Category: Polling Report

2
Dec

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 2, 2014

John Wesley left Savannah on December 2, 1737.

John Wesley’s strict discipline as rector of Christ Church in Savannah irritated his parishioners. More trouble followed when he fell in love with Sophia Hopkey, the niece of Georgia’s chief magistrate. When she married another man, Wesley banned her from Holy Communion, damaging her reputation in the community.

His successful romantic rival sued him; but Wesley refused to recognize the authority of the court, and the man who would eventually found a major Protestant denomination in America left Georgia in disgrace on December 2, 1737

Touro Synagogue, the oldest existing synagogue in the United States, was dedicated on December 2, 1763 in Newport, Rhode Island.

The Skirmish at Rocky Creek Church took place near Waynesboro, Georgia on December 2, 1864.

Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former State Senator Bob Guhl has died and his memorial service will be at First Baptist Church in Monroe on Saturday, December. 6 at 10:00 AM.  Visitation/reception following in fellowship hall.  Private interment with full military honors at Georgia National Cemetery in Canton at a later date.

Senator Guhl was first elected from District 45 (Walton County and parts of Barrow, Newton and Rockdale Counties) in a special election in the spring of 1993 and served until he was placed in a district with fellow Republican Mike Crotts in 2002.

Guhl was the first Republican elected to the DeKalb County Commission, serving from 1969-1972 and served as Chairman and CEO of the County from 1973-1976.

Guhl’s campaigns against DeKalb Democrat and bar owner Manuel Maloof were legendary:

Richard Nixon’s victory over George McGovern in 1972 seemed a foregone conclusion, and no DeKalb Democrat would risk running on the party ticket for a commissioner post that was up that year. Mr. Maloof talked to “about 150 people,” he estimated, trying to get them to enter the race. Minutes before filing deadline, Mr. Maloof himself became a candidate.

During the campaign, he and incumbent A.C. “Bob” Guhl, DeKalb’s first Republican commissioner and the man whose face Mr. Maloof slapped on a tavern toilet seat, swapped insults.

Retired Bibb County Superior Court Judge George B. Culpepper, III has also died and his funeral is today at 11 AM at Fort Valley United Methodist Church.

Today is election day in parts of DeKalb County, Columbia County, and the City of McRae-Helena. Polls are open from 7 AM to 7 PM.

Somehow, yesterday, I neglected to mention that Dodge County is holding a runoff election today for Probate Judge.

Al McCranie and Jody Batts will face off in the Tuesday, December 2 runoff election, as they received the two highest vote totals.
With all precincts reporting, but unofficial totals, Al McCranie received 2554 votes (or 49.43 percent), Jody Batts received 1372 votes (or 26.55 percent) and Blake Roland received 1232 votes (or 23.84 percent).

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has called a Special Election in State House District 120, where incumbent Mickey Channell (R) has announced he will retire for health reasons.

Notice is hereby given that a special election shall be held in Greene, Oglethorpe, Putnam, Taliaferro and Wilkes Counties to fill the vacancy in District 120 of the State House of Representatives on January 6, 2015. A run-off election, if needed, shall be held on February 3, 2015.

Qualifying for the special election shall be held in the Elections Division of the Office of Secretary of State, 802 West Tower, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30334. The dates and hours of qualifying will be Monday, December 8, 2014 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m.; Tuesday, December 9, 2014 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m.; and Wednesday, December 10, 2014 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 12 o’clock noon. The qualifying fee shall be $400 for the office.

Oglethorpe County businessman Jesse Johnson is the first announced candidate in the special election for HD 120.

Oglethorpe County Businessman, Jesse Johnson, owner of Southern Land Exchange and Southern Timberland Consultants announced that he is a Republican candidate for State House in Georgia’s 120th District.

He issued this statement:”My heart and my roots are in Georgia’s 120th District.  I care about the families, businesses, and farms of this district and their futures.  I am committed to getting this region’s economy growing again.  Unrestrained spending, overburdensome regulation, and high levels of unemployment cannot be the new norm.  We must reduce taxes, support the businesses that drive the economy in this part of the state, and pass state funded school choice.”

