Georgia Politics, Campaign, and Elections for November 9, 2017

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Georgia Politics, Campaign, and Elections for November 9, 2017

General William Tecumseh Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 120 on November 9, 1864.

Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, in the Field, Kingston, Georgia, November 9, 1864

5. To corps commanders alone is intrusted the power to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, etc.; and for them this general principle is laid down: In districts and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested, no destruction of such property should be permitted; but should guerrillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, then army commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless, according to the measure of such hostility.

6. As for horses, mules, wagons, etc., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit; discriminating, however, between the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor and industrious, usually neutral or friendly. Foraging-parties may also take mules or horses, to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to serve as pack-mules for the regiments of brigades. In all foraging, of whatever kind, the parties engaged will refrain abusive or threatening language, and may, where the officer in command thinks proper, given written certificates of the facts, but no receipts; and they will endeavor to leave with each family a reasonable portion for their maintenance.

7. Negroes who are able-bodied and can be of service to the several columns may be taken along; but each army commander will bear in mind that the question of supplies is a very important one, and this his first duty is to see to those who bear arms.

8. The organization, at once, of a good pioneer battalion for each army corps, composed if possible of Negroes, should be attended to. This battalion should follow the advance-guard, repair roads and double them if possible, so that the columns will not be delayed after reaching bad places.

Former Confederate General John B. Gordon was sworn-in as Governor of Georgia on November 9, 1886.

The next day, November 9, 1932, President-elect FDR addressed a national broadcast to the American people and mentioned that he would spend Thanksgiving at his “second home” in Georgia.

On November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht began the organized destruction and looting of Jewish businesses and homes in Munich, Germany.

On November 9, 1989, the former East Germany announced that citizens could cross the border to West Germany. That night, crowds began tearing down sections of the wall that divided the city.

Georgia Politics, Campaign, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal issued an Executive Order creating and appointing members to the Governor’s Complete County Council in preparation for the next decennial Census.

The Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission has opened nominations for a vacancy on the Superior Court of the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, which was created by the resignation of the Honorable Frank J. Jordan, Jr. The Chattahoochee Judical Circuit comprises Chattahoochee, Harris, Marion, Muscogee, Talbot, and Taylor Counties. From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:

The vacant job will draw interest from a number of prominent local attorneys. At least six contacted by the Ledger-Enquirer this week said they had some interest in the Superior Court position, one of seven such jobs in the circuit.

[State Court Judge Benjamin S.] Richardson, District Attorney Julia Slater, Assistant Chief District Attorney Alonza Whitaker, Juvenile Court Judge Joey Loudermilk, former assistant district attorney LaRae Moore and criminal defense attorney Stacey Jackson said they were interested in the opening.

“If the opportunity presented itself, I would certainly explore it,” Richardson said Wednesday. “I think it’s a awesome opportunity and I can see why so many people would be interested.”

Slater, a Democrat, was on the short list submitted by the Judicial Nominating Commission to Deal, a Republican, in 2013.

“I would certainly like to be a Superior Court judge at some point,” Slater said on Tuesday. “I know the posting has just gone up, but I would be interested if I were nominated.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp‘s office has opened an investigation against Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

Sources told only Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Aaron Diamant that the investigation started after a complaint about a video posted on Reed’s Instagram and Facebook accounts.

The video, which appears to be filmed outside Fickett Elementary School on Rux Road, showed Reed, his wife and his daughter.

n the video, the Reed family urges people to vote and announces that they voted for Keisha Lance Bottoms.

“I’m Mayor Kasim Reed, here in Southwest Atlanta at Fickett Elementary School. And my wife, Sarah-Elisabeth, and my daughter, Maria Kristan, and I, we just voted for the next mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms,” Reed says in the video.

According to Georgia law: “No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method on any day in which ballots are being cast within 150 feet of the outer edge of any building within which a polling place is established.”

The video on Reed’s accounts seems to show Reed and his family within that 150-foot limit.

In a written statement, a Secretary of State spokesperson told Channel 2 Action News: “We received a complaint yesterday regarding statements that Mayor Reed allegedly made at his polling place. We review every complaint that we receive, and we have opened a State Election Board investigation into the matter. We cannot say anything further about this pending investigation at this time.”

A violation of the 150-foot rule would be a misdemeanor.

There’s a lot I dislike about the way Mayor Reed has conducted his administration, but this is pretty small potatoes.

Georgia cities have elected at least four new African-American Mayors. From TheRoot.com

African Americans were elected mayor for 1st time:
Statesboro GA, Jonathan McCollar
Milledgeville GA, Mary Parham Copelan
Cairo GA, Booker Gainor

Mary Parham-Copelan was also the first woman elected Mayor of Milledgeville.

