The pro-abortion advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice America declared Monday that Philadelphia abortion provider Kermit Gosnell’s multiple murders of live infants resulted from pro-life “attacks” on abortion access.
“The numbers don’t lie- #Gosnell is result of #antichoice attacks on abortion access,” tweeted the official Twitter account of NARAL, which has the stated support of President Obama.
President Obama sent a personal video message to NARAL’s dinner in February, welcoming incoming NARAL president Ilyse Hogue, who said that freedom to choose is “foundational to every other thing we want to achieve.” Hogue has previously called the Tea Party “racist” and said that Mitt Romney wants to have rape victims heaved into the water.
The Daily Caller previously reported that NARAL hired a consulting firm to videotape a willing young pro-life activist at his home without informing him how the video would be used, then presented the video at a dinner in order to rile up its members against their pro-life rivals.
SE regional Campaign for Life event, ‘Unmasking the true war on women’ announced – Atlanta Paulding County Republican | Examiner.com
The Southeastern Campaign for Life announced yesterday that they will be holding an event, “Unmasking the true war on women” on Wednesday, May 22 at the City Club of Buckhead, in Atlanta.
The Susan B. Anthony List and Event Chairman Jo Anne Reed, Georgia Commissioner Tim Echols, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, Deal Hudson, Joe O’Farrell and Mark Wingate are leading this event and have extended invitation to anyone who wishes to attend.
The event will be moderated by Marjorie Dannenfelser, SBA List President and will feature former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, Rep. Donna Sheldon, and columnist, media personality, author, and former Republican candidate for the United States House of Representatives, Martha Zoller.
The reception and panel discussion will be from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the City Club of Buckhead at 3343 Peachtree Road, NE # 1850, in the Buckhead district in Atlanta.
It’s a crisis situation at many animal shelters across the state as new dogs, puppies, cats and kittens are brought it. If you’ve been considering adopting or fostering, today is the day.
29655 is a black, middle-aged Lab mix. Just old enough to start mellowing, but with his best years ahead, if someone will rescue or foster him. He’s available today from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.
The six puppies above were found outside, alone, in the freezing cold this week. They are at the Murray County Animal Shelter and need immediate foster or rescue, or they will be euthanized on Friday in the pre-dawn hours.
Shane Wilson lost a leg in a motorcycle crash five years ago, and more recently, he lost his service dog, Lucy, when she jumped out of the bed of his pickup truck. Lesson one: dogs don’t belong in pickup truck beds when underway. Some folks found her roadside near a Cracker Barrel and returned her. Lesson two: always keep dog treats handy.
The friends were getting breakfast at the Cracker Barrel in Commerce when they saw Lucy. They walked down the exit ramp to get to her.
“We pulled out the treats and she just let me put the leash around her neck,” Davis said.
When Scoggins called him to say that she found Lucy, he was leery because he has had so many false hopes over the past six days.
Wilson told Scoggins to hold a dog treat up and say “Lucy, speak.” She did and Lucy barked. “I heard her bark and I said I’m on the way and I kind of hung up on her,” Wilson said.
“He was so happy, he was hysterical,” Davis said. “He immediately knew and said ‘stay right there, I’m coming’.”
The Exchange Club of Albany will hold its first AKC Southern Heritage Hunt & Show, which is open to all coonhounds and their owners, after a national coonhound event held in Albany for twenty-five years, was moved to Mississippi.
Both the dog show and hunt are “world qualifying,” AKC officials state, with winners cleared to move forward to the World Hunt Championship or 2013 World Show.
While secondary to the main attractions, there will be an aspect to the show, Brown said, that was not included for the UKC events: Malaysian Semara chickens. According to Brown, the birds are small — less than 19 ounces — colorful and they “kind of strut” when they walk.
Here’s your morning music treat.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections
The Special Election runoff in Senate District 11 in the lower-left hand corner of Georgia is taking a turn for the nasty. Jim Galloway notes that abortion has become an issue in the contest:
Over the long weekend, Georgia Right to Life dipped into the race with an email that included this:
“Dr. Dean Burke has not been endorsed by the Georgia Right to Life PAC or the National Right to Life Committee PAC. The NRLC PAC does not make state endorsements and its state affiliate – GRTL PAC – has only endorsed Mr. Keown. Any claims to the contrary are false.”
Political consultant Mark Rountree, working for Burke, says there’s no substantive difference between the two candidates on the issue of abortion. Local conversation, he says, has focused more on the $100 cap on gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers. Burke has pledged support for that limit, Rountree said, while Keown has not.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on the internet, anonymous cowards are suggesting that Burke is an abortionist and appear willing to lie to make the hit stick. It now appears to be the case that in Georgia Republican politics, an OB/GYN will always be labeled an abortionist whether it’s true or not. Just ask Dr. Carla Roberts.