As a member of the Georgia Forestry Association and the Greene/Morgan Forest Landowners Association, I have met with and done business with people across this district.  From the sportsmen and the farmers, to the boaters and the business owners, the people of this district want the government out of their pockets and off their backs.  I am a conservative businessman who will keep the state government in its proper place, and I will fight to get the federal government out of our way.

Jesse Johnson is a member of the Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau, Athens Area Association of Realtors, Oglethorpe County Rotary Club, and is a former board member of The Sparrow’s Nest, an Athens based charity.  He attends Athens Church where he serves visiting guest.

The sentencing of former DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer on federal charges of official corruption has been delayed, likely until February.

The State House DeKalb County Cityhood Subcommittee will meet on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 from 1-2:30 PM in Room 506 of the State Capitol.

At this meeting the committee will hear testimony from representatives from the Tucker and LaVista Hills cityhood organizations. Following the testimony, the committee will take public comment.

The panel was created after LaVista Hills and Tucker were unable to come up with boundary lines by a Nov. 15 deadline.

Also Wednesday, at 1 PM, the Study Committee on Prescription Medical Cannabis for Serious Medical Conditions will meet in Room 341 of the State Capitol.

Finally, on Thursday, December 4, the Film & Post Production Study Committee will meet in Savannah at SCAD, Poetter Hall/May Poetter Gallery on the 2d floor.

Georgia Medicaid Director Jerry Dubberly will leave his job effective January 2, 2015, according to Georgia Health News.

As Medicaid chief, Dubberly oversees the services for about 1.9 million Georgians in Medicaid and PeachCare, with a state budget of more than $2.5 billion.

The Department of Community Health said in an email statement to GHN that Commissioner Clyde Reese is working on filling the vacancy.

As Medicaid chief, Dubberly oversees the services for about 1.9 million Georgians in Medicaid and PeachCare, with a state budget of more than $2.5 billion. – See more at: http://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2014/12/state-medicaid-chief-stepping/#sthash.UVUyXrau.dpuf

As Medicaid chief, Dubberly oversees the services for about 1.9 million Georgians in Medicaid and PeachCare, with a state budget of more than $2.5 billion.

Dubberly could not be reached for comment.

The Department of Community Health said in an email statement to GHN that Commissioner Clyde Reese is working on filling the vacancy.

It’s difficult to find someone to do the job well, experts say.

The Medicaid chief must deal with various sectors of health care, including hospitals, physicians and nursing homes, as well as consumers and their advocates and state lawmakers. The directors also must deal with pressure on spending.

- See more at: http://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2014/12/state-medicaid-chief-stepping/#sthash.UVUyXrau.dpuf

As Medicaid chief, Dubberly oversees the services for about 1.9 million Georgians in Medicaid and PeachCare, with a state budget of more than $2.5 billion.

Dubberly could not be reached for comment.

The Department of Community Health said in an email statement to GHN that Commissioner Clyde Reese is working on filling the vacancy.

It’s difficult to find someone to do the job well, experts say.

The Medicaid chief must deal with various sectors of health care, including hospitals, physicians and nursing homes, as well as consumers and their advocates and state lawmakers. The directors also must deal with pressure on spending.

- See more at: http://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2014/12/state-medicaid-chief-stepping/#sthash.UVUyXrau.dpuf

Inaugural Details Released

IMG_4070.JPG

Yesterday, Governor Deal’s Inaugural Committee released details of the weekend-long festivities.

We will be kicking off the commemoration with the statewide day of service. In 2011, First Lady Sandra Deal launched “With A Servant’s Heart” as a part of the Governor’s first inaugural. The Deals’ have continued to lead this tradition each year. Giving back to the community is a priority to their family, and Governor Deal and The First Lady encourage you to participate alongside them at this year’s event.
The inaugural agenda will also include a prayer service, the swearing-in ceremony, and a gala with special musical guests.

