The blog.

2
Dec

Columbia County Commission race to be decided in Tuesday runoff | The Augusta Chronicle

Neither man in the race for the Columbia County Com­mis­sion in District 3 is expecting a lot of voters to show up at the polls today, but both hope the few who do will be their supporters.

The runoff between Trip Derry­berry and Mack Taylor is the only race on today’s ballot. The seat has been vacant since March, when Charles Allen resigned.

Both candidates said they have been trying to make contact with as many voters as possible since the Nov. 4 election, which whittled down the field from four.

via Columbia County Commission race to be decided in Tuesday runoff | The Augusta Chronicle.

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.”

2
Dec

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for December 2, 2014

Raleigh

Raleigh is a young, medium-sized male Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Faithful Hearts Animal Shelter Inc. in Eastman, GA.

Dottie

Dottie is a young female Jack Russell Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Faithful Hearts Animal Shelter Inc. in Eastman, GA.

Willow

Willow is a young female Dachshund mix who is available for adoption from Faithful Hearts Animal Shelter Inc. in Eastman, GA.

1
Dec

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland: New EPA Regulations Threaten Manufacturing and Power Plants

Your Washington – GA 3 – Desk

From Congressman Lynn Westmoreland

Cap Lyn

New EPA Regulations Threaten Manufacturing and Power Plants

“Made in America”: it’s something our nation is proud to stamp onto our produced goods. However, with the Obama Administration and Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) newest regulation proposals, that tagline might become too costly for our manufacturers and plants.

In the president’s latest climate change push, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) said these new set of regulations targeting air quality could “be the most expensive ever.” The proposed regulation would attempt to limit smog-creating ozone pollution to a range of 60 to 70 parts per billion after 2020 from power plants and factories: both of which are abundant in Georgia and provide invaluable jobs in a recovering economy. Our nation’s current range, set by President George W. Bush, sits at 75 parts per billion. Back in July, NAM estimated that implementing a strict version of the rule could kill off $3.4 trillion in economic output and 2.9 million jobs by 2040. A high price to pay for small change.Continue Reading..

1
Dec

Randy Evans – The Evans Report: Why Johnny Isakson Announced His Re-election Bid Early

Your Georgia Desk

From Randy Evans – The Evans Report 

Evans Report Logo

Why Johnny Isakson announced his re-election bid early

Less than two weeks after the 2014 General Election, Georgia’s soon to be “senior” senator, Johnny Isakson, announced on Nov. 17 that he would seek reelection to the U.S. Senate. His goal: get out early and leave no doubt that he will seek re-election in 2016.

Republican Senator Isakson will be seeking his third term in the U.S. Senate. He was first elected to the Senate in 2004 (winning the seat left open by the retirement of Zell Miller). In a legislative body that places a hefty premium on seniority, he will become Georgia’s senior senator when the 114th Congress convenes in January 2015.

Notably, Georgia’s current senior senator, Saxby Chambliss, also initially announced at the beginning of the last election cycle that he would be seeking re-election. But, after rumblings of a GOP primary challenge by some formidable opponents, combined with the anticipated targeting of Georgia’s Senate seat by national Democrats, Chambliss decided to retire. Republican Senator-elect David Perdue won his seat.

Yet, the political landscape is much different today than it was in 2012 when Chambliss was making his decisions. As a start, Isakson is assured of serving in a GOP majority in the Senate. With his tenure, this change in control means that Isakson will likely chair the Committee on Veterans Affairs in the 114th Congress.Continue Reading..

1
Dec

Under Pressure From Uber, Taxi Medallion Prices Are Plummeting – NYTimes.com

n major cities throughout the United States, taxi medallion prices are tumbling as taxis face competition from car-service apps like Uber and Lyft.

The average price of an individual New York City taxi medallion fell to $872,000 in October, down 17 percent from a peak reached in the spring of 2013, according to an analysis of sales data. Previous figures published by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission — showing flat prices — appear to have been incorrect, and the commission removed them from its website after an inquiry from The New York Times.