Republican Scot Turner, who came in first with more than 48% of votes cast in the Special Election for House District 21, met political consultant Brian Laurens in a debate, and Turner claims victory.
“I feel confident that the voters in HD 21 saw a clear difference between the two candidates for this race tonight. As candidates, we have a very important obligation to present our values, understanding, and plans to fix what is broken in state government. I provided a message to the voters assembled with the clear choice to reform our ethics laws, implement economically-friendly tax reforms, and return the legislature to the citizens of Georgia with term limits. Those who participated in this public debate responded with overwhelming support, and I’m humbled by those responses.
“The serious issues facing our state and county all revolve around a cornerstone issue: fixing our broken government. On the one hand, my opponent gave his view of government, which maintains the status quo. I gave voters a vision for the future; a future where government serves the people and not special interests.”
Incidentally, today is Scot Turner’s birthday. You can wish him a happy one by donating online to his campaign, as long as you are a Georgia resident or business and not a lobbyist or PAC.
Another way of wishing him a happy birthday, if you live in House District 21, is to go vote early today in the February 5th runoff. As of yesterday morning, only 28 early votes had been cast.
“It’s extremely slow,” [Election Supervisor Janet] Munda added. “It looks like we may hit five percent this time.”
Munda was referring to the projection she originally predicted for the Jan. 8 special election for both the House and the Georgia Senate District 21 seats. The county ended up seeing a 10 percent turnout for that election.
Voters in the run-off will choose between Republican candidates Scot Turner and Brian Laurens, who came in first and second respectively in the January special election for the house seat.
Early voting started last Wednesday and will continue Monday through Friday through Feb. 1.
Voters who reside in the district, which encompasses Holly Springs, portions of BridgeMill, south Canton and parts of southeast Cherokee, can cast ballots between 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Albert L. Stone Elections Building at 400 East Main Street in Canton.
No voting will be held on Monday Feb. 4, and voters in the district will cast their ballots at 11 precincts in the district on Feb. 5.
The Bainbridge City Council seat vacated by Dean Burke in order to run for Senate District 11 in the Special Election Runoff on February 5th will remain vacant until November 5th, when it is filled along with two other council seats and the office of Mayor in the Bainbridge general election.
Three percent cuts across the board, and slightly more funding for the state pre-K program, the HOPE scholarship, and juvenile justice reform.
He also continued his push to renew a hospital tax aimed at shoring up the state Medicaid program.
“I think it is critical,” said Deal. “We cannot afford to have a $700 million hole in our Medicaid budget,” said Deal.
Otherwise, the governor’s budget projects 4.8 percent revenue growth in 2014. That’s compared to the 3.9 growth seen this year.
If the revenue projection holds true, Georgia in 2014 would be back to where it was at its 2007 peak, before the recession.
House Appropriations Chair Terry England said the numbers are reason for cautious optimism, but warned the state isn’t out of the woods yet.
“The problem with that is we’re a larger state than we were in 2007 so there’s more people needing more services and resources, so even though you have that growth, the demand is still greater than it was in 2007.”
Accordingly, the 2014 budget includes increased funding for education and healthcare, but most would be used to simply keep up with population growth.
Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Hill said ultimately the final budget won’t veer too far from the governor’s recommendations.
“In years where you’re spending a lot of new money, there might be more needs and more wants than there are dollars, but we have such a lean budget to begin with, I don’t know what we’d have to fight over.”
Here’s the TL;DR version:
“We have reduced per capita spending of state dollars for our citizens,” [Deal] said. “Using 2012 dollars, we are spending money at a rate of 17 percent less than we did a decade ago. And we now have 9,000 fewer state employees than we did five years ago.”
The Georgia State Fiscal Economist also presented predictions.
Georgia’s economy should see slow but steady growth over the next few years as the job and housing markets continue to improve, the state’s main economist told lawmakers Tuesday.
Heaghney said that tax collections — an indication of the state of the economy — will be up 3.9 percent the rest of fiscal 2013, which ends June 30. The economy will pick up during the second half of the year and revenue should increase 4.9 percent next fiscal year, allowing the state to add about $550 million in spending, he said.
Heaghney told legislators that the state’s job growth is outpacing the national growth rate, and that “housing appears to have turned the corner, both nationally and in Georgia.”
Georgia is seeing an increase in information technology, business services, manufacturing and transportation jobs.
“We’d expect growth to pick up in the middle of 2013 and then accelerate the rest of the year,” he said. “In 2014, we should see much more rapid growth than we’ve seen prior to this year.”
Higher taxes, a sluggish global economy and the federal debt crisis will continue to weigh on the economy, he said, dampening consumer spending and adding uncertainty to the equation.
“This all creates an environment where there is still a lot of economic uncertainty,” Heaghney said. “We try to plan for that, but there are a lot of different ways the economy could move.
