Category: Georgia Politics


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 26, 2016

Georgia and American History

General Robert E. Lee’s Confederates met General John Pope’s federal forces at the Second Battle of Manassas on August 29, 1862.

On August 26, 1864, having withdrawn from trenches and fortifications outside Atlanta the previous day, U.S. General Sherman sent most of his forces westward around Atlanta and toward the south of the city. Sherman’s forces tore up 12 miles of railroad between Red Oak and Fairburn on August 29, 1864.

On August 26, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted. Ratification took place on August 18, 1920, as the Tennessee House of Representatives adopted it, but adoption became official on August 26, when United States Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the Amendment. It reads:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

August 28, 1929 saw Governor Lamartine Hardman sign a Constitutional Amendment authorizing the levy of a state income tax.

Advertising in the rights of way of state roads and placing signs on private property without the owner’s approval were prohibited in the first Georgia law regulating outdoor advertising, which was signed by Governor Richard Russell on August 27, 1931. Over the years, both practices would become enshrined in Peach State political strategy.

On August 26, 1939, the first televised major league baseball game aired, as the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds split a doubleheader in Ebbets Field.

On August 26, 1961, the 718th Engineer Light Equipment Company of Fort Valley and the 210th Signal Base Depot Company of Augusta were called up to take part in the American response to the crisis in Berlin.

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the “I Have a Dream Speech” on the Mall in Washington, DC.

President Lyndon B. Johnson was nominated for President by the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey on August 26, 1964.

On August 26, 1965, Sonny & Cher were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘I Got You Babe’, the duo’s only UK No.1. Sonny Bono was inspired to write the song to capitalize on the popularity of the term “babe,” as heard in Bob Dylan’s ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’.

On August 29, 1971, Hank Aaron broke the National League record for most seasons with 100 or more RBI, as he drove in his 100th run to make 11 seasons hitting that mark.

Former Georgia Governor Lester Maddox was nominated for President on the American Independent Party ticket on August 27, 1976, making the race probably the only one to ever feature two former Georgia governors. During the campaign, Maddox described Jimmy Carter as “the most dishonest man I ever met.”

An obscure college professor named Newt Gingrich began his political career on August 28, 1976, as he kicked off his first campaign against Congressman Jack Flynt.

Old Newt Pic

On August 27, 1982, Oakland Athletics outfielder Rickey Henderson broke the record for stolen bases in a season, nabbing number 119 against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Georgia Governor Zell Miller addressed the Democratic National Convention on August 27, 1996. In 2004, Miller would address the Republican National Convention, likely becoming the first Georgian to address both major parties’ national conventions. Congressman John Lewis and Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney also addressed the ’96 DNC.

On August 27, 2008, Barack Obama became the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, the first African-American nominee of a major United States political party.

On August 26, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed a Welfare Reform bill, called the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.

On August 28, 2008, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools revoked the accreditation of the Clayton County Public Schools. Later that day, Governor Sonny Perdue removed four members of the Clayton County Board of Education upon the recommendation of an administrative law judge.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Trump-Pence campaign has released its Georgia campaign leadership list.

· Chairman: Senator David Perdue (R-GA)
· Chairman: Rayna Casey, Business and Civic Leader
· Co-Chair: State Senator Burt Jones (R-District 25)
· Co-Chair: State Senator Michael Williams (R-District 27)
· Co-Chair: State Rep. Steve Tarvin (R–District 2)
· Co-Chair: Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Jr., Georgia Public Service Commissioner
· Co-Chair: Sue Everhart, former Chairwoman of Georgia GOP
· Co-Chair: Sheriff Butch Conway, Gwinnett County
· Finance Chair: Pete Petit, CEO of MiMedx Group
· Grassroots Steering Committee: Don Cole, Former 2nd District GOP Chairman
· Grassroots Steering Committee: Suzi Voyles, Past-President of Georgia Federation of Republican Women
· Grassroots Steering Committee: Brad Carver, Lt. Col. Army Reserves, 11th District GOP Chairman
· Grassroots Steering Committee: Joseph Brannon, National Committeeman, National Federation of Young Republicans

Republican Pollster White Ayres, formerly an Atlanta resident, writes in the Washington Post about how downballot Republicans can insulate themselves from a Trump loss in November.

To win, Republican candidates need the votes of Trump Republicans and Never Trump Republicans, as well as independents who find Donald Trump either refreshing or abhorrent. Fortunately, they have a model in Southern Democratic candidates who for years ran successful campaigns in presidential years while distancing themselves from the top of the ticket.

Preserving that level of split-ticket voting, with a substantial number of voters supporting Clinton for president and Republicans down-ballot, is the key to maintaining Republican control of the Senate.How can Republicans preserve those margins? Localize, localize, localize. Successful Southern Democrats gave no more than lip service to their party’s liberal presidential nominees, while using the advantages of incumbency to highlight specific ways their service in Washington benefited their constituents.

In 1972, Democratic nominee George McGovern’s support in the 11 states of the former Confederacy ranged from a low of 20 percent in Mississippi to a high of 33 percent in Texas. Yet in the same year five Democratic candidates won election to the Senate with remarkable majorities: 54 percent for Sam Nunn in Georgia, 55 percent for J. Bennett Johnston in Louisiana, 58 percent for James Eastland in Mississippi, 61 percent for John McClellan in Arkansas and 62 percent for John Sparkman in Alabama.

In 1984, Democratic nominee Walter Mondale’s Southern support ranged from a low of 35 percent in Florida to a high of 42 percent in Tennessee. Yet Mondale’s weakness in the South did not prevent David Pryor from winning in Arkansas with 57 percent or Howell Heflin winning 63 percent in Alabama or Nunn winning 80 percent in Georgia or Johnston winning Louisiana with 86 percent.

Nunn took a different tack in 1972 when his Republican opponent covered Georgia with posters linking him to McGovern. Nunn flew to Montgomery, Ala., to receive the endorsement of then-presidential candidate George Wallace, saying “George Wallace represents the real views of Georgians.” Nunn later said, “I frankly admired Wallace, not because of his racial views, but because of his willingness to stand up and shake a fist at Washington occasionally. There’s something therapeutic about that in the South.”

Emory Professor Alan Abramowitz predicts that Republicans will maintain control of the United States House of Representatives and have an even chance of losing the Senate to Democrats.

The results in Table 2 indicate that for almost any conceivable values of the generic ballot variable, Democrats are likely to make gains in both the House and Senate. That is largely due to the fact that, as a result of their successes in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, Republicans are defending unusually large numbers of seats in both chambers this year. However, the results indicate that in order for Democrats to gain the minimum of four seats they need to regain control of the Senate (if there is a Democratic vice president to break a 50-50 tie), they probably would need a lead of at least two or three points on the generic ballot and to gain the minimum of 30 seats they need to regain control of the House, they probably would need a lead of at least 13 points on the generic ballot.

According to HuffPost Pollster, results of recent national polls give Democrats an average lead of five points on the generic ballot. If that lead were to hold up until the week after Labor Day, the traditional cutoff date for the generic ballot forecast, Democrats would be expected to gain about 16 seats in the House and about four seats in the Senate — not enough to flip control of the House but enough to flip control of the Senate if Clinton wins the presidential election.

Of course any forecasts based on a statistical model are subject to a margin of error. In this case, the results in Table 1 indicate that if Democrats maintain a five-point lead in the generic ballot, they would be very likely to pick up between six and 26 seats in the House and between two and six seats in the Senate. They would have about a 50% chance of regaining control of the Senate (if there is a Democratic vice president) but less than a 15% chance of regaining control of the House.

Meanwhile, the New York Times Upshot writes that Democrats have a 60% chance of winning a Senate majority.

Included within this 60 percent is a 17 percent chance that the Senate ends up evenly split with a Democratic vice president providing the tiebreaking vote.

By our count, the Democrats need to win five seats among the 11 most competitive races. (The Democrats will need to win six if Donald J. Trump wins the presidential race; we put Mr. Trump’s chances of winning at only 11 percent). Ten of these seats are held by Republicans, and one by a Democrat, Harry Reid of Nevada, who is retiring.

