Georgia Militia under General John Floyd began rounding up Cherokee Indians on May 26, 1838.
General Robert E. Lee wrote a letter dated May 26, 1861 to Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown asking the state to send any weapons available for Georgia volunteers who arrived in Virginia unarmed.
President Calvin Coolidge signed the “Comprehensive Immigration Act” on May 26, 1924.
Many Americans saw the enormous influx of largely unskilled, uneducated immigrants during the early 1900s as causing unfair competition for jobs and land. Under the new law, immigration remained open to those with a college education and/or special skills, but entry was denied to Mexicans, and disproportionately to Eastern and Southern Europeans and Japanese. At the same time, the legislation allowed for more immigration from Northern European nations such as Britain, Ireland and Scandinavian countries. A quota was set that limited immigration to two percent of any given nation’s residents already in the U.S. as of 1890, a provision designed to maintain America’s largely Northern European racial composition. In 1927, the “two percent rule” was eliminated and a cap of 150,000 total immigrants annually was established.
The law particularly angered Japan, which in 1907 had forged with U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt a “Gentlemen’s Agreement,” which included more liberal immigration quotas for Japan. By 1924, strong U.S. agricultural and labor interests–particularly from California, which had already passed its own exclusionary laws against Japanese immigrants–favored the more restrictive legislation signed by Coolidge. The Japanese government viewed the American law as an insult, and protested by declaring May 26 a national day of humiliation in Japan.
Fort Frederica National Monument was established on St Simons Island, Georgia on May 26, 1936.
May 26, 1949 was named Clay Day in Marietta, Georgia in honor of General Lucius Clay, who spoke at the courthouse square.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
Attorney General Sam Olens has joined a lawsuit against the Obama administration over the transgender bathroom “advice” letter.
Georgia sued the Obama administration Wednesday over a directive to public schools over transgender bathroom rules, joining a group of 11 states challenging the federal government over the controversial guidelines.
It was a surprising move from state leaders, who last week blasted the guidance that directed public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity as a “federal overreach” but stopped short of endorsing a lawsuit.
Attorney General Sam Olens said Wednesday, though, that Georgia was compelled to act because of the implicit threat that the federal government could withhold funding from schools if they refuse to comply with what he called a “legally unsound mandate.”
“The guidance letter is yet another example of the president’s unconstitutional overreach,” Olens said. “The Constitution gives only Congress the power to write and rewrite laws.”
The biggest surprise to me on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning was not that Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee is in a runoff, but that he is in second place going into the July 26 runoff. From the Marietta Daily Journal,
According to unofficial results, Boyce had 17,662 votes, or 49.1 percent, compared to Lee’s 14,529 votes, or 40.4 percent.
Retired businessman Larry Savage had 3,775 votes, or 10.5 percent, to finish third. With no candidate earning the 50 percent plus one vote majority needed to win outright, the top two vote-getters — Boyce and Lee — will face off in the July 26 primary.
Boyce listed three factors leading to his success on Tuesday.
“First of all, it’s my volunteers, who were numerous and hardworking,” Boyce said. “Second of all, it’s the voters in Cobb County being informed and really wanting to hear their voices being heard. And third is our constant theme of, ‘You can vote on the $40 million park bond, why can’t we vote on a ($368 million) stadium bond?’ That’s how we framed it.”
Late Tuesday evening, Lee said he was preparing for his runoff.
“I am proud of what we had accomplished over the last several years and I plan to work harder than ever to communicate our record of conservative wins for Cobb over the coming weeks,” Lee said.
Here’s some analysis of the Cobb races, also from the MDJ,
While some political pundits have said the 2016 election year has been one dictated by an anti-incumbent wave, such a movement was not to be seen in Tuesday’s Cobb primaries, with perhaps one very notable exception.
“A lot of folks that thought they were going to have tougher races actually turned out to have easy races,” said Kerwin Swint, a professor of political science at Kennesaw State University, who cited U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, state Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta, and Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott as just a few of the incumbents who coasted easily to victory. “The big outlier is the (Cobb) chairman’s race, which I think was a surprise.”
Swint said the chairman’s race was the county’s only race that saw a strong incumbent backlash. That race saw retired Marine Col. Mike Boyce come less than 1 percent short of an outright victory against incumbent Tim Lee.
“The Cobb County Republican base is pretty conservative, the folks who show up in the primaries, and very anti-tax,” Swint said. “In the case of Lee and Boyce, you had a lot of controversy there that Boyce was able to take advantage of, and he’s been pounding the pavement, knocking on doors, showing up at meetings and has built a real following out there, a passionate following.”
Boyce on Wednesday said his grassroots efforts since January — he says he and his campaign had visited since then more than 23,000 homes and made more than 47,000 phone calls to voters — were among the factors that led to his first-place win Tuesday.
“That was the gist of our campaign — not the social media, not the website — it was getting out there and meeting people, and convincing them that our message, that their concern is my concern, and I need them to vote for me so I can express their opinion that their voices were not being heard and that their money was being spent without their approval,” Boyce said.
The MDJ also looked at voter turnout in Cobb County.
When the votes were tallied Tuesday, 13.3 percent, or 51,614 of Cobb’s 389,533 registered voters, had cast their ballots, according to unofficial results.
In 2012, the previous presidential election year, 31.4 percent of Cobb voters cast a ballot during the general primary. The number of registered voters in the county has also decreased by nearly 10,000 since 2012.
Voter turnout was higher in 2014, a non-presidential election year, when 17.61 percent of Cobb voters cast ballots in the general primary.
“I have no idea why voter turnout was so low,” [Cobb County Elections Director Janine] Eveler said. “I can never answer the why because I don’t know what gets people encouraged to vote and what doesn’t.”