Part of the $19.8 billion dollar budget will be $4.3 million for the State Archives.
Supporters are pushing for an additional $1.5 million to expand public access to the state’s important and historical records dating to at least 1733, saying the additional money would reopen the archives from two to five days a week.
Gov. Deal’s budget will also allocate funds to implement criminal justice reforms from the last Session, and possible changes to juvenile justice this year.
He’s asking for $11 million for so-called accountability courts that offer an alternative for drug abusers, the mentally ill and others.
He also wants $4 million for a regional detention center for young offenders and a new youth development campus.
Today’s budget hearings will include the Departments of Correction, Juvenile Justice, Transportation, Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Natural Resources, Agriculture, Labor and Economic Development. The agenda for the Joint Budget Hearings is available by clicking here. This link should have live video of the Hearings later today.
A local clothing boutique visited Friday by NBC 26 is still ringing up its merchandise the old fashioned way.
“We write up all the tickets by hand and then we add up the totals and the tax with a calculator,” Alex, a sales associate told NBC 26. She said the store is still charging seven percent sales tax.
“I didn’t know about it until you came in,” another associate said. “I didn’t know it was in effect starting January first. So, I haven’t started using it yet.”
We asked the Georgia Department of Revenue how it informed retailers in regions where the T-SPLOST passed.
“In December, we emailed an informational bulletin concerning T-SPLOST, concerning the TSPLOST going into effect to all businesses that e-file as well as other businesses who have signed up for that specific mailing list,” said Jud Seymour, communications director for the Georgia Department of Revenue.
Seymour said if stores missed the instructional email, they could’ve looked up the information online on the Georgia Department of Revenue’s website.
On December 27, 2012, my oath of office was administered by our Probate Judge (Keith Wood), with the final sentence stating, “. . . and that I will support the Constitution of the United States and of this State, so help me God.”
Therefore, I will fully exercise the power of the Office of Sheriff to protect and defend the Constitutional rights of the citizens of Cherokee County. My position is best stated by fellow Sheriff Tim Muller of Linn County, Oregon in his letter to the President. “We are Americans. We must not allow, nor shall we tolerate, the actions of criminals, no matter how heinous the crimes, to prompt politicians to enact laws that will infringe upon the liberties of responsible citizens who have broken no laws.”
Along with Sheriff Muller, other sheriffs throughout the country (including Georgia) and I, will not enforce any laws or regulations that negate the constitutional rights of the citizens of Cherokee County.
Nor shall those laws and regulations be enforced by me or by my deputies, nor will I permit the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers within the borders of Cherokee County, Georgia.
Commissioner Allen insinuated that some school board members may have benefited personally from deals with outside companies.“The investigation should examine any companies or firms […] doing any business with the BOE [Board of Education] where funds might have been used to directly or indirectly unlawfully benefit certain members of the BOE,” Allen read from prepared remarks.He declined to offer any evidence that would lead federal prosecutors to investigate such a question.“These allegations,” Allen said without specifying or attributing any allegations directly, “must be investigated immediately by a federal authority, as the facts show a possible misuse of federal funds, not to mention state and local money as well.”
The Marietta Daily Journal profiles Jennifer Rippner of Acworth, a member of the new State Charter School Commission.
A study has found that Plant Vogtle’s emergency evacuation plan for people within 10 miles of the nuclear site is adequate. But the study says traffic control points and better highway infrastructure would improve it.
The updated analysis was filed with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and was posted on the agency’s website last week.
Depending on the weather, time of day and other factors, Southern Nuclear’s consultants’ models found evacuations could take between 90 and 205 minutes.
During the first of two public hearings on a proposal to allow chickens on property under 2 acres in size, speakers on both sides of the issue provided emotional appeals to the board.
Banks Wise, 25, of Mableton, said he had planned to attend the board meeting just to listen to what others had to say about various code proposals, including the one on chickens.
But then he stepped up to the lectern to address the commissioners during the public comment period, and board chairman Tim Lee asked him to recite his name.
Wise declined. Lee asked several more times for him to give his name before the police officers escorted him out of the board room, handcuffed him and took him to a lobby elevator.
“The gentlemen was not following the rules of the commission,” Lee said. “I asked him multiple times. He did not, so the officers removed him.”
Wise said two things prompted him to speak to commissioners. One was a comment by a previous public speaker opposed to a code change for chickens. That speaker, Ron Sifen of Vinings, argued that homeowners had certain expectations with the zoning laws in place when they bought their homes. To allow chickens in their neighborhood was, therefore, wrong.
Wise said he wanted to argue that just because a law is on the books, it doesn’t make it constitutional.
“I’m saying that being able to have a chicken was always right. There was just at some point a very bad law,” Wise said.
Another point that bothered him was that Lee demanded that each speaker give his or her name.