This year, the Democrats are defending only 10 seats while the Republicans have to preserve 24. On fundamentals alone — that is, historical voting patterns, the candidates’ political experience and fund-raising — the Democrats would have about a 50-50 shot to win the Senate. The latest Senate polling improves this figure to 60 percent.

Bloomberg takes a look at the Democrats constant refrain that Georgia can be won by Democrats this year.

Ever since Barack Obama came within 6 percentage points of beating John McCain in Georgia in 2008, the state’s Democrats have pointed to a wave of minority, young, and transplanted voters as proof that their deeply Republican state was on the cusp of turning blue, or at least purple. Although whites now make up 58 percent of active voters in Georgia, down from 72 percent in 2002, the demographic shift remains a slow process, and Democrats have yet to capitalize on it in a statewide race. Obama lost ground in Georgia in 2012, and Michelle Nunn, the daughter of a popular former Democratic senator, got close but ultimately lost her bid to win a U.S. Senate seat in 2014.

But this year, Democrats may have a secret weapon in Trump, whose campaign appears to be accelerating an electoral change in Georgia that many political pros thought was still a few years away. “My view is that Georgia is probably in play, which I have never said before,” says Stuart Rothenberg, founder of the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report. “It’s entirely due to Trump.”

Trump has alienated the kind of middle-class suburban Republicans who turned out in force for Mitt Romney and McCain, more than offsetting his appeal to rural, working-class whites. He may now have to compete for Southern conservative voters who should have been a given. Even if Clinton doesn’t win Georgia, the mere fact that it’s competitive may force Trump to spend money there that he wouldn’t have otherwise, says Brad Coker, managing director at Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.

Georgia still looks solidly red from the outside. Republicans enjoy a strong majority in the state legislature, and they’ve controlled the governor’s mansion since the 2002 election. As white politicians switched parties to improve their chances of staying in power, the Democratic Party in Georgia increasingly became the province of minority groups and the urban young, both of which are outnumbered.

[O]rganizers for Democratic House member Taylor Bennett were already canvassing last weekend and promising four or five visits per voter by November, says organizer Evan Gillon: “They’ll be sick of us by the end.”

A trio of writers that includes Augusta University Political Science Professor Martha Ginn writes in the Washington post about how the media decides which polls to discuss.

Our research suggests yet another reason not to overreact to news stories about the newest poll: Media outlets tend to cover the surveys with the most “newsworthy” results, which can distort the picture of where the race stands.

Why? Consider the incentives of the news business. News outlets cover polls because they fit the very definition of newsworthiness. They’re new, timely, often generate conflict and allow political reporters to appear objective by simply telling readers and viewers what the public thinks. Horse-race stories are also popular.

Given that readers are drawn to drama and uncertainty, polls that offer intrigue or new developments — such as a close race or signs that one candidate is surging — are more likely to be deemed newsworthy. In particular, polls with unusual results may be more likely to make the news.

On the other hand, surveys that reveal stability or a lack of drama — such as one candidate maintaining a modest, steady lead — are less likely to get attention. Such judgments may lead news outlets to distort the true state of the race.

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle traveled to South Georgia to support Senator Greg Kirk’s reelection bid.

While showing his support for the re-election campaign of state Sen. Greg Kirk, R-Americus, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said economic development will be among the priorities Georgians should expect to see addressed out in the months and years ahead.

Cagle, a Republican and former state senator, said at an event at Chehaw supporting Kirk that the delegation representing Southwest Georgia is one that knows how to collaborate in order to get things done for their communities.

An example specific to rural Georgia is agriculture, the lieutenant governor said. If an agricultural product can be taken and the right marketing strategy developed for it, that product can go a long way.

“It’s about jobs, jobs and more jobs,” Cagle said. “Government doesn’t create jobs, but government does create the circumstances for jobs.”


The Georgia Department of Community Health is asking for an additional $300 million to fund healthcare for Georgia residents.

The $300 million projected to be needed for the midyear and fiscal 2018 budgets is only the state’s portion: The federal government would kick in about $600 million more in Medicaid spending for Georgia.

DCH officials are projecting 2 percent growth next year in enrollment for Medicaid and PeachCare insurance for children. About 1.87 million Georgians are enrolled in Medicaid, the health care program for the poor, disabled and elderly, and an additional 127,000 are on PeachCare.

House Appropriations Chairman Terry England, R-Auburn, said he’s worried about the increases as well.

“We are going to have to figure out something,” England told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an interview. “We’re going to have to figure out what’s the next trick in the bag to get control of it.”

Norcross has cancelled its November City Council elections after incumbents Josh Bare, Andrew Hixon and David McLeroy qualified without opposition.

In Twiggs County, a local politician is on the hot seat over multiple homestead exemptions he’s claimed.

Twiggs County Commissioner Tommie Lee Bryant stunned members of his own board earlier this month when he admitted he was not a fully disabled veteran. County tax officials say Bryant has claimed the service-related disability for years to avoid paying taxes on his Jeffersonville house.

“There is more than one way to get 100 percent (disability). In other words, I’m not (a) 100 percent disabled veteran,” Bryant said in a video of the Aug. 16 commission meeting provided to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I ain’t but 60 percent and I can show it to you in black and white.”

The hitch is that the homeowner must be 100 percent disabled as a result of their service, said Walter Ashby, chairman of the Twiggs County Board of Tax Assessors.

An internal investigation by the tax assessor found records were altered by Yolanda Thomas, a relative of Bryant who worked in the tax office. When the tax board met in May to determine whether to fire the employee, Bryant barged in and said he had told his relative to change the records in the computer, according to statements signed by the board members.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 25, 2016

On August 25, 325, the Council of Nicea adopted the Nicene Creed.

On August 25, 1864, Union troops stopped artillery bombardment of Atlanta and withdrew from fortifications around the city. On the same day, in Virginia, Confederate forces attacked Federals under Gen. Grant at Ream’s Station.

On August 25, 1877, delegates to the state Constitutional Convention approved a new post-Reconstruction state Constitution, the seventh in state history, to be submitted to the voters on December 5, 1877.

The all-time highest score in a professional baseball game was recorded on August 25, 1922, as the Chicago Cubs beat the Philadelphia Phillies by 26-23.

Paris was liberated from German army control on August 25, 1944.

On August 25, 1950, President Harry S. Truman ordered the seizure of the nation’s private railroads by executive order.

On August 25, 1973, the Allman Brothers of Macon, Georgia released “Ramblin’ Man” as the first single from the album “Brothers and Sisters.” From the Wall Street Journal,

Dickey Betts: In 1969, I was playing guitar in several rock bands that toured central Florida. Whenever I’d have trouble finding a place to stay, my friend Kenny Harwick would let me crash at his garage apartment for a few days in Sarasota. One day he asked me how I was doing with my music and said, “I bet you’re just tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best you can.”

Then one day in 1972, I was sitting in the kitchen of what we called the Big House in Macon, Ga.—where everyone in the band lived—and decided to finish the lyrics.

My inspiration was Hank Williams’s “Ramblin’ Man,” from 1951. His song and mine are completely different but I liked his mournful, minor-chord feel.

Except for Kenny’s line, the rest of the lyrics were autobiographical.

The WSJ article is worth reading in its entirety if you’re a fan of the Allmans.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Yesterday, the SafeHarborYes ballot committee kicked off its campaign to promote adoption by voters of Constitutional Amendment #2 on the November ballot.

Senator Unterman 4193

From the Gwinnett Daily Post:Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 24, 2016

Georgia History

General Charles Lee of the Continental Army told Congress that Georgia’s value to the young nation required more forces to defend against the British on August 24, 1776.

On August 24, 1931, the Georgia General Assembly adopted a joint resolution appointing a committee to work with the Governor in planning a bicentennial celebration to be held in 1933.

On August 24, 1945, the United States Postal Service held a first day of issue ceremony in Warm Springs, Georgia for the release of a stamp bearing the images of Franklin D. Roosevelt and The Little White House.

FDR Warm Springs

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Yesterday, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce held its annual Congressional Luncheon in Macon. The Keynote was delivered by political analysts Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 23, 2016

On August 23, 1784, four counties is western North Carolina declared themselves the State of Franklin, setting up its own Constitution and treaties with local Indian tribes. In 1788, they rejoined North Carolina but would eventually become part of a new state, Tennessee.

The Kimball Opera House, serving as the Georgia State Capitol, was sold to the state on August 23, 1870.