We already mentioned a couple of State House runoffs, but the AJC looks at two long-time GOP State Representatives who wound up in runoffs this year.
Two prominent Georgia House incumbents facing runoffs after failing to get enough votes Tuesday are being promised help from the chamber’s Republican leadership, including colleague cash expected to flow into their campaigns ahead of the July 26 election.
Ninety-four-year-old state House Veterans Affairs Chairman John P. Yates, R-Griffin, the last World War II veteran serving in the Georgia Legislature, is one of them, locked in a tight race with Griffin chiropractor Karen Mathiak. The other, state Rep. Tom Dickson, is the retired schools superintendent of Whitfield County and a subcommittee chairman on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. He fell 16 votes short Tuesday of defeating two challengers outright and will now face Chatsworth farmer Jason Ridley in a runoff.
[House Speaker David Ralston said,] “I’m going all out” for Dickson and Yates. “They’re both great men,” the speaker said. “John Yates is a World War II hero, and Tom Dickson is probably the most solid guy in the Georgia House. We need both of them back.”
One incumbent House Democrat, veteran Rep. Darryl Jordan of Riverdale, who was first elected in 2000, was forced into a runoff with Rhonda Burnough. In the Democratic primaries, Rep. Rahn Mayo, D-Decatur, was beaten by medical sales representative Renitta Shannon, and Rep. Earnest Smith, D-Augusta, was ousted by retired U.S. Postal Service worker Sheila Clark Nelson.
In the Democratic Primary for House District 142, second-place finisher Gerald Harvey will challenge the election results, according to the Macon Telegraph.
The state of Georgia counted 2,923 votes for Miriam Paris as of Tuesday night. The tally for Gerald Harvey was 2,445 votes.
The state did not count an additional 844 votes that were cast for disqualified candidate Frank Austin.
Harvey contends that voters were not necessarily aware that votes for Austin were invalid. He said he thinks that if voters had been better informed, some of those votes would have gone his way, possibly changing the outcome.
“I’m in the process of launching a formal challenge,” said Harvey, who told The Telegraph he has met with an attorney and they are working on a strategy. He said they are doing the local legwork to build a case.
“If who won didn’t win, I say let’s do the whole damn thing over again,” Harvey said.
In Meigs, Georgia, a recall election was held Tuesday and passed by 94 votes to 48, setting up an eventual special election for Mayor.
Changing the Guard
DeKalb County elected Sherry Boston as the new District Attorney, ousting incumbent Robert James.
By casting District Attorney Robert James as part of DeKalb’s problems, Solicitor Sherry Boston was able to win a resounding victory Tuesday and replace him as the county’s top prosecutor.
Boston doubted James’ ability to eliminate corruption and questioned his personal integrity, citing missteps with his official spending, dealings with investigators and campaign finance filings. As a high-ranking incumbent running for re-election, he bore the brunt of voter angst over a county government stained by years of criminal behavior and dubious decisions.
Boston’s pitch to voters — that DeKalb needed a prosecutor they could believe in — worked. She unseated James, receiving 62 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, and she’ll become the county’s next district attorney because no Republican is running in November’s general election.
She further dinged him for agreeing to pay $2,850 in fines for failing to file a campaign fundraising report and other required financial disclosures on time.
Forsyth County voters ousted incumbent Duane Piper with resounding support for challenger Ron Freeman.
Freeman’s lead of 64.88 percent, or 12,393 votes, put him well on his way to beating Incumbent Sheriff Duane Piper’s 35.12 percent, or 6,709 votes. Both candidates are Republicans.
Freeman, who spent 26 years at Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office before helping build the Brookhaven Police Department as its deputy chief of police, said he was humbled by the results.
He won every precinct, according to the Secretary of State website.
He said voters turned out for him as a “matter of transparency and integrity, and the fact that we ran a race on the issues facing Forsyth County.”
In Terrell County, incumbent Sheriff John Bowens faces challenger James Driver, Jr. in a July runoff election.
Congratulations to John Breakfield on winning his election for an open seat on Hall County State Court. Billy Powell was reelected to Hall County Commission District 2.
Al Scott will continue as Chatham County Commission Chair after winning reelection.
Walker Garrett, one of two political newcomers seeking to replace a legend, the late Red McDaniel, on Columbus Council, prevailed easily Tuesday in the District 8 race.
Garrett, an attorney, topped electrical contractor Jonathan Davis 1,053-554 (or 66-34 percent). During a vigorous campaign, Garrett, 31, said he wants to see success that’s seen in some parts of the city spread city-wide.
“When I grew up here, you didn’t go downtown. It wasn’t safe,” Garrett said. “Now we see a vibrant community. I want to see that same community throughout our city.”
There was one quirk in the District 8 election, because it was actually two elections. One was to see who would serve the next term and one was to see who would fill out the rest of McDaniels’ term through January. Garrett won that election by practically the same margin.
After winning reelection in an uncontested race, Floyd County Superior Court Judge Jack Niedrach spoke about mental health court.
One of his own projects, with the help of others, has been the creation of a mental health court. The mental health court just started hearing cases at the beginning of the year and Niedrach believes it is making a difference for the participants.
Thirteen participants are enrolled in the program at this time, but there is room for probably 13 more, Niedrach said.
The mental health court is an accountability court, like a drug court, where the participants receive treatment and supervision.
The goal of the court is to improve public safety, improve the response to mental health issues and save tax dollars spent on incarceration and use them in a more effective manner — meaning treatment and supervision. “It’s a win-win for those involved,” he stated.
Hopefully the education the participants receive will stick with them for the rest of their lives, Niedrach added.