Anonymous political speech is a revered tradition among those of us who love America; perhaps Mr. Lee should take a remedial class in the First Amendment.
A documentary on urban chicken keepers, called “Mad City Chickens” will be shown in Rome, Georgia, at the Rome Area History Museum at 305 Broad Street on Saturday at 4, 7 and 9 PM.
McHaggee said the film is relevant locally, with the Rome City Commission currently wrestling with the issue of allowing chickens inside the city limits.
“We hope that this film will illustrate some of the issues our city has been discussing,” the couple said in a joint press release. “Furthermore, we hope that this film brings people together for a fun evening of entertainment and camaraderie.”
A supporter of small families owning livestock, McHaggee said she usually gets eggs from Morning Glory Farm in Cedartown and is concerned with the state of some of the breeds of chicken that need space to thrive.
“That’s part of the reason I feel so strongly about this,” she said. “There are some of the American Heritage breeds that are in trouble of becoming extinct.”
From Jim Galloway’s Political Insider:
Q: So what’s your verdict on the 2012 campaigns?
A: I think the November elections were a mixed bag. Nationally, as Republicans, we were disappointed. We were obviously disappointed in the presidential race. We frankly dropped the ball in the nominating process in a couple of states. And as a result we’re going to be shut out of majority status in the U.S. Senate.
On the other hand, I was very pleased in Georgia. We’re up to 119 (GOP House members). We lost no Republican incumbents in November. We defeated two Democratic incumbents. We won some open seats.
Q: The GOP state primary ballot in July included a question on a “personhood amendment” — a measure to give full human rights to embryos. Republican voters approved it by an almost 2-to-1 margin. Will the Legislature take it up?
A: There’s not been one introduced. I have not read it. I’m not sure that one will be. We passed a very strong pro-life measure last session.
Q: In response to demands for a $100 cap on gifts from lobbyists to state lawmakers, you’ve called for a ban on all gifts. How’s that coming?
A: I’ve asked (House Majority Leader) Larry (O’Neal) to chair a sort of informal working group. It’s a bipartisan group of members of the House that have been here a while. What I’ve simply asked them to do is look at what other states have done. I’ve always said the $100 cap was a gimmick. I still believe that. …
… I want us to have a bill ready early in the session and pass it out of the House, and then get back to work on things like the budget and Medicaid and health care.
Q: Will the ethics legislation tackle any other areas?
A: I think there are some gaps in who is required to register as lobbyists. I think we need to close those gaps. I want the end result to be something that’s clear and understandable, not only to members of the General Assembly, but to the lobbying community and the public.
We’ve got a little, silly provision in the law now that says if you devote more than 10 percent of your time (at the state Capitol), then you have to register. If you’re here less (often), you don’t. Frankly, I think if you’re here on a regular basis advocating for an interest group, you need to go pay the fee and get a badge so people know who you are.
Lilly and Libby are 5-month old mixed breed puppies who are available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter. They weigh about 16 pounds and are up-to-date on their shots and will be spayed, chipped, and tested for heartworms before they are adopted. They are in cage 315 in the puppy room and their ID numbers are 546760 (Lilly) and 546761 (Libby).
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
Governor Nathan Deal announced that he will work on prioritizing transportation projects in the wake of the defeat of T-SPLOST in all but three regions of the state:
“The voters of Georgia have spoken, and I will continue to do what I have done since I became governor: Work in consultation with state transportation leaders, legislators and local officials to establish our priority projects.
There will be belt-tightening. It’s certainly disappointing that we won’t have the resources to accomplish all the projects needed to get Georgians moving quicker, but it does force state officials, including myself, to focus all our attention on our most pressing needs.
For example, TSPLOST contained $600 million to rebuild the Ga. 400/I-285 interchange. We will face significant challenges in that corridor if that doesn’t get fixed, particularly after the tolls come down and volume increases. We’ll have a ‘need to do’ Transportation Improvement Program list, but not a ‘want to do’ list. In addition to tight state budgets, we’re also facing a significant reduction in federal funds so tough choices await.
On public transportation, yesterday’s vote slams the door on further expansion of our rail network any time soon. Neither I nor the Legislature has much of an appetite for new investments until there are significant reforms in how MARTA operates.
The referendum passed in three regions, and I think those regions will see great returns on their investment. Under the law, these regions will also receive a 90 percent match for local transportation projects, meaning they will only have to put up 10 percent from local funds. The law requires a 70-30 split in the regions that didn’t pass it.
As governor, I aim to make Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation to do business and improving our transportation infrastructure is a major part of that effort. Yesterday’s vote wasn’t an end of the discussion; it’s a transition point. We have much to do, and I’ll work with state and local officials to direct our limited resources to the most important projects.”