Schedule of Events

With a Servant’s Heart – Jan. 10, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
City of Refuge, 1300 Joseph E. Boone Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30314
Open to the public (multiple statewide locations to be announced)

Prayer Service – January 12 at 9 a.m.
Mt. Paran Church, 2055 Mt. Paran Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30327
Open to the public

Swearing-in ceremony – January 12 at 2 p.m.
Liberty Plaza, Capitol Ave SW, Atlanta, GA 30334
Open to the public

Inaugural Gala
More details to come

For more information, you can visit the Inaugural website.

How Pollster John McLaughlin predicted the Governor’s race

Today, a piece I wrote about how Governor Deal’s pollster, John McLaughlin, correctly predicted the election results more than a week out appears in TownHall.com. More than just how he made the prediction, I wrote about the role of the campaign pollster and how it differs from that of media pollsters. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read it.

During the active phase of the campaign, McLaughlin was polling more frequently and more deeply than media pollsters.

“We’re asking many more questions than you see in media polls – well beyond who’s winning and demographics, we’re asking what ads they’re seeing, what issues are important. We’re looking at the level of polarization in the electorate, and over time, as the undecided numbers dwindle, how the undecideds are breaking for one candidate or another, as well as what the early voters are doing,” said McLaughlin.

“In our last survey, a week before the election and following a period of weekly four-days-a-week tracking, our sample was 64% white 29% African-American. Fifty-one percent of undecided voters were white and 41% were African-American, and Governor Deal was still below 50%” said McLaughlin.

“But, among whites who had decided, Governor Deal received 71% and he was getting 10 percent among African-Americans. When we factored in those ratios to the undecided voters, we came to a 52-44 prediction.”

7
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 7, 2014

Georgia and American History

Georgia Governor Joseph Brown addressed the Georgia legislature calling on them to consider Georgia’s future on November 7, 1860, the day after Abraham Lincoln’s election as President.

Jeanette Rankin was elected to Congress, the first female Member, on November 7, 1916 from Montana. After leaving Congress, Rankin moved to Watkinsville, Georgia in 1925. The Jeanette Rankin Scholarship Foundation, based in Athens, Georgia provides college scholarships and support for low-income women 35 and older.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to a record fourth term on November 7, 1944.

Democrat Sam Nunn was reelected to the United States Senate on November 7, 1978.

On November 7, 1989, David Dinkins was elected the first African-American Mayor of New York and Douglas Wilder was elected the first African-American Governor of Virginia.

On November 7, 2006, Georgia reelected its first Republican Governor since Reconstruction, Sonny Perdue, and elected its first GOP Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle.

Georgia Politics – Seven Things You Should Know

1. Welcome to the 2016 and 2018 election cycles. Several months ago, when I first started saying that the 2014 Georgia elections were partly about jockeying for position in the 2016 Presidential race, it was a novel idea. But after campaign visits by Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie (2x), and Rand Paul, it is clear that Georgia will play an important role in the Presidential election.Continue Reading..

23
Oct

Nunn leads Senate race; Deal and Carter tied | The Augusta Chronicle

The Augusta Chronicle story has changed and now reads:

Pollsters weighted the responses to reflect an anticipated turnout in which 30 percent of the voters are black and 55 percent are female.

Assuming that 37% of voters in November will be African-American is either delusional, or the results were weighted to put the Senate and Governor’s races smack in the middle of what everyone else’s says. This is what FiveThirtyEight refers to as “herding.” Why would they do this?

Herding is the tendency of some polling firms to be influenced by others when issuing poll results. A pollster might want to avoid publishing a poll if it perceives that poll to be an outlier. Or it might have a poor methodology and make ad hoc adjustments so that its poll is more in line with a stronger one.

There’s a reason the polling firm here is among the very lowest-rated by Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.

The closer the election gets, the harder it is to tell who is going to win, according to a poll released today showing the races for governor and the Senate effectively tied.

Democrat Michelle Nunn’s 47 percent gives her a slight lead in the Senate race over Republican David Perdue’s 45 percent, but the survey’s 4 percent margin of error means they’re statistically in a dead heat less than two weeks before Election Day. Libertarian Amanda Swafford’s 4 percent could trigger a January runoff by preventing Nunn from getting a majority. Another 4 percent haven’t made up their minds yet.