On August 23, 1961, four African-American citizens attempted to play tennis at Bitsy Grant Tennis Center in Atlanta, which was informally “whites only.” The Tennis Center was hastily closed rather than allow them to play, but it was the first volley leading to the eventual desegregation of Atlanta’s public recreation facilities.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Here’s your morning awesome if you haven’t already seen the young man with Down Syndrome opening his acceptance letter from UGA.

A federal judge in Texas ruled against the Obama administration’s directive that schools must provide students with a choice of restroom that matches the student’s gender identity.

U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of Texas ordered a temporary injunction on Sunday of the federal government’s guidelines announced in May. The guidelines included a warning that states could lose federal funding if they did not adhere to the policy. Georgia and 12 other states, including Texas, filed a lawsuit in late May against the federal guidelines, arguing the threat to withhold federal funds for states that didn’t comply was unconstitutional.

“We are pleased that the federal court agrees that the guidance letter is yet another example of the President’s unconstitutional overreach,” [Georgia Attorney General Sam] Olens said in a statement. “The Constitution gives only Congress the power to write and rewrite laws. Threatening to withhold taxpayer dollars from schools if they don’t comply with this mandate is unconstitutional. I will continue to defend the Constitution on behalf of Georgians.”

Another day in Georgia, another drive-by media hit suggesting that Hillary Clinton can win in Georgia this November.

Here’s how the Democratic argument for the state works: Georgia, like its neighbors North Carolina and Virginia, is becoming younger and more diverse. In 2000, for example, African American voters made up 23 percent of the electorate; in 2012, that figure was up to 30 percent. The state also has a growing Hispanic population.

Democrats say their floor in the state hovers these days around 44 or 45 percent. If Clinton can reach Obama-level turnout among minority voters, that could get her another percentage point or two on Election Day—and coupled with the potential for modest gains among white, educated, moderate Republicans who are turned off by Trump, a narrow victory is not out of the question.

“There’s not really any growth potential for [Trump] with the white working class voters because they’ve already been aligned with Republicans,” said Jeff DeSantis, a veteran Democratic operative in the state who ran Michelle Nunn’s 2014 Senate campaign.

The problem for Democrats is that the state’s white voters, more so than in states with similar demographics, like North Carolina or Virginia, vote heavily for Republicans. In other words, Clinton couldn’t depend just on turning out the growing numbers of African American and Hispanic voters; she would also have to win a significantly higher percentage of the white vote there than Mr. Obama did in either of his campaigns.

In a normal presidential cycle, these suburban moderate Republicans would be rank-and-file Republican voters; Democrats’ success depends on a rejection of Trump that’s so overwhelming that it drives substantial numbers of these moderates toward the other options. Otherwise, a statewide victory for Clinton will be difficult.

“Anything is in the realm of possibility—I mean, in 1992 Bill Clinton won Georgia because of [independent candidate] Ross Perot,” said Eric Tannenblatt, a veteran Republican consultant who worked with Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012. “But that being said, every other presidential election going back the last 30 years, with the exception of that one in 1992, the Republican has won—even in 1996 when Bill Clinton was running for re-election.”

Emory University historian Joseph Crespino weighs-in with his perspective on how Georgia might be in play this year.

[T]his story has less to do with the future than the past, and both parties run a risk in misreading it. Mr. Trump’s racially charged hard-right campaign reveals a fault line in Republican politics that dates from the very beginning of G.O.P. ascendancy in the South.

The Republican’s Southern Strategy is one of the most familiar stories in modern American history: Beginning in the 1960s, the party courted white racist voters who fled the Democratic Party because of its support for civil rights.

But things were never quite so simple. Yes, racial reaction fed G.O.P. gains in the 1960s and ’70s. And yes, Barry Goldwater called it “hunting where the ducks are.”

What did that mean? Goldwater’s detractors understood it to mean that he was going after Dixiecrats, the Southern Democrats who had abandoned the party in 1948 over civil rights. Goldwater, however, maintained that he was going after college-educated white collar professionals who were building the modern Southern economy.

That was the vision he described in his speech at the Georgia Republican Convention in May 1964. G.O.P. success in the South, he argued, stemmed from “the growth in business, the increase in per capita income and the rising confidence of the South in its own ability to expand industrially and commercially.” Southern Republicanism, he said, was based on “truly progressive elements.”

Goldwater had a point. It was Southern businessmen who grew the party in the 1950s. Democrats, they said, were the party of corruption and cronyism. These Republicans even worked together with black Republicans, who since the 19th century had been the Southern G.O.P.’s most loyal constituency.

That was the vision he described in his speech at the Georgia Republican Convention in May 1964. G.O.P. success in the South, he argued, stemmed from “the growth in business, the increase in per capita income and the rising confidence of the South in its own ability to expand industrially and commercially.” Southern Republicanism, he said, was based on “truly progressive elements.”

Yet this year that mixture may not work. Mr. Trump’s extreme language and divisive policies are alienating moderate Republicans in places like the Atlanta exurbs — where Mrs. Clinton is running nearly even with Mr. Trump. And across the state, polls show a significantly low number of Republicans saying they’ll support their party’s candidate.

It’s an excellent piece that I highly recommend reading in its entirety.

State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) spoke to the AJC about misgivings he has over Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

“Every time he says something that makes me cringe, or something that appears to be indecent, it makes me wonder how in the world can I vote for this guy,” said state Rep. Allen Peake, a Macon Republican. “I keep having to come back to the Supreme Court nominations. But, boy, it scares the bejeebies out of me — the thought that he could actually be the president.”

Trump’s decision to hire Stephen K. Bannon, the anti-establishment chief of Breitbart News, didn’t reassure supporters hoping for a pivot away from his firebrand ways. Nor did his rare expression of regret for his rhetoric, or the resignation of campaign chairman Paul Manafort, whose previous job consulting for the pro-Russian former president of Ukraine had become a distraction.

“It makes me worry more because it appears they are doubling down on letting Trump be Trump,” Peake said.

An yesterday, Peake doubled-down, sending out his manifesto.

The reality is that Donald Trump as our nominee makes me incredibly fearful for the future of our party. We have alienated Hispanics and African-Americans, both groups who would support us if we stuck to an agenda focused on jobs and the economy. We have made ourselves enemies of the gay community. And from discussions with my gay brother, many would support us, because many are moderate on social issues but fiscally conservative.

And millennials have written us off because of our stances on issues like medical marijuana and gay marriage. So, as a party, we are basically working ourselves toward extinction. And if we don’t do some soul searching and make efforts to reach out to these groups, that’s where we end up.

Senator David Perdue told the Gwinnett Daily Post that Trump will bring a new perspective to Washington.

The first-term senator has become an ardent supporter of the New York businessman since Trump clinched the GOP’s nomination.

For Republicans who have been eager to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the prospect of having someone from their own party in the White House is a glimmer of hope that they may finally achieve their goal.

“I believe that if we keep the majority in the Senate, we’ll repeal Obamacare early next year like we did this year,” Perdue said. “The difference will be that President Trump wouldn’t veto it, so Obamacare is gone. That will happen.”

Although there have several reports in recent weeks about polls that peg Trump as trailing Hillary Clinton in several places, including Georgia, Perdue is confident the Republican nominee will prove the pollsters wrong come November.

He pointed to his own experience running against Michelle Nunn to replace Saxby Chambliss in the Senate as an example. Nearly every poll in the weeks leading up to the General Election that year had Perdue and Nunn neck and neck with margins of two to four points, according to records kept by

Perdue won by about eight points.

“I don’t accept the premise that he’s lagging to the degree that the national polls say,” Perdue said of Trump. “What’s going on around the country is exactly what went on in Georgia in my race … There was a significant error in our race and it was because the polls were inaccurate.”

Whether you agree or disagree with Sen. Perdue on Donald Trump’s candidacy, it’s worth reading the entire interview, which covers a broad range of national issues.

WABE looks at how rural healtcare is faring after the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Georgia health officials painted a dire pictures of the state’s rural hospital network for state lawmakers Monday, with more cuts predicted as the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, continues to roll out.

About 40 percent of the state’s hospitals lost money in 2014, according to the Georgia Hospital Association’s most recent figures.