This is a positive development. Gov. Deal has shown a great facility for working with legislators and listening to and incorporating the ideas of people not named Nathan Deal. This is not a quality always found in Governors.
In the Ninth Congressional District, third-place finisher Roger Fitzpatrick said he will not endorse either Doug Collins or Martha Zoller.
Hall County Commissioner Ashley D. Bell, well-known for switching to the Republican Party, was defeated by Jeff Stowe in the Republican Primary.
Incumbent Hall County Chairman Tom Oliver came in second to Dick Mecum and is headed to a runoff..
Mecum, the former Hall County sheriff, earned 46 percent of the vote, while Oliver, the two-term incumbent, took in 34 percent.
Former North Hall Commissioner Steve Gailey earned enough votes to force the runoff.
Mecum finished just a few percentage points shy of winning the race outright.
Judicial, District Attorney, and Sheriff elections
We noted yesterday that Kathy Schrader took first place in the race for Gwinnett County Superior Court, receiving more than twice as many votes as the runner-up. Emily Brantley and Pam Britt go another round in the runoff election for Gwinnett State Court.
Superior Court Judge Art Smith, who was supported by Sen. Josh McKoon among others, combined a 150 vote margin in Muscogee County, his circuit’s most populous, with nearly 70% in Harris and took every other county except Talbot County in earning re-election to the six-county Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit.
Smith was the only one of five judges in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit who had opposition. He will serve a four-year term, as will the four judges who ran unopposed — John Allen, Gil McBride, Bobby Peters and Bill Rumer.
Smith was appointed to the bench in 2011 by Gov. Nathan Deal. He was appointed to complete the unfinished term for former Judge Doug Pullen, who stepped down last year amid a judicial misconduct investigation.
In DeKalb County, Judge Gail Flake was re-elected over Michael Rothenberg, who has been indicted for felony theft; apparently 28% of DeKalb County voters thought a (alleged) felon is better than a Flake. State Court Judge Dax Lopez also earned reelection.
In Fulton County, Judge Todd Markle won reelection with 54 percent over Clarence Johnson.
Fulton County Sheriff Ted Jackson appeared to hold a slim margin with 50.01 percent, to avoid a runoff. We’ll see if that holds.
Jackson won 34,648 votes, while Lankford received 22,483.
The Fulton County Board of Elections plans to have all the ballots counted and certified by Saturday, according to a spokeswoman.
“We’ve still got some absentee ballots and two more precincts,” Jackson said Wednesday morning. “We figure we’re about 50 percent plus 10 votes away from a runoff. I kept telling everybody, ‘every vote counts in this election.’”
Jackson said he was surprised by his narrow win — if it survives — particularly given that his top opponent only avoided being retried on criminal charges of extortion and income tax evasion by agreeing to never seek a law enforcement job again.
Jane Morrison won the election for Fulton State Court, beating Melynee Leftridge by 61-39.
In Cobb County, Judge Reuben Green was re-elected to the Superior Court and Greg Poole won 51% in the race for an open seat in Superior Court.
Poole, who has been a juvenile court judge for nine years, has regularly filled in on Cobb’s superior court bench.
“I’ve been doing this for one week a month for nine and a half years,” Poole said. “I’m going to continue to do it that way. … There won’t be any change in basic policy. I want to be efficient. I want to move cases efficiently.”
Rebecca Keaton and John Skelton advance to a runoff for Cobb County Superior Court on August 21st.
Keaton, who earned her law degree at John Marshall, said: “We’ll run hard and do what we need to do to win the campaign.”
She is a wife and mother of three who lives in Kennesaw and said she wants to serve the people by using her skills to provide great customer service. She plans to implement one computer operating system and an “e-filing” system similar to the other candidates.
Skelton, who ran at the behest of incumbent Stephenson, said late Tuesday: “The best person for the job will get it.” He added that he hopes his opponent will keep the run off clean.
Skelton earned his law degree at the University of Georgia. He and his wife have two children.
Marsha Lake (39%) and Larry Burke (26%) earned slots in the runoff for State Court Judge.
Three incumbents District Attorneys were defeated in primary elections Tuesday.
Cathy Helms in the Alapaha Circuit in South Georgia, Robert Lavender in the state’s Northern Circuit which includes Hartwell and Elberton, and Robert Brooks of the Tallapoosa Circuit, which includes Bremen and Cedartown, lost their re-election bids.
Lavender lost to Parks White, a Richmond County assistant district attorney and Iraqi war veteran who, as a lieutenant in the Navy Judge Advocate General Corps, worked with Iraqis to prosecute insurgents.
A child molestation case also figured in the Alapaha Circuit race and may have played a role in incumbent DA Cathy Helms’ defeat by Dick Perryman in the Republican primary. Perryman beat Helms by 202 votes, winning 51.16 percent to Helms’ 48.84 percent. There were no Democratic candidates.