In the contest for governor, Republican Nathan Deal and Democrat Jason Carter each command 44 percent while Libertarian Andrew Hunt is taking 5 percent. Eight percent of those surveyed were still mulling over the choices.

The poll of 704 general-election voters was conducted by automated questionnaires via cellphone and landline Tuesday and Wednesday by InsiderAdvantage and Opinion Savvy on behalf of Morris News Service and Fox5. Pollsters weighted the responses to reflect an anticipated turnout where 37 percent of the voters are black and 55 percent are female.

via Nunn leads Senate race; Deal and Carter tied | The Augusta Chronicle.

22
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 22, 2014

James Oglethorpe of Georgia signed a treaty with Florida’s Spanish government on October 22, 1736 that is commemorated each year with a very large cocktail party.

On October 22, 1832, the Cherokee Land Lottery began in which the Georgia state government gave away millions of acres of land in 160-acre and 40-acre parcels.

Governor John B. Gordon signed legislation changing the number of Georgia Supreme Court Justices from three to five on October 22, 1887

President Grover Cleveland arrived in Atlanta aboard the Southern Railway to tour the Cotton States and International Expo on October 22, 1895.

Grover Cleveland Atlanta

Four-hundred thirty-three Atlantans were poisoned by bad moonshine on October 21, 1951.

President John F. Kennedy announced the American naval blockade of Cuba after spy planes photographed Soviet missiles on the island 90 miles off the coast of the United States.

The third and final debate between Jimmy Carter and President Gerald Ford was held on October 22, 1976 at Williamsburg, Virginia.

The Atlanta Braves won the first World Series baseball game played outside the United States on October 22, 1992, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 with pitcher John Smoltz starting for the Braves.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Democratic Race-Baiting

Ferguson Mailer

The Georgia Democratic Party is engaged in vicious race-baiting in a divide and conquer strategy to drive African-American voters to the polls. The above photo originated, I believe, from an AJC scan, but has been traveling across the internet for 24 hours. Continue Reading..

15
Oct

Newest Survey USA Poll – a look under the hood.

Here’s the bottom line on my analysis: The major change from the last SUSA and this are that Independents were breaking 3:2 for Deal and Perdue, but this poll shows them 40-37 Deal and 43-37 Perdue.

Here’s the old Survey USA Governor and Senate by ideology

                          Independent

Deal                    45
Carter                 29
Hunt                   16
Undecided          9

Independent
Perdue                49
Nunn                   31
Swafford              8
Undecided         12

Here’s the new Survey USA Governor and Senate by ideology

                       Independent
Deal                    40
Carter                 37
Hunt                   13
Undecided         11

Independent
Perdue               43
Nunn                 37
Swafford            9
Undecided        11

Hispanic and Asian are too high at 7 and 5 respectively. All “other” than black or white is usually around 8-9% total. That undoubtedly includes some “white” and “black” as well.

NB: When looking at subsample, your margin of error rises, sometimes dramatically so.

 

 

13
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 13, 2014

Former Confederate President Alexander Stephens was released from federal prison on October 12, 1865 and returned to Georgia.

On October 13, 1870, Governor Rufus Bullock signed legislation creating the Georgia State Board of Education.

On October 13, 1885, Governor Henry McDaniel signed legislation authorizing the creation of a state school of technology as a branch of the University of Georgia; the school would open in Atlanta in October 1888, and in 1948 was renamed the Georgia Institute of Technology.

On October 13, 1918, the ban on public gatherings in Atlanta to prevent spread of the Spanish flu, was extended an additional week.

1929 UGA vs Yale Tix

The first game in Sanford Stadium was played on October 12, 1929, with the University of Georgia Bulldogs beating the Yale Bulldogs. Here is the first ten minutes of the game.

1929_Georgia_vs_Yale

On October 12, 1958, The Temple was bombed after a phone call to WSB warned that Black churches and Jewish temples would be blown up.

