ATLANTA — Georgia will make history in November. For the first time in the state and nation, five African-American women will be on a statewide ballot.
These candidates include Doreen Carter for secretary of state, Liz Johnson for insurance commissioner, Robbin Shipp for labor commissioner, Connie Stokes for lieutenant governor and Valarie Wilson for school superintendent.
Wilson won her nomination the previous day in a runoff against another black woman, Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan of Austell.
The Democratic ticket also includes Senate candidate Michelle Nunn. Nunn and Libertarian Amanda Swafford, both white women, will face Republican David Perdue in November’s Senate race.
“Never before in the history of Georgia or the nation has there been five African-American women on a ballot statewide,” said Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler, D-Lithonia. “So, we did not want to miss the opportunity to get out and announce this to everyone in the state of Georgia and tell everyone how important this election will be in November.”
The Savannah City Council may have to adjust its budget for projects being funded by the current 1 percent sales tax.
Chief Financial Officer David Maxwell told the mayor and aldermen during a workshop Thursday morning that the latest projections show collections of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax are expected to come in $5 million short when it expires in September.
About $117 million is expected to be raised by the tax that began in 2008, down from the previous estimate that projected almost $122 million in revenue.
Maxwell attributed the shortfall to reductions in the tax base caused by a state law that went into effect this year that removed sales taxes on new cars and energy used for manufacturing.
A June report in which the Savannah River fared poorly was re-examined at Thursday’s City Council workshop in Savannah.
Called “Wasting Our Waterways,” the report was released by Environment America, a federation of state-based environmental advocacy organizations. Using publicly available data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the report compiled — by river and by state — the amount of chemicals industries around the country reported they had legally released into waterways in 2012.
The middle portion of the Savannah River, from Lake Hartwell to below Augusta, was listed as receiving the third highest amount of these chemicals by weight, a total of more than 5 million pounds.
That distinction does not necessarily equate to the “third most toxic river,” as was reported in a June 27 article in the Savannah Morning News, said John Sawyer, who heads the city’s public works and water resources bureau and who gave the brief presentation at the request of City Manager Stephanie Cutter.
A pair of stray Savannah dogs that have gained national online media attention over the past few days may have found a new home.
Joanie the pit bull mix and her little buddy Chachi, the long-haired chihuahua mix, could be headed to a home in Florida in a few weeks, the Savannah-Chatham police department announced Wednesday.
The pair were told of their new home Wednesday afternoon and were “elated,” according to a post on the department’s Facebook page.
The unusual pairing — 8-pound Chihuahua mix Chachi and 65-pound Joanie, who carries the smaller guy around in her mouth — went up for adoption last week, and staffers
at the police department’s Animal Control shelter had been hoping to find a home where the duo could live together.
Georgia Republicans picked their Senate nominee Tuesday night. Former corporate CEO David Perdue will face Democrat Michelle Nunn in the November general election.
Nunn, the daughter of a popular former senator, is among several Democratic female candidates who are showing strength as the party tries to preserve its Senate majority. She’s also considered a real contender to turn the Georgia seat Democratic.
Nunn has taken advantage of the Republicans’ late runoff date, which gave her time to raise money for November, says Justin Barasky, press secretary for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in Washington.
The GOP “will be in a pretty bad financial position,” Barasky says. “Meanwhile, Michelle Nunn has built her organization and her cash-on-hand advantage to a really strong place.”
Thirty-three Senate seats are up in November. Georgia is one of just two states where Democrats might pick up a Republican seat. The other is Kentucky, where Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
SMYRNA — Residents of Smyrna will not see their taxes increase in the coming year after the City Council approved keeping the city’s millage rate the same this week.
Smyrna’s millage rate will stay at 8.99 mills after a 4-2 vote, with Wade Lnenicka and Susan Wilkinson opposed. Councilman Charles Welch was absent from the Monday meeting.
Lnenicka said he opposed the millage rate vote because he wanted to lower the millage rate to 8.90. He said Smyrna’s tax digest showed it had received more money in the last year than in previous years.