A child molestation case also played a role in Tallapoosa Circuit chief assistant public defender Jack Browning’s campaign — and subsequent defeat — of one-term DA Robert Brooks. Browning formerly practiced law at Murphy, Murphy & Garner — the former firm of U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy of the Northern District of Georgia. The Tallapoosa Circuit includes Haralson and Polk counties.
On his campaign website, Browning highlighted the dismissal of some charges in a child molestation case and a plea deal with minimal jail time.
So we now know a winning formula for defeating an incumbent District Attorney. File that away for later.
Appalachian Circuit incumbent Joe Hendricks came in second and will face a runoff against Blue Ridge attorney B. Alison Sosebee, who received the support of third-place finisher Harry Doss.
Incumbent Herbert “Buzz” Franklin in the Lookout Mountain circuit holds a 44-vote margin over challenger Doug Woodruff and may face a recount.
Woodruff said Wednesday he doesn’t know whether all the absentee ballots have been counted and if he will seek a recount. “If the votes haven’t all been counted yet, the margin could either grow or be reduced,” he said. “It could go the other way. At this point, a 44-vote margin is not much.”
In the election for Hall County Sheriff, Jeff Strickland and Gerald Couch both earned a spot in the runoff.
As the race narrows to two men, Strickland, who was the agency’s highest ranking officer when he retired in October, said he will focus on what sets him apart from Couch, who led the agency’s criminal investigations division.
“I worked in a higher level than he did,” Strickland said. “I was in charge of an entire department with over 450 employees and a $29 million budget.”
Couch, too, said he will focus on his qualifications versus Strickland’s.
“I’ve worked in every single area of the sheriff’s office,” Couch said. “I think I have a huge advantage in that area.”
Patty Walters Laine (31%) and Brook Davidson (26%) made it into a runoff for Hall County Probate Court, beating out two other candidates.
Scott Peebles and Richard Roundtree are headed for a runoff for Richmond County Sheriff.
In the Twelfth Congressional District Republican Primary, candidate Wright McLeod, who appears to have come in third, has not decided whether to seek a recount.
Preliminary results Wednesday showed McLeod trailing Augusta businessman Rick Allen by 584 votes, with all counties reporting but provisional ballots not yet counted.
In an afternoon e-mail, McLeod left his options open.
“We are now considering our next steps,” he said. “I must consider whether or not a recount would be in the best interest of voters of the 12th District. Our campaign recognizes that requesting such would provide a ‘trust but verify’ approach to the election results and allow us all to move forward.”
Meanwhile, Allen resumed campaigning as though his place in the runoff weren’t in question.
Spencer Price has asked for a recount in his narrow defeat by Senator Cecil Staton.
“I appreciate the tremendous support from the voters of the 18th” District, said Price, reached via phone during a break from work Wednesday.
And “if I’m not successful, I will be back,” he added.
Station finished with 10,518 votes to Price’s 10,311. The final vote tally did not include 35 military ballots yet to be added.
Considering Staton’s 10-to-1 advantage in fundraising in the second quarter of 2012 — he collected about $115,000 — and his endorsements from party heavyweights such as Gov. Nathan Deal, it was an unusually close outcome.
Harris County Commission Chair Harry Lange has a slim 9-vote margin over Greg Allen who will seek a recount.
Allen defeated Lange at the polls, but fell behind when absentees were tallied; Lange, a three-term incumbent, collected 451 votes compared to Allen’s 442 with about three military and two provisional ballots uncounted, said Sherrail Jarrett, the county elections supervisor.
“I never really expected to garner the votes that I did to be honest with you, but just staying out and being in the community for so long, I knew I had a lot of support,” Allen said.
Both candidates voiced disappointment over voter turnout.
“I’m afraid a lot of my supporters figured they didn’t need to vote,” said Lange, 71, who estimated about 20 percent of registered voters in his district participated.
The race pitted a seasoned commission chairman against a youthful challenger, and the close finish seemed to reflect a string of controversies that have disquieted portions of the community in recent months.
“I’d heard so many people say they were dissatisfied,” said Commissioner Charles Wyatt, who isn’t up for re-election this year. “I hope it straightens Harry up. I hope it sends him a message.”
Lange attributed the dead heat in part to a long-running dispute over the use of the baseball fields in Mulberry Grove. County commissioners denied a rezoning request last year to prevent the fields from being used for travel ball.
Also in Muscogee County, Pam Brown, who challenged incumbent Sheriff John Darr, said she will request a recount.
“I’ll be asking for one, I’m certain I will,” Brown said. “I felt it would be close, but I thought that I would have the edge on him a little bit.”
The sheriff led Brown by a margin of about 0.448 percent — or 8,604 votes to 8,528 votes. Some 59 provisional ballots — votes not yet counted because of eligibility questions — remained out, and elections officials had received 22 military ballots as of Wednesday, said Nancy Boren, the county’s elections director.