James told lawmakers that a host of coming cuts at the federal level could reduce payments to Georgia’s hospitals by $1.5 billion annually by 2025.

The head of the Senate committee, Republican state Sen. Renee Unterman, reiterated her stance that expanding Medicaid coverage is something lawmakers should consider next session.

“I believe it is a tool in the tool box, and we are facing the perfect tsunami, just like every other state in the nation, with a crisis in health care. And I think it’s our fiduciary responsibility to leave that tool box open,” Unterman said. “When you’re in a tsunami, when you’re in a crisis … you don’t say no to anything.”

Georgia Senate Rules Committee Chair Jeff Mullis (R-Upper Left-Hand Corner) will take on additional responsibilities chairing study committees.

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle selected Sen. Jeff Mullis (R- Chickamauga) to serve as Co-Chair of three Joint Study Committees and as Chair of two Senate Study Committees. Sen. Mullis will act as Co-Chair of the State Commission on Narcotic Treatment Programs, the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure and Vehicle Joint Study Committee and the Music Economic Development Joint Study Committee. In addition, Sen. Mullis will serve as Chair of the Senate Legislative Process Study Committee and the Senate Sexual Offender Registry Study Committee.

“I look forward to addressing and thoroughly reviewing each of these important issues with my colleagues,” said Sen. Mullis. “Our number one priority is the wellbeing, success and growth of all of our citizens. We will work hard the next few months to bring the best legislative recommendations to the table for each of these issues and ensure that the best interest of our citizens are represented. It is an honor to be appointed to these study committees.”

“Sen. Jeff Mullis has a proven track record in addressing the needs of our citizens and will be an invaluable resource as Co-Chair of three Joint Study Committees and as Chair of two Senate Study Committees,” said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. “I’m confident he will examine the issues at hand and provide new legislative recommendations to the General Assembly as we prepare for the 2017 Legislative Session.”

The Albany Herald reports that independent (Democratic) House District 151 candidate Kenneth Zachary Jr. has a disorderly conduct charge from 2004.

Zachary, 46, the pastor of three small Southwest Georgia churches and a former Arlington City Council member, announced his independent candidacy for the state House seat after Democrat James Williams, a former Albany police officer, was disqualified from running for the seat held for 33 years by Cuthbert Republican Gerald Greene.

“Southwest Georgia’s enthusiasm for my campaign is both humbling and inspiring,” Zachary said after his candidacy was confirmed. “I know the people of this community are ready for a leader who will fight to bring health care and jobs to thousands of our residents by working to expand Medicaid.

“Voters deserve a choice at the ballot box, and I plan on winning their support with a platform of strong Democratic values.”

But court documents obtained by The Herald show that Zachary, at age 34, pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct in 2004. He was indicted by a Dougherty County Grand Jury in May 2004 on a charge of terroristic threats in connection to an incident in which he was accused of throwing eggs at a car, acting “in disregard of the risk of causing such terror and inconvenience” in the incident that involved a woman and two small children, ages 4 and 6. The charge was reduced to disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.

Amber Patterson will take the bench as a Judge in Cobb County Juvenile Court.

For the past five years, Patterson has represented children as a guardian ad litem attorney — for custody cases — in the Cobb Juvenile Court. She also has experience in the Cobb County Family Dependency Court.

Cobb Superior Court Chief Judge Stephen Schuster said Patterson’s experience in those courts gives her the necessary practical experience and knowledge for the position.

“Her background, combined with her passion for children, will make her an exemplary juvenile court judge,” Schuster said.

File this under Obamacare: Blue Cross Blue Shield may raise rates on Georgia consumers.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia says it is reassessing the premium increases it has previously proposed for the state health insurance exchange, with an eye to revising them upward.

This comes in the wake of Aetna’s pullout from the exchange here.

Blue Cross, the state’s largest health insurer, reiterated its stance that it will remain in Georgia’s exchange next year. But it won’t have much time to readjust its rate proposal.

Blue Cross’ proposed increases currently average from 9.1 percent to 14.8 percent.

Blue Cross is the only statewide insurer in the exchange, and figures to pick up many of the estimated 70,000 to 90,000 Georgia Aetna members who will have to choose new plans during the fall open enrollment. Aetna had exchange health plans across almost all of the state.

The Aetna pullout from Georgia and 10 other exchanges, announced this week, has rattled supporters of the Affordable Care Act. That comes after UnitedHealthcare’s exit here and elsewhere.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 22, 2016

The sale of Coca-Cola Company from the Candlers was announced in the Atlanta Constitution on August 22, 1919.

N/S Savannah, the first nuclear-powered merchant ship, visited the Port of Savannah on August 22, 1962. Savannah was named after S.S. Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. N/S Savannah is moored at the Port of Baltimore and designated a national historic landmark.

More than 3000 demonstrators disrupted the Democratic National Convention on August 22, 1968.

In 1972, it was the Republicans’ turn, as demonstrators struck outside the Republican National Convention.

Nolan Ryan recorded his 5000th career strikeout against Rickey Henderson of the Oakland A’s on August 22, 1989.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Over the weekend, the Associated Press wrote that the Presidential race may have an impact on Senator Johnny Isakson’s reelection.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 19, 2016

James Oglethorpe and the Creek Indians signed the Treaty of Coweta Town, delineating geographic areas open to British settlement, on August 21, 1739.

On August 20, 1781, General George Washington sent Continental troops from New York toward Yorktown, Virginia to engage British troops under Gen. Cornwallis.

USS Constitution earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” in battle against the British ship Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia on August 19, 1812. Launched in 1797, Constitution is today the oldest commissioned vessel in the United States Navy. Live oak from St. Simons Island were cut and milled for timber used in the constructions of Constitution. From a 1977 New York Times article:

The Constitution won her way into Americans’ hearts in 1812, when she defeated the British Guerriere off Nova Scotia in an exchange of broadsides. The spirit of the Constitution crew was noted by the Guerriere’s commander, James Dacres, who boarded the Constitution to present his sword in surrender.

”I will not take your sword, Sir,” the captain of the Constitution, Isaac Hull, replied. ”But I will trouble you for your hat.”

In the battle, a sailor — whether British or American is disputed by historians — is said to have cried out, ”Huzzah, her sides are made of iron!” as he watched an English cannonball bounce off the side of the Constitution. It was the birth of her nickname.

Part of the ship’s secret lay in the wood used in the design by Joshua Humphreys. He picked live oak, from St. Simons Island, Ga. The wood has proved so strong and resistant to rot that the original hull is intact, said Anne Grimes Rand, curator of the Constitution Museum in Charlestown, Mass.

On August 21, 1831, Nat Turner led the largest slave rebellion in American history; Turner was later hanged in Jerusalem, VA.

The first of the Lincoln-Douglass series of seven debates was held in Ottawa, Illinois, on August 21, 1858, pitting Democrat Stephen Douglass against Republican Abraham for the United States Senate seat held by Douglass. Expansion of slavery in the United States was the topic for the debates.

On August 20, 1906, Gov. Joseph Terrell signed legislation to build a statue of Georgia founding father James Oglethorpe in Savannah and a bill to build a statue of former Confederate General and Georgia Governor John B. Gordon at the State Capitol.

On August 21, 1907, Georgia Governor Hoke Smith signed legislation to place a Constitutional Amendment designed to disenfranchise African-Americans by requiring passage of a literacy test to vote. A number of exceptions allowed local officials to exempt white voters whom they wished to allow to vote; one exemption was for anyone descended from a U.S. or Confederate wartime veteran – the so-called “grandfather clause.”

On the same day, Gov. Smith also signed legislation prohibiting fishing on Sunday, subject to misdemeanor prosecution.

The Georgia Department of Insurance was created on August 19, 1912 when Governor Joseph Brown signed legislation regulating companies selling policies in the states.

Governor Nathaniel Harris signed the first state law requiring school attendance for children 8-14 years of age on August 19, 1916; on the same day, Harris also signed legislation authorizing women to practice law in Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Archives and History was created by legislation signed by Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsey on August 20, 1918.

On August 20, 1920, the American Professional Football Association, which would later be renamed the National Football League, was formed in Akron, Ohio. Today, the Professional Football Hall of Fame is about an hour away in Canton, Ohio.