Democrat Jimmy Carter received a post-debate bump against President Gerald Ford, with polls showing Carter at 50%-40% over the incumbent, up from 47%-45% before the debate.

Former President Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on October 11, 2002, becoming the second native Georgian to win the award, with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., having won in 1964.

DeKalb Jurors fight like politicians

The latest political soap opera in DeKalb County is not the behavior of politicians, but of voters. Specifically the dozen or so who were chosen to serve on the jury in the trial of suspended CEO Burrell Ellis.Continue Reading..

22
Sep

Can you trust the unemployment rate? | www.myajc.com

To calculate the unemployment rate, the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics takes samples of nearly 60,000 households. They are surveyed monthly for four consecutive months, left alone for eight months and then surveyed again monthly for the next four months.

That means that in each month, there are eight “rotation groups,” each of them intended to be representative of the population. The government then weights the groups to come up with an official unemployment rate.

So that weighting has a large effect on the result.

Krueger and his collaborators found that during the first half of 2014, the unemployment rate among people in the first month of being interviewed was 7.5 percent. However, for those in the final month of being interviewed, it was only 6.1 percent.

But the Bureau of Labor Statistics weighted the first interview more heavily, so the official unemployment rate for this period was 6.5 percent.

via Can you trust the unemployment rate? | www.myajc.com.

16
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 16, 2014

The Mayflower left Plymouth, England, for the New World on September 16, 1620. Thirty-five of 102 passengers were members of the English Separatist Church seeking religious freedom from the Church of England. Originally aiming to reach Virginia, Mayflower eventually landed at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

A single pistol shot on September 16, 1920 opened former Cherokee land in Oklahoma to white settlers in a “land run” to claim property.

The original stimulus act was announced to bring $70 million in federal money to Georgia to build roads and public buildings on September 16, 1933.

On September 16, 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Selective Service and Training Act requiring males 26-35 years of age to register for the draft.

R.E.M. and Gregg Allman were among the inductees into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 16, 2006.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Barack Obama is scheduled to arrive in Atlanta at 1:55 PM today. Here’s his schedule:Continue Reading..

13
Sep

WSB-TV reviews the polls in #GaSen, Governor’s race

27
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 27, 2014

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.

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.”

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, 1966. 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.

Elaine Boyer indicted

A day after she resigned from the DeKalb County Commission, federal wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud charges were filed against Elaine Boyer.

The information charges Boyer with participating since at least September 2009 in a scheme to defraud the county by submitting false invoices for consulting services that were supposedly performed by an unnamed adviser whom Boyer had hired to assist her with her public duties.

According to the information, for at least two years invoices were submitted to Boyer’s office for the adviser’s consulting services, but no such services were performed. Boyer used the invoices to authorize payments—and mail 35 checks totaling more than $78,000—to the adviser who, the information said, funneled about 75 percent of the funds, an estimated $58,000, into Boyer’s personal bank account.

Boyer then used the money to pay personal expenses, including purchases at hotels and high-end department stores, the information said.

The criminal information also charges Boyer with using a county-issued Visa purchasing card, which was intended for county-related purchases, to make more than 50 personal purchases totaling more than $15,000 that included airline tickets and hotel rooms for personal travel for herself and her family.

United States Attorney Sally Q. Yates said she intends to ask for prison time.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the consultant in questions is likely Marion Rooks Boynton.

[A]n Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation that began months ago found that only one consultant received those kinds of payments from Boyer.

It’s Marion Rooks Boynton, a 72-year-old evangelist who ran unsuccessfully for DeKalb County offices 30 years ago. In recent weeks, the AJC had been asking Boyer for proof of the work Boynton had performed.

She could produce none.

Tuesday afternoon, Boyer told a federal magistrate judge she will plead guilty to a mail fraud charge in connection with that scheme. Boynton has not been charged.

Boyer also plans to plead guilty to another scheme first revealed in the AJC in March: using her county purchasing card to pay for personal expenses.

It is my personal hope that Nancy Jester will run for DeKalb County Commission to fill the seat vacated when Boyer resigned. During her service on the DeKalb County Board of Education, Nancy Jester uncovered millions of dollars in fraud, and sacrificed her political career on the School Board to bring the fraud to light. DeKalb County deserves an honest, principled public servant, not another political hack with ties to Elaine Boyer.