About 200 military ballots were requested, but only a portion of those were expected to be returned.
The Muscogee County Board of Elections and Registrations plans to meet 3 p.m. Friday at the Government Center to certify election results. Georgia law allows for a recount when the margin of victory is within 1 percent.
If Darr prevails, Brown would have until Tuesday afternoon to request a recount in writing.
State Rep. Doug McKillip will not ask for a recount in his narrow loss to fellow Republican Regina Quick.
Carroll County Commission Chair Bill Chappell has been forced into a runoff with Marty Smith.
When the ballots were counted Tuesday night, Chappell has received the most votes, but the split was close to a three-way tie, a situation not usually found in incumbency races, one local political analyst observed.
The unofficial totals were Chappell with 4,594 votes, 34.9 percent; Smith with 4,356 votes, 33.1 percent; and third-place finisher Walt Hollingsworth, 4,217 votes, 32.0 percent.
Dr. Robert Sanders, a University of West Georgia political science professor, said he found the results “rather surprising” and was amazed at the closeness of the vote split and how no candidate was close to a majority.
“It goes to show that the Carroll County electorate is not thrilled with how things are going in county government,” Sanders said Wednesday. “There seems to be a number of issues, such as spending and services, but it may be reflective of general disappointment in government around the nation.”
Sanders said the vote seemed to be a question of, “Do you want the incumbency or not?” and it appears the Tuesday results showed nearly a two-to-one vote of dissatisfaction.
Ends & Pieces
Seventy-three percent of Cobb County voters approved Sunday Sales in unincorporated parts of the county. This was a re-do of an earlier election in which only voters in unincorporated Cobb were allowed to vote; a court challenge overturned that election because all Cobb voters should have been polled.
A voting machine malfunctioned in Floyd County, trapping 85 uncounted votes; it is being sent to its manufacture to attempt to read those votes.
This little low rider looks like a cross between a blue tick coon hound and a basset and is available for adoption from Cobb County Animal Shelter. He is said to have a great, friendly personanilty, is up-to-date on his shots, and will be neutered, microchipped and tested for heartworms before he goes home. His ID is 546592, he is in run 850 and he weighs 49 lbs.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
This is far from exhaustive, as I was up too late last night watching election returns, but I’ll delve deeper into some of the happenings in yesterday’s elections, including ballot questions and local races over the next few days.
Two things became clear in last night’s elections: T-SPLOST was soundly rejected and most GOP incumbents were reelected.
T-SPLOST passed in three districts, Central Savannah River, River Valley, and Heart of Georgia regions will see their sales taxes go up when the measure goes into effect.
Chuck Eaton beat Matt Reid for the Republican nomination for PSC District 3 by a margin of nearly 60-40. Stan Wise beat Pam Davidson for PSC District 5 by 56.5-43.5.
“I am grateful to the people of Georgia for allowing me the opportunity to represent the Republican party in November.
I also want to thank Governor Deal, Lt. Governor Cagle, Attorney General Olens and all the grassroots activists who supported our campaign.
As we move toward November, we will continue the discussion of whether Georgia wants lower rates, reliable utilities, and more good jobs, or whether we wish to change course and pursue a radical agenda that will cost more money from consumers, and make our state less competitive for new jobs.”
“We’ve made a commitment over the years of promising just a few things – reasonable rates, reliable generation and clearly we’re building an infrastructure for the future, whether it comes from increased natural gas infrastructure in the state or growing nuclear transmission for generations to come.”
Congressional Primary Election
Ninth Congressional District – Runoff between Doug Collins (41.80%) and Martha Zoller (41.14%). The math geek in me notes that both of those percentages are evenly divisible by 11; the politics geek notes that this means three more weeks of dueling press releases piling up in my inbox.
Line of the night goes to Doug Collins.
Asked about the nail-biting returns, Collins said, “we’ve got plenty of nails left.”
As in the election, Martha came in second for line of the night by a slim margin,
“Well, I didn’t get crushed tonight,” she said. “I did pretty darn good.”
Twelfth Congressional District appears to be headed for a runoff between Lee Anderson (34.22%) and a player to be named later. Currently, the Secretary of State’s website shows Rick Allen with a 558-vote lead over Wright McLeod, but it also indicates that not all precincts are reported, so this may change .
At midnight, Augusta businessman Rick Allen was leading Evans lawyer Wright McLeod by about 500 votes, but neither was conceding the second-place finish that would place one of them in the runoff. The Associated Press didn’t call the runner-up results because of the closeness of the race.
The margin is close enough to guarantee McLeod a recount if it holds in the official count, The Associated Press said.
