Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 28, 2014

Lt. Colonel George Washington fought French and Indian scouts on May 28, 1754, beginning the Seven Years War.

On May 28, 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, requiring all Native Americans to relocate west of the Mississippi River.

The Battle of Dallas, Georgia began on May 28, 1864. Click here to watch Week 7 of the Georgia Public Broadcasting/Atlanta History Center series on the Civil War in Georgia.

Happy Birthday to Gladys Knight, born in Atlanta on May 28, 1944. Try some chicken and waffles and traditional Georgia side dishes if you’re downtown today.

Thursday through Sunday, if you visit the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, North Carolina, you’ll witness one of the largest gathering of streamlined locomotives from teh 1930s through the 1950s. Here’s the locomotive roster.

Lawyers, Guns, and Money

[There's a little objectionable language in the following video. But it's a great song.]

A member of the House of Representatives in Kansas got dinged for holding a fundraising raffle for some basketball tickets.

In March, Tim Huelskamp’s (R-Kan) re-election campaign reportedly sent an email to potential contributors inviting them to participate in a raffle for four tickets to early round games of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in St. Louis. Three schools from Kansas — Kansas State, Wichita State and the University of Kansas — were all scheduled to play there. The email urged recipients: “Celebrate with me the success of our Kansas basketball teams and enter this opportunity for NCAA Tournament tickets right away.”

As you point out, federal election law generally permits the use raffles like this one to help raise campaign funds. That being said, there are specific regulations and guidance governing such raffles. Any campaign or organization considering a raffle should be sure to familiarize itself  with the federal regulations and guidance.

soon after the campaign sent out the email about the raffle, he received a letter from Charles Branson, the district attorney of Douglas County, stating that the raffle appeared to be a felony under Kansas law. According to the letter, it is a crime in Kansas to run a “lottery,” and there are three elements that qualify a contest as an illegal lottery: a prize, the fact that chance determines the winner of the prize and “consideration” to enter the contest. The email from Huelskamp’s campaign stated: “A online contribution to our campaign of at least $10 … will enter you in the drawing.” And then: “The winner of these four tickets will be randomly chosen.” Branson reportedly posted his letter to Huelskamp online before the lawmaker actually received it.

Georgia has a statute under which raffles can be held, and it requires the approval of the Sheriff of the county in which the raffle is being held. Jurisdictions differ on what is required to prove nonprofit status, with Cobb County requiring a letter from the IRS certifying tax exempt status and DeKalb County requiring background information on the people involved in the raffle.

During the Republican Senate primary, Congressman Paul Broun raffled off at least one AR-15, though it’s not clear whether it was a raffle under Georgia law, as giving “consideration” to be entered is an element under the statute. If you’re considering doing something similar, it’s probably best to talk to a lawyer and/or your local sheriff. I know and can recommend two Georgia lawyers who have given the issue some thought if you need a referral.

Handel to endorse Kingston

Today at 1 PM in a “major political announcement” by Jack Kingston’s Senate campaign, former Secretary of State Karen Handel will endorse Kingston’s runoff bid, putting major momentum behind his campaign. From AJC Political Insider Jim Galloway, where I first read the identity of the endorser:

Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel said late Tuesday she will endorse Rep. Jack Kingston’s Senate bid.

Handel’s endorsement will come at a Kingston event at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. The Savannah Republican hopes that the tea party forces that helped Handel finish third in last week’s runoff could shift their allegiances to his camp.

Kingston faces businessman David Perdue, the top vote-getter in the GOP primary, in a July 22 runoff that will be the longest - and likely costliest – in state history.

Handel’s endorsement should come as little surprise to close watchers of this rollicking race.  Handel and Perdue got into a very public tiff after the former Fortune 500 executive knocked Handel as the “high school graduate in this race.” Handel, who left a broken home at 17 and finished high school but never college, used it to try to depict Perdue as the  candidate who has “lost touch with our values.”

We’re also told that Perdue’s primary night victory speech did him no favors. In that speech, he told cheering supporters that “we retired three career politicians and we’ve got one more to go.” Handel staked her campaign on being an outsider, so being labeled a politico one last time by the night’s victor was like rubbing salt in the wound.

This follows the announcement by Atlanta Tea Party co-founder and prominent Handel supporter Julianne Thompson that she is endorsing Kingston in the runoff.

“As a conservative activist who has worked hard promoting the causes of limited government, free market capitalism, lower taxes, and a balanced budget it is important to me to back a candidate whom I know shares the same values. We do not need someone to be another member of the Senate Country Club. We need courage…someone who is strong enough to fight for our principles in an atmosphere that is sometimes very difficult. We also need someone who is accessible and respects the fact that the people that elected him will hold him accountable. That is why I am supporting Jack Kingston for United States Senate. Jack doesn’t just talk the talk, he has walked the walk and is the only candidate who has been in the trenches fighting alongside fellow conservatives.”

I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way: I am supporting Jack Kingston in the runoff election as well. I don’t consider this an “endorsement,” because I frankly don’t think anyone cares who I’m voting for, but I hope you’ll stick with me for a moment and decide whether my reasoning might help you make up your mind.

On election day I mentioned on Facebook that I was still on that morning undecided on the Senate race. There were at least three good candidates for whom I could have voted. By the time I reached my polling place, I’d gotten personal phone calls from Paul Broun, Karen Handel, and Jack Kingston, along with Jack’s wife Libby and son Jim, both of whom I got to know during the campaign. That’s flattering and all, but why should anyone care?

