the Robins Regional Chamber and The Telegraph. Charles Richardson, editorial page editor at The Telegraph, will serve as moderator.

The Augusta Chronicle has really set the gold standard for news coverage of a SPLOST election, devoting an entire section to it, and writing new stories dailys. If you live there, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the issue and please go vote today – for or against, I don’t care. I just want to see the peach sticker on your Facebook and Twitter today. A poll suggests a majority favor the SPLOST in Augusta, but polls are often wrong – some pollsters more frequently than others – and it’s only people who show up whose preferences will count.

I can’t think of a time I’ve seen a restraining order preventing people from speaking about elections or about public figures including radio hosts, but Augusta Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Daniel Craig did just that and Superior Court Harold Hinesley kept the order in effect.

A Superior Court judge denied a motion Monday to dismiss a restraining order against a state legislative candidate and two of his associates that had been granted to local radio talk show host Austin Rhodes last week.

Rhodes, who hosts an afternoon talk show on WGAC-AM (580) radio, sought and was granted a temporary restraining order Friday afternoon against three people – Jackie Powell Churchville, Rob Morgan and Joe Mullins, who is one of four candidates seeking the vacant Georgia House District 122 seat, which could be decided in Tuesday’s special election.

The order, signed by Superior Court Judge Danny Craig, enjoins and constrains the three defendants from “repeating false accusations” about Rhodes’ motives behind his vocal opposition to Mullins’ candidacy for state House.

After a hourlong recess, Craig returned to inform the parties another hearing had been scheduled that afternoon before a judge in McDuffie County Superior Court in Thomson.

Superior Court Judge Harold Hinesley convened his hearing at 1 p.m., allowing both sides to argue the matter.

Hinesley recessed the court and returned just before 3:30 p.m. with a ruling against the defendants, keeping the existing order in place.

If you approve or disapprove of the order issued by Judge Craig and upheld by Judge Hinesley, your recourse is at the ballot box in their next election.

On Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court heard a gun-rights case brought by GeorgiaCarry.org.

The gun-owner-rights group filed a case about one permit holder, Iziah Smith, who wanted a temporary permit while his 5-year license was being renewed. Probate judges are supposed to automatically issue a 90-day permit for $1, unless a disqualifying issue is known, according to John Monroe, the organization’s lawyer.

“It’s not a matter of what his background was. All of the clerks testified at the deposition, ‘We didn’t issue temporary licenses. We just didn’t do it. It wasn’t a matter of anyone’s particular background,’” he said.

An attorney for Probate Judge Harry B. James III told the justices there was no case because James had issued the renewed 5-year license before Smith filed the lawsuit.

If you don’t like the way your local Probate Judge issues carry permits (or doesn’t issue), you have two means of recourse. A lawsuit may get bumped out of court procedurally, leaving the ballot box. Georgia Supreme Court justices also run in elections.

Sometimes it’s tempting to think with respect to legislative elections that a single one of 435 Members of Congress or one State Representative in the State House won’t make a difference. Three men being sued under the Hidden Predator Act, which passed earlier this year largely through the efforts of State Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) now know that’s not true.

Here’s what the law does, from WSB Radio,

“House Bill 17 does three things,” says Angela Williams, director of Voice Today, which seeks to help victims speak out and, once they do, helps them with what comes next.

“It creates an extension of the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse under a discovery rule,” she tells WSB.  “What that means is that from the time that you discover your injuries, be it PTSD, addiction, whatever you’re suffering from, are linked to your sexual abuse, you have two years to file a civil action.

“Number two, it created a retroactive window,” she says, “so, no matter what age you are, the next two years you can bring a civil action against your perpetrator.

“That window opened on July 1, 2015 and will quickly close on July 1,2017.

“The third thing that it did was that if you were subject to any kind of investigation as a child, those records were closed, they were sealed,” says Williams.  “You really wouldn’t have access to evidence as an adult.  This law, now opens up those records.”

A karate school instructor and owner was the first defendant, and denies the allegations. The third suit, filed in the last week or so, accuses a political consultant and lobbyist.

I can’t think of another state legislator who would have come up with the Hidden Predator Act, and Rep. Spencer has shown a remarkable talent for passing big legislation from a junior position in a chamber that rewards seniority.

Also earlier this year, the General Assembly took two actions that have affected the sales of electric vehicles in Georgia.

The Georgia General Assembly earlier this year pulled the plug on one of the nation’s most generous state tax credits for electric cars.

At the same time, state lawmakers voted to impose a $200 annual registration fee on owners of some plug-in hybrids and all zero-emissions vehicles to make up for the gas taxes those motorists don’t pay and to help fund a backlog of road projects.

Both changes took effect July 1, and already, preliminary numbers show sales of the Nissan Leaf and other electric cars are plummeting, Don Francis, coordinator of the Clean Cities-Georgia Coalition, said in an interview published Oct. 28 at Watchdog.org.

New electric car registrations in Georgia fell 89 percent from 1,338 in June, the last month that the tax credit was available, to 148 in August, Francis said.

Georgia’s $5,000 credit meant huge savings for state residents who wanted to buy or even lease an electric car — especially when coupled with a federal tax credit that could be as much as $7,500, depending on the capacity of the vehicle’s battery.

Those who wanted to get rid of the tax credit said that the double tax credits were excessive and allowing Atlanta yuppies to lease electric cars, including the $30,000 Leaf, for as little as $100 a month.

Last night, DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester and outgoing Brookhaven Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams held a Town Hall meeting to discuss water billing issues that attracted more than 100 angry citizens.

Jester Water meeting

If you’d like to watch the whole meeting, click here to watch it on Periscope.

From CBS 46 news,

“There is a lack of trust and a lack of credibility that has built up over many issues over many years,” said Jester.

It was a packed house with people upset and confused after receiving water bills that were suddenly much higher than normal.

Resident Perri Higbie showed CBS46 a bill her community received that said the neighborhood  owed $794,000.

“We paid the $9, which was the actual bill, so the $794,000 bill that we received it was rectified over the next few days,” said Higbie. “However, it was a problem until then because if we didn’t pay it we were going to be charged $80,000 dollars in penalties and interest.”

Department of Watershed Management Director Scott Towler said the high water bills stem from multiple issues.

“It could be poor meter reading,” said Towler. “It could be a faulty meter, or it could be an over-estimated meter. There is not one single reason why.”

Poor meter reading, you say? Interesting that you would mention meter reading, because I’m at a loss for how a DeKalb County employee read the meter in this picture, brought by one citizen to the meeting.

Water Meter

I think I see how meter reading could be a problem.

Here’s Commissioner Jester after the meeting.

And from Fox 5 Atlanta, a tweet of what a nearly $800,000 water bill looks like.

Fox5Atlanta Tweet 800k

Trump Names New Georgia State Director

Trump Atlanta 1

The Donald J. Trump Georgia campaign has a new State Director, Brandon Phillips.

Mr. Trump stated, “While other candidates are being forced to scale back on their staffs or consider dropping out of the race, we are assembling an extensive campaign team to harness the tremendous enthusiasm we are receiving from proud Americans across the country. I will secure our border, take care of our veterans, and bring jobs back from overseas. We will continue to grow our incredible team and share my vision to Make America Great Again!”

Brandon Phillips is a Republican strategist in Georgia and Managing Partner at Wiregrass Strategy Group. Brandon has more than a decade of campaign experience at the local, state and federal levels including serving as state director for Mitt Romney in 2008. Brandon was recently nominated for Republican Leadership Georgia and currently serves on the GAGOP State Committee.

Anyone interested in joining the Trump Georgia team can email Brandon.

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