Norcross elected Craig Gordon as Mayor.

The city of Norcross made longtime councilman Craig Newton Gwinnett’s first-ever black mayor during Tuesday’s election. Newton was not challenged.

And in Loganville — which is in both Gwinnett and Walton counties — former councilman Rey Martinez roughly doubled the unofficial vote total of opponent Donna B. Jones. It’s believed he will become Gwinnett’s first-ever Latino mayor.

Martinez, a U.S. Navy veteran and restaurateur, made a name for himself last fall by helping lead several Georgia rallies for then-candidates Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

Gwinnett is a majority-minority county, meaning it has more non-white residents than white ones. But it has never seen a non-white candidate elected to the county commission or school board.

The AJC writes that Republican state legislators may consider changing district lines for the three legislative districts that went from GOP control to Democratic control this week.

Majority parties — in Georgia that’s the Republicans — don’t like losing seats, and they could file legislation during the session to redraw the district boundaries of at least some of the new Democratic lawmakers.

They could, for instance, add white, conservative neighborhoods to the districts, subtracting Democratic and minority voters, in hopes of making them more Republican by election time 2018.

Democrats did similar voter switcheroos to Republicans when they were in charge, and barely a post-election session goes by without the General Assembly at least rumbling about redrawing lines — most typically to protect incumbents.

Our House Republican Caucus and Georgia GOP are already working to reclaim those seats lost last night in next year’s elections, when a greater percentage of Georgians will go to the polls,” said House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge. Ralston didn’t mention any changes in districts, but he said the newly won Democratic seats will be the top targets of House Republicans.

Georgia Democrats think those seat flips augur great things for the 2018 elections, but they don’t agree on why or how.

The Georgia results were part of a national wave that defeated Republican gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey. And with a wide-open race for governor next year, Democrats Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans trumpeted the results as validation of their strategies.

Supporters of Abrams said Ralph Northam’s victory in Virginia confirms their approach to the election, which hinges on energizing the party’s base. Her campaign said it was “proof that the momentum is on our side going into 2018.”

Evans’ backers said Northam’s success in districts carried by Trump, coupled with the Democratic wins in Georgia GOP strongholds, shows there’s an opening for Democrats like her who aim for disaffected Republican voters.

“While every race is important, only 1 percent of seats in the House changed hands between parties,” Ralston said in a statement. “I would caution against reading too much into such a minor shift.”

Some Republicans didn’t spin defeats late Tuesday in House districts covering parts of Athens and Watkinsville. Trump had carried both districts in November, and Republicans mounted solid and well-financed contenders for the seats.

“It’s a testament to the importance of a party contesting every seat possible,” Republican operative Todd Rehm said. “Kudos to Georgia Democrats for their recruitment efforts.”

He added that he’s not sure what precedent the votes set, since special elections are imperfect predictors of midterm votes. But he warned that the results will likely spur a new Democratic mission to contest all possible elections, even in deeply conservative areas.

Troy Brumbalow defeated 47-year incumbent Cumming Mayor Ford Gravitt.

Local business owner and Forsyth County native Troy Brumbalow defeated incumbent Mayor H. Ford Gravitt in Tuesday’s voting. Gravitt, 75, was first elected mayor in 1970 and has served in the post ever since.

Brumbalow, 46, received 563 votes, compared to 388 for Gravitt, according to county election results.

Brumbalow campaigned on returning a “small town feel” to Cumming, advocating for revitalizing downtown and the possibility of creating a city-center type development.

Gravitt underwent cancer surgery in the spring and was rumored to be retiring from his long-held post. But saying he’d received a clean bill of health, he announced he would seek another term. Prior to becoming mayor, he served from 1967-1970 as a member of Cumming City Council.

Fifty years of service to the City of Cumming is pretty impressive.

Summerville voters passed referenda to allow Sunday sales.

Summerville voters passed alcohol referendums, approving Sunday package and mixed-drink sales in the city beginning Dec. 17.

Polk, Gordon and Walker counties all approved sales tax packages and Euharlee will be adding four homestead exemptions.

Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini was easily returned to office, taking more than 90 percent of the vote over challenger Barbara Jackson. Cary Roth edged out Joey Pogue for the sole contested city council seat, 361 to 339.

Just under 8 percent of Gordon County’s voters showed up to overwhelmingly pass the proposed special purpose, local option sales tax package. Among the many projects are a fire station in Sugar Valley, an agricultural center, trails, recreation, a dog park and a morgue.