More on Polling

Yesterday, I wrote about a difference between the recent poll released by Landmark Communications, and those by other polling firms.

The Landmark poll projects a 29% ‘black vote.’  Frankly, anywhere from 28% to 30% would be reasonable, but we believe 26% is too low and has caused other polls to incorrectly display higher support for Republican candidates at this stage of the election.

The Republican National Committee apparently wrote to a member of the RNC from Georgia:

Having said that the poll you site does have African American turnout #’s at 29%. That is about 4 pts higher than the historic average but I don’t know that it is impossible.

So, there seems to be a difference in opinion on the historic figures for African-American turnout as a percentage of all voters. The difference between the RNC’s 2010 figure or 25% and Landmark’s 2010 figure of 28.5% is very significant in this setting.

It might be correct that an historic average of the percentage of Georgia voters in a General Election who are African-American is 25%, but that’s the wrong number to use as a predictor for 2012 turnout. The clear trend among the Georgia electorate is rising African-American turnout. Additionally, as Mark Rountree of Landmark Communications pointed out,

Since 2010, there have been 925,000 newly registered voters (net) in Georgia. Based on voting behavior by all demographic groups, this registration has added approximately 200,000 net new behaviorally Democratic voters to Georgia’s voting rolls. This means approximately 50,000 net registered voters added each year to the voting rolls in Georgia since the 2010 election.

The most relevant actual numbers are from the 2010 General Election, in which at least 28.29% of voters were African-American, and the 2012 General Eleciton, in which at least 29.89% of voters were African-American. On that basis, I’d say that if your pollster is using 25% as the percentage of the 2014 General Election that is likely to be African-American voters, they’re clearly wrong, essentially more than doubling the margin of error.

Here are three fundamental facts to understand when you’re looking at polling:

1.) the nature of polling is such that you can be wrong in the weighting and still have numbers that accurately represent the state of the electorate

2.) you can have everything absolutely correct methodologically and still be dead wrong on the numbers that count – the margin of error you read about whenever you see a poll is calculated at the 95% confidence interval, meaning that one in 20 polls will be outside the margin of error. Another word for “outside the margin of error” is “dead wrong.” Read that again – 1 in 20 polls is wrong.

3.) a single poll, even if absolutely correct, is a reflection of a point in time, and not a predictor of the future.

Governor Deal in Braselton

Governor Deal Braselton

Yesterday, Governor Nathan Deal spoke to a lunch held by the Jackson County Republican Party in Braselton, Georgia. Lunch was catered by Higher Grounds Coffee House, a very nice shop that I’ll visit again when in Braselton. Second from the right, next to Gov. Deal is Jackson County Sheriff Janis Mangum.

I’ll listen to the recording later today and see if I can pull out a couple segments to transcribe, but here’s what I took away from what Governor Deal said:

Voter turnout is absolutely critical, Republican voters must go to the polls….I’m afraid [changes in the primary schedule] may have desensitized people in this election cycle to the point where they just stay home, and we can’t afford to have that happen. Our base needs to turn out…. I would urge you to try and make sure that your family, and anybody you have any kind of contact or influence with, please stress to them the importance of this election.

Now this is a precursor to [2016], where we have a Presidential election. So, if Georgia shows any signs of vulnerability, then we are going to be deluged as a state that can no longer be counted on in the Republican column, and that has rather devastating effects for us, so we need to make sure that we do get the [voter] turnout this time.

Sam Olens notches a win for open government

Yesterday, Attorney General Sam Olens announced that his office prevailed in a lawsuit under the Open Records Act against the City of Cumming and Mayor Ford Gravitt.

Judge Adamson ordered the defendants to pay $12,000 in penalties, the highest amount possible under the law. Defendants have also been ordered to pay attorney’s fees in an amount to be determined at a later hearing.