“Georgia” was designated the official state song on August 19, 1922 with Gov. Thomas Hardwick’s signature on a joint resolution passed by the General Assembly; in 1979, “Georgia On My Mind,” replaced it.

On August 20, 1923, Georgia Governor Clifford Walker signed legislation requiring state schools teach the United States and Georgia Constitutions and students pass an exam on the documents before being allowed to graduate.

Adolf Hitler became President of Germany on August 19, 1934.

On August 21, 1935, Benny Goodman and his orchestra began a seven-night stand at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles, beginning the Swing Era.

The United States Central Intelligence Agency supported a coup in Iran that restored the Shah of Iran on August 19, 1953.

Happy 55th birthday to Hawaii, which became the 50th State on August 21, 1959; they’ve undoubtedly been receiving AARP literature in the mail for ten years.

On August 20, 1965, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones was released in the UK.

The 1968 Democratic National Convention began in Chicago on August 21, 1968.

The name of Julian Bond of Georgia, then-27 and too young to serve, was placed in nomination for Vice President during the 1968 DNC.

On August 20, 1974, President Gerald Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller as Vice President of the United States.

On August 19, 1976, President Gerald R. Ford was nominated for President by the Republican National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. Ford received 1,157 (52.6%) delegates to 1,087 for Ronald Reagan (47.4%). Georgia’s 48 delegates voted for Reagan on the first ballot.

On August 19, 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. On the same day, Dr. Betty Siegel became the first female President of a state college or university in Georgia when she was named President of Kennesaw College on August 19, 1981; under her leadership, it became Kennesaw State University in 1996. Siegel served until 2006. Kennesaw State was recently named the 4th best college for food in the nation.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia DOT had its 100th Birthday Party and was serenaded by an all-star political choir that included former Governors Sonny Perdue and Roy Barnes.

Georgia’s transportation chief is optimistic about Cobb County’s coming I-75 toll lanes and SunTrust Park traffic conditions. Russell McMurry, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation, weighed in on the topics during a 100th anniversary celebration for GDOT held at Vinings Bank on Thursday.

The $834 million, 30-mile toll lanes will be transformational in relieving traffic congestion, McMurry said, by giving drivers the option of using the lanes during the busiest times of the day. Express bus service will also be able to use the lanes, another benefit of the project.

“With the planning that’s been done — coordination with Cobb County, coordination with GDOT — there’s a lot more entry points. It’s a different dynamic, a different experience than (what) is experienced today at Turner Field. So it’s a little bit of a different approach to how they manage traffic,” he said.

While the I-75 toll lanes won’t be ready for opening pitch, he said they will provide a good alternative in the most congested times once they open in 2018.

“And the other projects that are underway … the turn lanes, intersection improvements, Spring Road, all these other improvements provide a benefit … around the Cumberland area to be better all the time not just at Braves games,” he said.

Speaking of GDOT, they’ll be closing some lanes on I-85 and I-985 near Buford beginning at 9 PM tonight through 5 AM Saturday.

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Congressional Luncheon on Tuesday, August 23d at the Macon Marriott City Center, 200 Coliseum Drive, Macon, Georgia 31217, beginning at 10:30 AM. This year’s luncheon will feature U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson and veteran political analysts Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg, who will discuss all aspects of the 2016 primary and general election, including what they’re seeing on the Presidential and U.S. Senate races around the country.

Fulton County Sheriff Candidate Ben Cowart is taking flak for a video he posted on Facebook that cuts together scenes of John Wayne firing a pistol and cyclists falling off bikes. Someone ran to 11Alive to air their grievance with Cowart.

Cowart released the following statement in response to questions about his Facebook post:

“I apologize if anyone was offended by the Satiric video featuring John Wayne that was posted on my personal Facebook page.  Although the video is clearly a satire and meant to be humorous, in no way do I advocate any kind of violence towards anyone, whether they be on foot, bicycle, car, or any other mechanized mode of transportation.  We’ve removed the item and look forward to returning our focus on the major issues facing the people of Fulton County including the rising crime rate in South Fulton, low employee morale, and the thousands of warrants yet to be served that keep bad guys on the streets,” said Cowart.

Cowart is up against incumbent candidate Sheriff Theodore “Ted” Jackson, who is campaigning for a third re-election to the office.

I continue to be surprised that (1) people can’t take a joke, and if it’s by their political opponent, they accuse the other person of advocating for whatever was joked about; and (2) that others take such petty grievances seriously. From a campaign perspective, it still would have been preferable to avoid this altogether.

The Columbus area is setting the groundwork to take advantage of the $2 Billion that the film and TV industry spent in Georgia last year.

The forefront of the state’s strategy is fostering the education and training of people for the movie industry in Georgia and setting up as much infrastructure as possible. Some of the progress was on display this week, with Columbus State University students providing assistance with the shooting of a film in Harris County, near Pine Mountain, Ga., as part of the completion of their 18-hour on-set film production certificate.

“We’re looking at bringing another film here in the spring to train additional students who had the first course,” [CSU’s College of Arts Dean Richard] Baxter said.

He explained that there are plans to eventually have a sound stage in Columbus with equipment that can be used by filmmakers. If all works well, investment capital will materialize that will attract productions not only to Georgia, but in Columbus and the surrounding area. Down the road, an associate’s degree in film could be offered at CSU, he said.

“The goal of our program is, by this time next year, to have 50 to 100 certified, trained production workers so that anyone who wants to come to Columbus and film, they’re going to have a workforce already here instead of having to bring people from outside Columbus to work on those movies,” Baxter said. “You won’t have to bring somebody from New York or California or Atlanta here to work on a film.”

Doraville politicians and taxpayers will be helping finance construction at the former GM plant through a tax abatement.

After the site’s owners couldn’t convince the school board to throw its support behind their project, the Doraville Downtown Development Authority voted unanimously Tuesday night to award incentives worth 35 percent of the site’s annual property tax bill for the next 30 years.

The amount of the tax breaks could exceed $82 million if developers succeed in their effort to increase the property’s value to more than $1.5 billion over the next three decades, according to calculations by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Doraville leaders initially wanted to help finance the project through a tax allocation district, which would have preserved the site’s existing tax base and dedicated future increases in tax revenue on infrastructure improvements. But school system officials, whose approval is required, have said they’re reluctant to commit educational resources to a business prospect.

The tax breaks approved Tuesday cut into both the school system’s current and future tax revenue. Development authorities throughout Georgia have the power to grant property tax abatements for business growth.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed may have dropped a hint that City Council member Keisha Lance Bottoms is considering entering the 2017 Mayoral race.

“Scott Taylor for mayor,” Reed said laughing. “…After the next election. I don’t want to upset Ceasar and Keisha.”

By “Ceasar” he meant City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell — who was sitting in the front row and who has officially declared he is running for mayor having already raised more than a half-million dollars.

By Keisha, he meant Keisha Lance Bottoms, who was also riding high Thursday as the head of the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority who helped broker the Turner Field deal.

She was sitting on stage with the mayor.

A gas pipeline across South Georgia received federal approval, though some locals still oppose construction. Meanwhile, Governor Deal made appointments to the Joint State Commission on Petroleum Pipelines.

Colonial Group Vice President Ryan Chandler and Conservancy President Robert Ramsay are part of the final five appointments to the 13-member committee: Eastman resident Wade Hall, president and CEO of Stuckey Timberland, Inc.; Brian Nipper, the mayor of Odum and president of Nipper Construction Company, Inc.; and Atlanta resident Mike Clanton, vice president of the land department for Georgia Power.

Savannah is considering creating a Municipal Court split from the Chatham County Recorder’s Court.

Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach said most of the cities around Savannah have a municipal court and he didn’t think the joint operation was necessarily the best method for Savannah.

“I think it can be more efficient,” DeLoach said.

Savannah City Council joined the hipster food truck movement, adopting an ordinance to allow them to operate on private property.

The Georgia Board of Education voted to revoke the charter of Macon Charter Academy effective August 31st.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 18, 2016

On August 18, 1591,the English settlement at Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks of what is now North Carolina was found deserted.

On August 18, 1795, President George Washington signed a treaty with Great Britain called the Jay Treaty, after Supreme Court Justice John Jay who negotiated it. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison led opposition to the treaty.