Resaca also will have a runoff for a town council seat. Frontrunner Michael Austin barely missed an outright win, with 49 percent of the vote. He’ll face Randy Barron, who got 30.6 percent. Mitch Reed is out, with just 20.4 percent.

Walker County will start collecting a 1-cent transportation sales tax on April 1, 2018. The TSPLOST levy for road projects will run for five years. It won approval from 70 percent of the voters, 2,622 to 1,122.

Colquitt County voters approved a penny Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST).

A little more than 9 percent of registered voters turned out, with 1,220, or 65.84 percent, voting yes, and 633 no votes cast.

The Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax was the only countywide question on the ballot.

The transportation sales tax, which will run for five years, was the second 1 percent sales tax approved this year by county voters. In March they voted to extend for six years an existing Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax that funds projects in the county and its municipalities.

The transportation tax, likewise, will fund projects in the cities and on county-maintained roadways.

County officials expect the estimated $15 million share it will receive to allow for resurfacing some 170 miles of roads.

Thomas County voters approved an extension of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).

SPLOST was approved by a 3,014-1,045 margin, capturing 74.3 percent of the votes.

The penny tax is expected to generate $42 million in revenue, The seven municipalities and the county would split the tax’s proceeds, based on population.

“I’m relieved to get this behind us,” said Thomas County Commission Chairman Ken Hickey. “That’s one thing we have to worry about for our future plans. It is very much needed for the maintenance of our road system and other projects.”

In other elections on the ballots Tuesday night, voters in Boston approved sales of alcohol by the drink and by the package on Sunday.

Tift County voters also passed a SPLOST.

[Tift County's] SPLOST passed by roughly 86 percent with 820 votes in favor and 131 opposed.

Dalton voters approved a $50 million dollar bond package for school construction.

Decatur County voters passed a T-SPLOST.

T-SPLOST, a 1 cent sales tax that will generate revenue for road projects in Decatur County, was passed on Tuesday 764-455.

T-SPLOST (Transportation Special Local Options Sales Tax) will go into effect April 1, 2018, and runs on a five-year cycle, finishing March 31, 2023. During that time, all sales except for gasoline in Decatur County will see a tax increase from 7 percent to 8 percent on the dollar.

The revenue generated from this, projected to be around $24 million over the five-year cycle, will go toward improving roadways in Decatur County and its municipalities.

“The county’s road maintenance and resurfacing needs greatly surpass the financial resources,” said Decatur County administrator Alan Thomas. “This will bridge that gap and allow us to respond to those needs in a more rapid manor than we would be able to otherwise.”

Decatur County is actively working toward lowering its millage rate for taxpayers, and passing T-SPLOST is a step in the right direction toward that goal. By having a special revenue stream from sales tax that can go toward road projects, Decatur’s County general budget can have more breathing room.

At the very least, T-SPLOST will help stabilize the budget and greatly reduce the likelihood of a millage rate increase.

Troup County voters approved by a 71-29 margin the fifth SPLOST.

The vote unofficially passed 71 to 29 percent Tuesday. There were 4,753 yes votes compared to 1,916 no votes on SPLOST.

SPLOST, or Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, is a proposed 1 percent tax on sales and uses within Troup County.The SPLOST will be used for infrastructure and capital outlay projects, as well as debt services within the county.

SPLOST is estimated to raise $70 million over the next six years and would help fund projects in LaGrange, Hogansville, West Point and Troup County.

LaGrange voters had the good sense to re-elect Mayor Jim Thornton.

The results are in, and incumbent LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton was successful in his bid for re-election, receiving 62 percent of the vote.

Thornton defeated challenger Jimmy McCamey 2,611 votes to 1,583. On Tuesday night, Thornton celebrated his re-election in his downtown law office surrounded by family and supporters.

“I’m very excited,” Thornton said. “I’m very grateful to LaGrange for placing confidence in me to serve a second term.”

“In my second term, I want to continue to emphasize economic development,” Thornton said. “I want to continue to focus on improving public safety and amenities for our residents. I realize that with the growth that is happening all around us, there will be challenges to our infrastructure — challenges relating to transportation, housing and other needs in the community. I will continue to work for creative solutions to address those needs.”

A large portion of Thornton’s final margin of victory was a result of his massive win in the Hollis Hand district. Thornton won 1,338 votes to 45 there.

Dade County rejected the sales tax referendum on their ballot.

Walker County residents voted 2,622-1,122 Tuesday to implement a 1 percent increase in sales tax, while Dade County residents voted 576-435 against it.

After voters shot down the tax increase, Dade County Executive Ted Rumley said the issue would be “back on the ballot in the real election. We’ll have a lot more people [turning out] to vote.”

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