“This ruling is a major victory for government transparency,” said Olens. “Georgians deserve a government that operates openly and honestly. The essence of our democracy is that elected officials are held accountable to the citizens and that citizens are allowed to exercise their rights granted by the First Amendment.”

At a Cumming City Council meeting on April 17, 2012, Mayor Gravitt demanded that citizen Nydia Tisdale cease filming the meeting and subsequently ordered her to leave the meeting. Ms. Tisdale returned to the meeting with another hand held camera and was again told to stop recording the meeting. Georgia’s Open Meetings Act expressly provides that visual and sound recording during open meetings shall be permitted.

“My office takes very seriously our responsibility to enforce the Open Meetings and Open Records Acts. The actions by the mayor in this circumstance were egregious, and it is essential that he be held responsible for his actions.”

Nydia Tisdale, who was ordered to stop video recording a public meeting was also at the center of the dispute this past weekend at an event held on private property, where she was arrested and charged with criminal trespass and obstruction.

Here’s the lesson for folks in politics: video recording devices are everywhere, and if you’re holding a public meeting at which candidates or elected officials are speaking, they will be recorded. In fact, the whole incident at Dawson County was recorded, and at least audio and photos are available. See, there’s this thing called an iPhone that combines a video recorder, audio recorder and camera.

If the candidates speaking this week had simply ignored Ms. Tisdale, there would be no issue. Instead, some well-meaning folks handed Gov. Deal’s opponent, Jason Carter, yet another stick with which to scourge our Republican Governor over something he and his campaign had nothing to do with.

The Democratic Party of Georgia, through spokesman Michael Smith, sent us word last night that they, too have seized on the issue. Smith coupled the reporter’s ouster with the GOP’s all-white ticket to try to make the case that Republicans are “rejecting huge swaths of the public.”

Said Smith: “They continue to alienate women, people of color, the LGBT community, and immigrants with hostile rhetoric and policies. Just this year, the Georgia Republican Party overwhelmingly rejected women and people of color on their Primary ballot. And now—in an apparent attempt to conceal what they say behind closed doors—it seems the GA GOP is purging itself of the press as well.”

This is nothing less than a political amateur hour blunder.

Pro-tip: the media can’t hold a circus if you don’t act like a clown.

Here’s a video shot a couple weeks ago by the lady who was forcibly removed from the Dawson County event. It’s well done and embarrasses no one. In fact, if I were one of the candidates in the video, I’d be grateful, and I’d be forwarding it to my friends and supporters to share with their friends and family.

Best of all, nobody embarrassed themselves or their fellow Republicans.

Professionals on-stage do not get flustered or distracted by video recordings, or even hecklers. They continue with their remarks, and for goodness sake, they don’t embarrass their Governor with whom they share a ticket in November.

Computer Programming as a foreign language

Earlier this week, Governor Deal announced that he is asking the State Board of Education to allow computer programming classes to satisfy part of the requirements for a high school diploma.

“Students need to acquire the 21st century skills necessary to thrive in the modern workforce,” Deal said. “Computing is currently one of the fastest growing occupations in the country with average salaries nearly twice the national rate. In fact, more than half of the projected job growth in the STEM fields will be in computing occupations. We must begin training our young people in these areas prior to their post-secondary education so they are prepared to fill these high-wage, in-demand positions.”

“This change will support our STEM efforts — science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “It is a recognition of the evolving dynamics of our increasingly technologically dependent world.”

“If Georgia is to maintain a world-class workforce, then we must ensure that our students can understand and apply sophisticated technology,” said Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Ron Jackson. “I applaud Governor Deal for this change that will improve the education of students and build a better future for Georgia.”

Currently, Georgia allows Advanced Placement Computer Science to satisfy the fourth and final science credit in high school. Only 18 percent of Georgia high schools offer this class and less than one percent of students took the course in 2013. Other coding courses can count only as elective credit and access to these courses is limited.

“I am working to keep Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation for business and we must have a strong education system that responds to the needs of companies across our state in order to do so,” Deal said. “Computer science should no longer be just a high school elective. With the help of strong partners like Georgia Tech, we can develop these valuable courses and better prepare our students for college and the workforce.”