On August 18, 1862, Confederate Major General of Cavalry J.E.B. Stuart was nearly captured, losing his distinctive hat and cloak and written copies of Lee’s orders near Verdiersville, Virginia.

The Georgia General Assembly adopted a joint resolution urging the creation of a federal Health Department on August 18, 1908.

On August 18, 1916, the Cherokee Rose was designated the official state flower of Georgia by a joint resolution of the State House and Senate.

The practice of tipping service employees was outlawed by legislation signed on August 18, 1918.

Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsey signed legislation regulating the practice of architecture and licensing practitioners on August 18, 1919.

The Georgia Board of Public Welfare was also created on August 18, 1919 when Gov. Dorsey signed legislation establishing that body and a companion bill that created the Community Service Commission.

On August 18, 1924 Gov. Clifford Walker signed legislation that would allow a referendum on a Constitutional Amendment to allow Atlanta, Savannah, or Macon to consolidate their respective municipal governments with their county governments. Macon-Bibb County merged in 2014 after voters passed a referendum in July 2012.

The Beatles played at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on August 18, 1965. has a couple images from the night.

On August 18, 1991, hardline Commies in the Soviet Union arrested Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev as part of a coup against Gorbachev’s reforms.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Ranting on Facebook about politics may be counter-productive if you think Facebook is for fostering stronger friendships or for promoting political candidates, according to new research.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 17, 2016

Georgia Governor Joseph Terrell signed legislation creating the State Board of Health on August 17, 1903.

Georgia Tech was designated the State School of Technology on August 17, 1908 by joint resolution of the State Senate and State House.

In a quaint bit of Georgia history, on August 17, 1908, Governor Hoke Smith signed legislation prohibiting corporate donations to political campaigns. Cute!

On August 17, 1998, President Bill Clinton testified as the subject of a grand jury investigation.

The testimony came after a four-year investigation into Clinton and his wife Hillary’s alleged involvement in several scandals, including accusations of sexual harassment, potentially illegal real-estate deals and suspected “cronyism” involved in the firing of White House travel-agency personnel. The independent prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, then uncovered an affair between Clinton and a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. When questioned about the affair, Clinton denied it, which led Starr to charge the president with perjury and obstruction of justice, which in turn prompted his testimony on August 17.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols takes the fight against human trafficking to Savannah next month.

Every night, at least 100 juvenile girls in Georgia are exploited as a part of child sex-trafficking rings, according to The Center for Public Policy Studies.

Many of them are out of Atlanta, which has been deemed one of the top 14 cities in the United States for child prostitution by the FBI.

But the father of seven says, Savannah is being affected, too.

“These traffickers are bringing girls up and down I-95. They’ll spend a couple of days in Savannah, they’ll go over to Valdosta, they’ll go to Atlanta…they’re moving them around. They trade them like pawns, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation,” Echols told News 3.

“Operation Dark Night, which was a sting by the U.S. Attorney’s Office here in Savannah rescued 10 girls that were being kept in dog cages in a home,” said Echols.

That’s why he’s hosting a tour next month in Savannah to make sure law makers and law enforcement get to see what’s really going on…and find solutions.

“Maybe foster some sector-specific training: like medical personnel being trained with what to look for. Taxi drivers, limo drivers, hotel front desk personnel, people that might normally be in a place where a trafficker would be a girl through. If they’ve been trained to see this and can call the tip line and report it, it might trigger and investigation,” Echols said.

It appears that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein will not be on Georgia’s General Election ballot because too few of the signatures her party turned in were validated.

The news comes a month after the Green Party submitted what it said was more than 1,600 pages of signatures by the state’s July 12 deadline. Party officials had not been sure of the number of signatures, but they estimated it had been more than 10,000.

That number was key. A federal judge earlier this year significantly lowered the number of signatures required to petition for a place on Georgia’s presidential ballot, from tens of thousands of required signatures to just 7,500.

Local election officials, however, were able to verify only 5,925 signatures on the party’s petition, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

The party has five days to appeal the ruling.

“We are conferring with our attorneys right now,” said Bruce A. Dixon, co-chairman of the Georgia Green Party. “It is highly likely that we will be in court before the end of this week to litigate this matter. So it ain’t over yet.”

We’ve written several times about my Rule of Thumb for Ballot Signatures, which is to get twice as many signatures as you need. If we accept the Green Party’s estimate of 10,000 signatures, it appears that roughly 59% were found to be valid. If they’d collected twice as many signatures as they needed and validated at the same rate, Jill Stein would be on the ballot.

The Trump-Pence campaign added to its Georgia staff, announcing two new additions.

“We have assembled an all-star team dedicated to keeping Georgia in the Republican win column. We are committed to taking Mr. Trump’s message to all Georgians, and turning the enthusiasm of this grassroots movement into votes to win in November,” said Brandon Phillips, Mr. Trump’s Georgia State Director, in announcing the senior members of the Georgia campaign team.

“Georgia voters understand that Hillary Clinton represents a third Obama term while the Trump-Pence campaign of tougher law enforcement, stopping illegal immigration and bringing back jobs is resonating strongly across the state. Voters are tired of the same old Washington corruption and back room deals and will vote for change in November,” said Phillips.

Jennifer Hazelton will serve as Communications Director for the Trump Pence 2016 campaign in Georgia. Hazelton served as an award-winning Communications Director for Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) in Washington. She also occupied the same role during a 2014 congressional campaign in San Diego, CA. Prior to working in politics, Hazelton worked as a journalist in television news. She started her career at CNN, working up the ranks to producer, executive producer, and programming creator in Atlanta, London, and New York. After her time at CNN, Hazelton worked for Fox News, managing the newsroom in the network’s Washington, DC bureau. Hazelton is also an occasional panelist on WAGA-TV’s “Georgia Gang.” She is a native of Atlanta.

Billy Kirkland will serve as the Senior Advisor for the Trump Pence campaign in Georgia. Kirkland is the founder and principal at PWK Group, LLC. He launched the firm in 2015 after overseeing the successful election of David Perdue to the U.S. Senate. Prior to the campaign, Kirkland worked as the National Field Director for the Faith & Freedom Coalition. He also worked in former Governor Sonny Perdue’s Intergovernmental Affairs Office. He brings over 15 years of political and campaign experience of all levels to the table. Kirkland is a native of Henry County, Georgia.

Speaking of Rules of Thumb, I have another one I call, “never get into a peeing contest because you’ll just end up wet.” That means don’t get caught up in personal conflicts during a campaign. But in Extreme Northwest Georgia, they do thing differently. From the Times-Free Press:

Jeremy Jones, failed state representative candidate, sat in a camping chair. Jeff Holcomb, failed state representative candidate, stood nearby. Weeks later, both men would say they were threatened. Somehow, the police got involved.

“I’m going to beat your bald a**,” Holcomb may have said, according to a Catoosa County Sheriff’s incident report.

Jones, who received 13 percent of the vote in May, endorsed [eventual Runoff winner DeWayne] Hill. He insulted Holcomb online, called him a hot head and a racist unfit to work in the Georgia capitol. Holcomb said Jones was merely kowtowing to the political establishment by aligning with Hill, who had received about $30,000 in funding from current state representatives and senators.

Jones said he didn’t take the insults personally. He just thought they were dumb.

“I was somewhat stunned,” Jones said. “We have matching hairlines.”

A better insult would have centered on his last-place finish in the May primary, Jones said, or maybe about how he is “a little robust.”

So here’s how I score that exchange: each participant loses two points for breaking the rules, and each loses three more points when law enforcement gets involved. Two more points are deducted for each party for the spat appearing in the newspaper. Dr. Jones gets 1 point back for witty retorts, leaving both candidates under water or worse. That’s why the rule exists.

The AJC opines that third party voters may send Georgia’s Senate race into overtime.

McCoy and others considering casting a ballot for a third-party candidate could shake up Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s battle for a third term. With polls showing Democrat Jim Barksdale in striking distance, both campaigns are quietly bracing for a possible Jan. 10 runoff.

And Libertarian Allen Buckley is hoping voter disgust with both Clinton and Republican Donald Trump — each has made an unfavorable impression with 58 percent of Georgia voters — buoys a campaign that barely surpassed 3 percent in 2008 when he last ran for a Senate seat.