“I just thought because the tax digest went up that we should lower the millage rate and give that money back to the taxpayers,” Lnenicka said.
MARIETTA — The dust has settled, and the winners of the runoff elections have been crowned. So why did the elections shake out the way they did?
Political experts in Cobb pointed to a variety of factors, including name recognition, endorsements and a strong ground game, as the reason some candidates succeed while others did not.
Some pundits predicted the results of the race for a seat on the Cobb Board of Education, but were surprised by how one-sided the election was as Susan Thayer defeated incumbent Tim Stultz by a significant margin; Thayer received 3,030 votes, or 70 percent, while Stultz took home only 1,271, or 30 percent.
“We thought all along she would win,” said Tana Page, executive director of the Georgia teacher’s organization Educators First. “We were rather surprised at the margin … that she won by.”
Page added the results show voters overwhelmingly want new representation.
“She is a fresh face on the board, and I think that was what the public wanted and what educators probably wanted,” she said. “We were ready for a change. We did not think Mr. Stultz … was open to hearing a lot of the concerns that are faced by educators.”
A typically hard-fought primary season has finally drawn to a close thanks to Tuesday’s balloting to cap the nine-week long runoff period.
We congratulate the local winners (11th District Congressman-elect Barry Loudermilk, Cobb Commission District 1 GOP nominee Bob Weatherford, Cobb school board member-elect Susan Thayer and Cobb Superior judge-elect Ann Harris) and console the losers.
We also congratulate businessman David Perdue, who eked out a hair’s-breadth victory over fellow Republican Jack Kingston in the state GOP senatorial primary. Perdue spent more than $3 million of his own money in his pursuit of the nomination.
Job 1 for Georgia Republicans at this point is to begin healing their fractured party. And Kingston took a big step in that direction on election night, pledging in no uncertain terms to help Perdue win this fall.
And as former Georgia Party Chairwoman Sue Everhart of east Cobb said, “Republicans will do what they usually do. The ones that it really didn’t matter, who said ‘I like Jack better,’ they will be just as enthused for Perdue. Then there will be those of us that say any Republican is better than no Republican.”
Perdue’s foe this fall will be Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn of Atlanta.
ATHENS, Ga. — New Republican nominee David Perdue and Democratic opponent Michelle Nunn used the first day of the general election campaign to retool the “outsider” arguments they’ve used to reach this point in a race that will help determine who controls the Senate for the final years of the Obama administration.
Their first targets: each other’s private sector experience.
Perdue was a journeyman corporate CEO; Nunn is a nonprofit executive on leave. Neither has held public office, making Georgia’s Senate race the only one in the country to feature two self-styled “outsiders” who now must find other distinctions to capitalize on voter discontent.
“I do think that our records are very different,” Nunn told reporters in Athens, a liberal enclave that is home to the University of Georgia.
Nunn, 47, is on a leave of absence as CEO of Republican former President George H.W. Bush’s Points of Light foundation, which coordinates various volunteer efforts.
“My record, obviously, is around building communities, lifting people up, trying to make a difference, working in collaboration with folks from the other side,” she said in offering a more muted version of earlier criticism from Perdue’s primary rivals who noted that he presided over layoffs and outsourcing.
Perdue, 64, downplayed Nunn’s resume as inferior to his.
“My issue isn’t so much how she ran that organization,” he said in a Wednesday interview. “It’s just that that leadership does not prepare you, in my mind, to deal with issues we have in a free-enterprise system. I want to focus on why my background is more appropriate to lead in the Senate in regard to bringing economic and free-enterprise solutions to fix the problems that we have with the economy today.”
The American people claim they really, really hate Congress. We’re a little skeptical.
Want proof? According to a new Pew Research Center poll of voter attitudes, 69 percent of people would like to see most members of Congress sent packing in the 2014 election. That’s up 13 points since the last midterm in 2010. And … wow.
When it comes to their own members, though, only 36 percent say the same. That’s up just two points from four years ago and not much higher than in 2006. Clearly, people aren’t lining up to toss their baby out with the bathwater.