In other big cities, medallion prices are also falling, often in conjunction with a sharp decline in sales volume. In Chicago, prices are down 17 percent. In Boston, they’re down at least 20 percent, though it’s hard to establish an exact market price because there have been only five trades since July. In Philadelphia, the taxi authority recently failed to sell any medallions at its asking price of $475,000; it will try again, at $350,000.

via Under Pressure From Uber, Taxi Medallion Prices Are Plummeting – NYTimes.com.

1
Dec

Hispanic Voters Are Important for Republicans, but Not Indispensable – NYTimes.com

President Obama’s plan to defer deportation and grant work permits for up to five million undocumented migrants is having two utterly predictable results: outrage from congressional Republicans, and speculation about how the politics will play in 2016.

The country’s growing Hispanic population was widely credited with tipping Mr. Obama’s re-election in 2012. Just about every post-2012 analysis found that the Republicans needed to do better among Hispanic voters in 2016. Whether politicians agree with that assessment might shape their reaction to Mr. Obama’s decision, and might even underlie Mr. Obama’s decision itself.

Yet a close look at demographic data and recent election results suggest that the Republicans do not necessarily need significant gains among Hispanic voters to win the presidency. Yes, the next Republican presidential candidate will be making a big gamble if he or she doesn’t make meaningful gains among Hispanic voters, especially in Florida. But the Hispanic vote cannot single-handedly determine the presidency, as one could be forgiven for believing based on post-2012 election commentary.

via Hispanic Voters Are Important for Republicans, but Not Indispensable – NYTimes.com.

1
Dec

Special Election called for State House District 120

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.

All persons who are not registered to vote and who desire to vote in the special election must register to vote before the close of business on December 8, 2014. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 6, 2015.

via call for special election in state house of representatives district 120.

1
Dec

A Facebook Change Makes It Harder for Political Campaigns to See Your Friends – NYTimes.com

When you log in to a politician’s Facebook app, the campaign enjoys relatively easy access to your friends on the social network. But starting next year, that automatic access will go away.

That may provide users with some relief from unwanted messages. It will certainly help Facebook respond to complaints that it shares too much of its users’ information without their consent. But it also could lead to more campaigns advertising on the platform, which is good for the company’s bottom line.

President Obama’s 2012 campaign used Facebook to create a list of 1 million people; users who signed into its website via Facebook used the campaign’s custom app to do so. They were then asked to authorize the campaign to access information about all of their Facebook friends. When granted, the campaign could compare those users with existing voter files in order to help better define the voters it needed to reach. Now many political campaigns have their own Facebook apps, not just pages.

The change, which was detailed on Facebook’s site for web developers in April, means that beginning next May users of a campaign’s app will have to explicitly authorize access to their friends. But even when they do, the campaign will only see those friends who have also signed into the campaign’s app. Additionally, Facebook users will be able to log in to apps anonymously (they would still be logged into Facebook, but the app would not have access to any specific user information). Those options will limit the scope of people to whom campaigns will have automatic access, although it still gives political operatives a way to gain access to the broader list of Facebook friends. It will just take more work and money.

via A Facebook Change Makes It Harder for Political Campaigns to See Your Friends – NYTimes.com.

1
Dec

G.O.P. Gains by Tapping Democrats’ Base for State Candidates – NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — As Republicans took control of an unprecedented 69 of 99 statehouse chambers in the midterm elections, they did not rely solely on a bench of older white men. Key races hinged on the strategic recruitment of women and minorities, many of them first-time candidates who are now learning the ropes and joining the pool of prospects for higher office.

Of the 12 Latinos who will serve in statewide offices across the nation in 2015, eight are Republican.

“This is not just rhetoric — we spent over $6 million to identify new women and new candidates of diversity and bring them in,” said Matt Walter, the executive director of the Republican State Leadership Committee. “Most of these chambers were flipped because there was a woman or a person of diverse ethnicity in a key targeted seat.”

The wins, by candidates carefully chosen to challenge the traditional notion of the Democratic base, bode well for Republicans in future elections. They had a net gain of 59 women in state legislatures; Democrats lost 63 women. Republicans added 10 Latinos; Democrats lost five. Republicans reported 17 newly elected blacks; a comparable figure for Democrats was not available. In 2008, only about 31 percent of women in state legislatures were Republicans; in 2015, that figure will rise by eight percentage points.

via G.O.P. Gains by Tapping Democrats’ Base for State Candidates – NYTimes.com.