Senate Primary Elections
Senate District 6 – appears to be Hunter Hill with 52% over his opponents, but irregularities in voting, which included voters assigned to incorrect precincts and paper balloting in midtown Atlanta may mean that the race is not truly called for several days.
Senate District 7 – Tyler Harper beat Mark Hatfield, who was trying to move up from the State House.
Senate District 9 – Don Balfour cruised to an easy reelection with nearly 63% against two challengers.
Senate District 18 – Cecil Staton appears to have squeaked out a victory in a race where the candidates were separated by a single point, or roughly 200 votes.
Senate District 21 – Chip Rogers appears to have beaten Brandon Beach by 59-41
Senate District 25 – Johnny Grant defeated by Burt Jones 47-53.
Senate District 27 – Jack Murphy appears to have been reelected by less than half-a-point, a 117 vote margin.
Senate District 31 – Bill Heath (45.3%) meets Bill Carruth (41.1%) in a runoff on August 21.
Senate District 44 – Gail Davenport (33.9%) came in second to challenger Gail Buckner (42.4%) and is probably at a disadvantage headed into the runoff.
Senate District 47 – Frank Ginn wins.
Selected House Races
House District 2 – Jay Neal over challenger Steve Tarvin with a 57-43 margin.
House District 16 – Trey Kelley wins over Jennifer Hulsey by 58-42.
House District 20 – Challenger Michael Caldwell beats incumbent Charlice Byrd by 53-47.
House District 21 – State Rep. Sean Jerguson reelected over Scot Turner.
House District 26 – Geoff Duncan appears to have a 55-vote margin over former State Rep. Tom Know.
House District 34 – Charles Gregory defeats incumbent State Rep. Judy Manning.\
House District 44 – State Rep. Don Parson reelected.
House District 45 – State Rep. Matt Dollar reelected.
House District 46 – State Rep. John Carson wins his re-nomination for his first full term but faces Kevin “Funny Mustache Hipster” West in the General. It is notable that Carson’s GOP opponent took more than twice as many votes in losing 68-32 than Democrat Kevin West took in his uncontested primary.
House District 56 – “Able” Mable Thomas handily defeated Ken Britt in the Democratic Primary, winning reelection by a 65-35 margin.
House District 57 – Democrat incumbent Pat Gardner appears to have whipped Rashad Taylor by a 63-37 margin.
House District 117 – Regina Quick beats Doug McKillip by 64 votes.
In Athens-Clarke County, Quick claimed almost 63 percent of the nearly 3,200 votes tallied. For McKillip, Tuesday’s race came less than two years after he switched to the GOP just weeks after his re-election as a Democrat in what was then an exclusively Athens legislative district.
McKillip led balloting in Oconee County (56 percent), Jackson County (63 percent) and Barrow County (66 percent).
House District 118 – Spencer Frye defeats incumbent Keith Heard in the Democratic Primary, while Carter Kessler won the GOP nomination.
House District 58 – Simone Bell won the matchup against fellow incumbent Democrat Ralph Long.
House District 63 – Ronnie Mabra leads into the runoff with 49.2%.
House District 66 – Bob Snelling, (49.63%) a former State Rep. will be in a runoff against Mike Miller (27.17%).
House District 75 – Democrat Mike Glanton appears to have knocked-off incumbent Yasmin Neal by 56-44.
House District 81 – Chris Boedeker over Carla Roberts by 70-30.
House District 97 Brooks Coleman whipped Robert McClure, a 20-something Ron Paul supporter by 70-30.
House District 103 Timothy Barr appears to have won the Republican Primary, but voting problems appear to have occurred in some early and absentee ballots.
House District 109 – Dale Rutledge beat incumbent Steve Davis.
In one of the more contentious legislative races, state House Rep. Steve Davis (R-District 109), lost to businessman Dale Rutledge by more than a 2 to 1 margin, 3,942 votes to 1,761, in the Republican Primary. There is no Democratic challenger.
House District 121 – Barry Fleming makes a return to the state house as a Republican, the only one of four attempted state house comebacks to clinch a win so far.
House District 167 – Jeff Chapman, a former Republican state senator will return to the Capitol as a new member of the lower house.
House District 180 – Jason Spencer beats Adam Jacobson with a 262-vote margin.
Other Notable Runoffs
Cobb County Commission Chair Tim Lee faces former Commission Chair Bill Byrne in a runoff. Grab some popcorn, this one’s going to get nasty.
In Gwinnett County Commission District Three, incumbent Mike Beaudreau took 47.34% and lands in a runoff, most likely with Tommy Hunter.
Kathy Schrader took more than 43% in the election for an open seat on the Gwinnett County Superior Court, more than double the vote total of second-place finisher Tracey Mason Blasi.
Emily Brantley and Pam Britt appear headed for a runoff for Gwinnett State Court, narrowly edging former State and Superior Court Judge Richard Winegarden out.