He warns of an impending fiscal collapse driven by out-of-control federal spending and a refusal to deal with the nation’s mounting debt. And he’s tailoring his message to disaffected conservatives and independents who see Republicans as slightly more conservative versions of Democrats.

“If I can get in the runoff, I’ll win the race,” Buckley said. “The only way anything gets accomplished in this race is if I win. Jim Barksdale shows nothing about a new direction. Johnny Isakson doesn’t, either. I’d be the only third-party senator, and I could fight for what’s right.”

Duffy said a January runoff is certainly possible, a scenario she said that would put Democrats at a disadvantage.

“There tends to be a backlash against whichever party wins the White House,” Duffy said. “If the election were held today, certainly Clinton would win given her lead in the polls, and there would be this backlash against Democrats in a runoff that happens weeks after the general election.”

Here’s my 50-cent analysis – it’s not third party voters who can decide whether Georgia goes into extra innings in the Senate race – it’s Trump voters. In 2008, Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) was sent into a runoff election when he fell 9133 votes short of winning the required 50% plus one.

But where he lost those votes wasn’t third party voters going to Allen Buckley, then, as now, the Libertarian candidate. What denied Chambliss an outright victory was the 181,662 voters who pulled the lever for John McCain, but did not vote for Saxby Chambliss. Most of those just left the ballot slot blank. Changing just over 5% of those voters who were already in the ballot box and voting for a Republican at the top of the ticket would have put Chambliss over the top in November 2008.

I’ll also point out that a General Election Runoff this year will be vastly different than 2008. We will have nine weeks instead of three, as the Runoff for Federal Elections is scheduled for January 10, 2017. That means a marathon instead of a sprint, including Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hannukah, and New Years Eve. The worst case scenario is a Senate majority hanging in the balance and an incoming President looking for a big win before taking office.

I’m not in the business of giving unsolicited advice, and I would never second-guess the able strategists working for Senator Isakson, but if I were them, I’d make sure to shore up those voters who are going to be in the poll voting for Donald Trump.

Gov. Nathan Deal announced yesterday that voestalpine Automotive Body Parts Inc. will expand its operations in Cartersville, investing $50 million and creating 150 new jobs.

The newly created jobs will range from advanced manufacturing to hot-forming and assembly positions. The company currently employs approximately 100 Georgians at the facility and offers extensive training opportunities, including an apprenticeship program with the students of the Bartow County College & Career Academy in Cartersville.

“This investment is an important step in the growth strategy of our company in the U.S. and positions us well in the center of the southern automotive hub,” said Philipp Schulz, managing director of voestalpine Automotive Body Parts Inc. “We would especially like to thank state and local officials as well as the Georgia Department of Economic Development for their assistance in this project. We are very excited about expanding operations in Cartersville, where our company has found great partners for our operations.”

Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Senior Project Manager Wylly Harrison and Regional Project Manager Stephanie Scearce represented the Global Commerce Division in partnership with the Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development and Georgia Power.

“When global manufacturing companies like voestalpine choose to locate or expand their existing presence in Georgia, it is a testament to the international reputation of our top-ranked business climate,” said GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr. “As our state’s automotive industry grows and manufacturing companies continue to invest, I am confident that voestalpine will find the support it needs to successfully serve its customers around the world and remain competitive in the marketplace.”

Teresa McCartney, who serves as director of the Office of Planning  and Budget under Gov. Deal was named 2016 recipient of the National Association of State Budget Officers Gloria Timmer Award.

“For the past four years, I’ve worked closely with Teresa to develop fiscally conservative budgets that prioritize the needs of Georgians, particularly educators and law enforcement officers,” said Deal. “At the same time, we’ve grown our Rainy Day Fund from $374 million to $1.9 billion. Her efforts have helped Georgia maintain its AAA bond rating, allowing us to better use taxpayer resources. I’ve long considered Teresa an exceptional budget officer and am proud that NASBO recognizes her as one too.”“For the past four years, I’ve worked closely with Teresa to develop fiscally conservative budgets that prioritize the needs of Georgians, particularly educators and law enforcement officers,” said Deal. “At the same time, we’ve grown our Rainy Day Fund from $374 million to $1.9 billion. Her efforts have helped Georgia maintain its AAA bond rating, allowing us to better use taxpayer resources. I’ve long considered Teresa an exceptional budget officer and am proud that NASBO recognizes her as one too.”

“Having Teresa as budget director is like having Michael Phelps anchor the 4×100 meter Olympic relay,” said Chris Riley, chief of staff to Deal. “She has been instrumental in ensuring that the governor’s budgets are responsible, sustainable, and serve the needs of Georgians.”

“MacCartney has overseen the restoration and enhancement of Georgia’s funding for its education system, which took a hit during the recession,” according to NASBO. “For K-12 education alone, she worked with the governor to add more than $1.5 billion over the past three years” with much of that funding going to grant more time in the classroom and retain experienced teachers.

So, I was clicking around on Facebook doing in-depth political history research last night and got sucked into a clickbait article about country music and Jesus, when I came across this photo.

Bo Ginn Luke Bryan

Those are Go Bo Ginn t-shirts from the 1982 campaign in which then-Congressman Bo Ginn went to a Democratic Primary Runoff against Joe Frank Harris.

Floyd County is adding 19 voting machines – about 10% of the current total – in an effort to speed voting in the November General Election.

Another 19 electronic voting machines will be used in this year’s general election on Nov. 8 in an effort to keep voter traffic moving, Floyd County Elections Supervisor Willie Green III said.

Green said 194 voting machines will be used this election as part of the changes he’s implementing to improve the efficiency of the election process in Floyd County.

A national study released by The Pew Charitable Trusts found Georgia to have the fourth-longest average voter wait time, at 7.4 minutes, in the 2014 midterm election and eighth-longest, at 17.8 minutes, in the 2012 presidential election.

A Brennan Center for Justice study, released in 2014, stated resource allocation, such as the number of voting machines at each polling station, is a major contributor to long lines.



Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 16, 2016

On August 15, 1903, Georgia Governor Joseph Terrell signed legislation requiring that Georgia schools teach elementary agriculture and civics.

The Panama Canal opened on August 15, 1914. On September 7, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed a treaty promising to give the Canal to Panama.

The State Highway Department was created on August 16, 1916 to comply with federal funding requirements, when Georgia Governor Nathaniel Harris signed legislation by the General Assembly.

Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsey signed legislation creating the State Department of Banking on August 16, 1919.

Georgia Governor Thomas Hardwick signed legislation creating the Georgia State Board of Forestry on August 15, 1921.

Georgia Governor Clifford Walker signed legislation changing the method of execution in Georgia from hanging to the electric chair on August 16, 1924.

On August 15, 1969, the Woodstock Festival began in upstate New York.

On August 16, 1974, The Ramones played their first public show at CBGB in New York.

Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977.

Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppolla was released on August 15, 1979.

Paul Anderson, known for years as the “Strongest Man in the World” for his weightlifting feats, died on August 15, 1994 in Vidalia, Georgia. Anderson was born in 1932 in Toccoa, Georgia. He won an Olympic gold medal in the sport of weightlifting in 1956.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Condolences to Senator David Perdue and his family on the loss of his mother.

Gervaise Wynn Perdue, mother of Georgia Sen. David Perdue, died Sunday night following a slow decline in her health.

A schoolteacher for more than 30 years, she established one of the state’s first programs for gifted students in the Houston County School System. Her husband of 49 years, the late David A. Perdue, served as superintendent of Houston County schools for 20 years.

“Both my parents dedicated their lives to educating the children of Houston County,” Sen. Perdue said Monday in a statement.

She was born in Irwin County, Georgia, in 1926. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Georgia and a specialist in education certification from Mercer University in 1971.

Senator Johnny Isakson has released his first ad in the General Election campaign. See it above. From an email the campaign sent with the ad:

U.S. Senator and Senate candidate Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., released “Kate,” the first ad of his 2016 general election campaign. The video is a tribute to young Georgian Kate Puzey and thousands of Americans who volunteer to represent America in faraway places trying to help others. The ad features Kate’s mother, Lois Puzey.

The 60-second ad, “Kate,” can be viewed here.

After reading Kate’s obituary in the newspaper and attending her funeral in 2009, Johnny reached out to the Puzey parents asking how he could help.  Johnny has traveled twice to the African country of Benin seeking justice for Kate’s murder and he successfully pushed Congress to pass a law giving Peace Corps volunteers the same whistleblower protections that federal employees have. Johnny keeps a framed photo of Kate and one of her African students on his desk.

“This young woman was a bright shining star trying to help young children thousands of miles from her Georgia home,” said Johnny. “I see Kate’s face every day, and it reminds me of my mission as an elected official.”

Suspects in Kate’s murder have been in custody in the country of Benin for several years, and the legal case is ongoing.

Below is a transcript of Mrs. Lois Puzey’s words in the video:

“Kate was just the sunshine of our life. She was just a beautiful spirit.

“She taught English in the northern part of Benin. My husband always worried about her there.

“There was this one teacher who was actually abusing the girls. He actually raped a young girl.

“Kate reported him. He lost his job. A few days later, Katie was found murdered in her house, and our lives were shattered.

“It is hard for me every single day to live without my daughter, Kate.

“Johnny Isakson read about it in the newspaper and felt so much sorrow for us. He said, ‘You know if there’s ever anything I can do, just please call me.’

“So much was done to honor her, and a lot of that is due to Johnny Isakson.

“He keeps a picture of her on his desk.

“Johnny Isakson helped get justice for our daughter in Benin. He also was able to get a law passed that better protects Peace Corps volunteers.

“I’m a lifelong Democrat. I am so grateful that he was my senator.”

In addition to the 60-second ad, a 30-second version will also be shown on broadcast and cable television across Georgia.

Members of the media can learn more about Kate’s story, along with Isakson’s work on her behalf by clicking here.

The AJC Political Insider brings some of Senator Isakson’s thoughts on transit.

It was Friday morning in Sandy Springs. Following a breakfast address to local business leaders, the Republican incumbent was going one-on-one with an express lane of reporters. The last asked him about transportation in metro Atlanta. The future of rail in particular.

“Mass transit is a part of the puzzle. It’s not the end-all solution. It’s certainly part of the solution,” Isakson began. “You can’t pave enough lanes to solve the problem.”

“North of the North Springs station — there’s been lots of talk about taking MARTA to Milton. Voters are there. They would be willing to do it. It would have to be a heavy rail line. There is a BRT – bus rapid transit – proposal involved in that, where you would use dedicated lanes instead of heavy rail traffic, which is a lot more expenses.

“But I think North Fulton people are ready for us to come up with a solution to get them a better connection to the airport through the North Springs MARTA Station, but that’s going to take about 7.2 miles of accessibility and make it available to them.”

My favorite Olympic headline so far reads, “Alabama Legislator Angry That “State of Georgia” Allowed in Olympics”.

Friday afternoon, Alabama State Senator Fred Q. Calhoun, (R-Delbert, Ala.) published an open letter to the International Olympic Committee’s President, Thomas Bach, complaining that it was unfair for the committee to allow only one U.S. state to participate as an independent team in this year’s Summer Olympic Games.

“As I was watching last night’s Olympic games with my family, I was stunned to see that Georgia was permitted to participate as an independent entity,” penned the freshman lawmaker.

“Alabama athletes are among the world’s most talented and passionate competitors…  On behalf of the nearly 5 million people who call the Yellow Hammer State home, we request that Alabama be allowed to compete in future Olympic games — just as you’ve permitted the State of Georgia to do,” concluded the state senator.

Of course, there is no Alabama legislator name Fred Calhoun, but it was good for a laugh.

A Macon couple has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney David Cooke seized legal coin-operated games from their businesses.

Their lawsuit claims that Cooke has a practice of seizing businesses that use those legal machines, to “extort” funds from the defendants.

“Cooke creates an unaccountable fund with the revenue generated from these illegal seizures… and them expends them, in violation of the Georgia Constitution, on items that he believes will garner him favor with his constituency.”

“The claim is false. It’s going to be proven to be false, and I’m just looking forward to defending not only the integrity and practices of my office, but also the officers who are involved in this case,” said Cooke.



Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 12, 2016

On August 12, 1492 by the current calendar, Christopher Columbus set sail from the port of Palos de la Frontera in southern Spain with the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Other accounts date his arrival at the Canary Islands off the coast of northwestern Africa on August 12, 1492.

Juan Ponce de Leon invaded Puerto Rico on August 12, 1508 and declared himself Governor.

On August 14, 1784, Russians invaded settled Alaska, founding the first permanent Russian settlement at Three Saints Bay.

Dentist, gambler, and gunfighter Doc Holliday was born on August 14, 1851 in Griffin, Georgia.

On August 14, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln hosted a group of African-American men at the White House to discuss emancipation of American slaves outside the United States as colonists.

On August 12, 1864, Confederate General John B. Hood prohibited Confederate soldiers from seizing civilian property.

The Second Battle of Dalton was joined on August 14, 1864.

The first Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line on August 12, 1904.

On August 12, 1908, Ford’s first “Model T” rolled off a Detroit, Michigan, factory floor. Within six years, the car, company and man were propelled to unprecedented success, thanks to the new Highland Park plant’s first-of-its-kind assembly line, which created the intricate product quickly and in large numbers.

“If it hadn’t been for Henry Ford’s drive to create a mass market for cars, America wouldn’t have a middle class today,” wrote [Lee] Iacocca.

Increased travel spurred appeals for better and more roads, the development of suburbs, the oil industry’s rise and a boom in gas stations, strip malls and motels.

But the assembly line itself had the biggest impact on American society, Hyde contended, in making possible the swift, mass production of everything from computers to “fast food.”

On August 12, 1910, Georgia Governor Joseph M. Brown signed legislation prohibiting the carrying of a pistol or revolver without a license.

The County Unit System of elections was created on August 14, 1917 when Governor Hugh Dorsey signed legislation by the General Assembly.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935. The road to perdition is paved with good intentions.

On August 14, 1945, the Japanese surrender to the Allies was made public in Japan.

In the afternoon of August 14, Japanese radio announced that an Imperial Proclamation was soon to be made, accepting the terms of unconditional surrender drawn up at the Potsdam Conference. That proclamation had already been recorded by the emperor.

East Germany began building the Berlin Wall on August 12, 1961.

[T]he government of East Germany, on the night of August 12, 1961, began to seal off all points of entrance into West Berlin from East Berlin by stringing barbed wire and posting sentries. In the days and weeks to come, construction of a concrete block wall began, complete with sentry towers and minefields around it. The Berlin Wall succeeded in completely sealing off the two sections of Berlin.

Three churches in Albany, Georgia first allowed African-Americans to attend their services on August 12, 1962.

On August 12, 1968, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham played together for the first time.

The first Space Shuttle, Enterprise, made its first flight in the earth’s atmosphere on August 12, 1977.

President Jimmy Carter was nominated for reelection as President by the Democratic National Convention in New York City on August 13, 1980.

President Ronald Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act on August 13, 1981.

The ERTA included a 25 percent reduction in marginal tax rates for individuals, phased in over three years, and indexed for inflation from that point on. The marginal tax rate, or the tax rate on the last dollar earned, was considered more important to economic activity than the average tax rate (total tax paid as a percentage of income earned), as it affected income earned through “extra” activities such as education, entrepreneurship or investment. Reducing marginal tax rates, the theory went, would help the economy grow faster through such extra efforts by individuals and businesses. The 1981 act, combined with another major tax reform act in 1986, cut marginal tax rates on high-income taxpayers from 70 percent to around 30 percent, and would be the defining economic legacy of Reagan’s presidency.

Reagan’s tax cuts were designed to put maximum emphasis on encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship and creating incentives for the development of venture capital and greater investment in human capital through training and education. The cuts particularly benefited “idea” industries such as software or financial services; fittingly, Reagan’s first term saw the advent of the information revolution, including IBM’s introduction of its first personal computer (PC) and the rise or launch of such tech companies as Intel, Microsoft, Dell, Sun Microsystems, Compaq and Cisco Systems.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High was released on August 13, 1982.

A Special Session called by Governor Miller to address legislative redistricting after the United States Supreme Court threw out Georgia’s Congressional redistricting map was convened on August 14, 1995.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

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Georgia State House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams was on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, talking about the Presidential prospects in Georgia. Reading..