You should care because when we elect someone to represent us, whether at the local courthouse, the Gold Dome, or in Washington, you should expect them to be accessible to voters and to hear your complaints, thoughts, and needs with respect to legislation. Of the two candidates in the field for the GOP nomination today, I believe that normal, ordinary Georgians like you and I will have a better chance of talking to Jack Kingston than to his opponent. If they’re not listening to you today, when they need your support, how can you expect them to listen once elected?

If your campaign has been battered by attacks that you’re an elitist and live behind gates and walls on Sea Island, what’s the last thing you want to have at your public victory party? Visible signs that while all supporters are equal, some are more equal than others. Like special access lanyards.

PerdueVictory2 PerdueVictory1

There are plenty of good reasons for a campaign to use badges at large events or to control access to some areas — media areas are reserved to provide good camera angles, and the candidate needs a quiet place to prepare his victory or concession speech. I get it.

But when our Republican Party fights the image that we wish to exclude some folks from the Party, the worst visual you can have is badges that are specifically designed to excluse some people from your party.

I also support Jack Kingston on most of the issues, from his years of championing the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, to his conservative record overall, his conservative social positions, and his willingness to vote for legislation that may prove politically tricky in a statewide election, but that his voters prefer.

Perdue is mostly conservative, though I have some concerns with statements he has made. But for me the deciding factor is that I think if I have an issue with the federal government or want to make my voice heard on legislation, I think Jack Kingston will listen to me, and I think he’ll listen to you as well.

I’m not looking for special treatment, and I’m not looking for special access. Special access means that you can fall out of favor as easily as you stumble into it, and I don’t want a Senator who thinks the concerns of some Georgians are more important than those of any others. That’s why I have decided to cast my runoff vote for Jack Kingston and why I hope you’ll join me.

As a disclaimer, I will note that I am not being paid by the Kingston campaign or any allied organizations. The banner I run in the morning emails represents my personal preference and the candidate I will vote for and is not paid for or sponsored in any way.

InsiderAdvantageLogo

Over at InsiderAdvantage, Matt Towery has an analysis of the Senate race after word began leaking out last night that Handel would endorse Kingston.

Kingston continues to gather endorsements as longtime GOP officeholders and activists circle the wagon to prove that Republican blood is thicker than water. And with turnout in a July primary expected to be more like a large version of a state GOP convention, endorsements could deliver the critical margin in the runoff with businessman David Perdue. And early polling by several sources suggest Kingston could be a heavy favorite to win the contest.

The Perdue camp has no choice but to go hard negative.

But the issue that will most likely haunt Perdue and bolster Kingston will be a simple one. Kingston can boast of decades of working at virtually every level as a Republican in Georgia when being Republican was not cool. And while Perdue will pass the Republican “smell test” he likely will have difficulty matching Kingston’s Georgia Republican “sweat test.”

There’s some more good analysis over there behind the paywall. I work for InsiderAdvantage on website content, if you hadn’t heard.

Every Vote Matters

Exhibit one that every single vote matters comes to us from Harris County, where incumbent Commissioner James R. Woods will meet challenger Andrew M. Sivell in a runoff election after the two-candidate field ended up tied at 384 votes each.

With a close vote margin in the Republican primary, both candidates could have requested a recount but no one asked for one. The candidates also rejected the coin flip to decide the contest, Jarrett said.

A runoff also will decide the Harris County Board of Education race between incumbent Timothy Edgar and Morgan Marlowe in District 2. Edgar collected 420 or 47.5 percent of the vote but not enough to avoid a runoff with Marlowe who recorded 335 or 38 percent of the votes.

Jarrett said Tuesday’s election was certified for all the races, including the tied race.

Turnout for the election was low. In a county with 19,054 registered voters, only about 18 percent cast ballots in the election.

In Henry County, the candidates are on pins-and-needles as the counting of provisional and absentee votes, plus six misplaced voters, have narrowed the margin between incumbent County Commissioner Reid Bowman and challenger Brian Prince from 21 votes to 2 in Prince’s favor and Bowman has requested a recount.

Election and Registration Director Janet Shellnutt said one card did not get uploaded Tuesday night because a technician missed a voting machine, and there were also six people who voted in the wrong district.

“That’s why the election report is unofficial or incomplete because we knew the next morning that something wasn’t right, but we couldn’t run them again until that Friday,” Shellnutt said.

Shellnutt said the elections department does give people the opportunity to vote in different districts, but they would vote on a paper ballot and only the state races would be valid.

“Yes, we had six people that voted in the third (district) on a paper ballot that should have voted in District Four, but those people, and I don’t mean to be ugly, at some point you need to be responsible for themselves and check out where you’re supposed to be voting and not wait until 10 (minutes) to 7 p.m,” she said.

The final vote tally separating incumbent Reid Bowman from contender Blake Prince was by only two votes instead of the originally reported 21 vote margin.

It was originally determined Prince, who had 50.47 percent of the vote with 1,120 votes, defeated Bowman by less than a percentage point. Bowman had 1,099 votes with 49.53 percent.

However after the unofficial results were certified Friday, it was determined Bowman had 1,125 votes while Prince had 1,127 votes.

“In order to protect the integrity of the voting system, I have respectfully asked for a recount,” Bowman said in a statement on his election page. “As I have stated before, God does not make any mistakes. However, with that being said, people do. Example 21 votes to 2 votes.”

I worked for Reid Bowman in his first campaign, in which he won in a runoff that included similar drama. As he posted on Facebook,

I will tell you that during my first run for office, I was leading my opponent by approximately 17 votes. When the recount was completed, I was only leading by 3 votes.

11th District Congressional Runoff

Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren has endorsed Bob Barr in the 11th Congressional District Primary against Barry Loudermilk.

“I have known Bob Barr going on 30 years. I worked with him closely when he was President Reagan’s U.S. Attorney in Atlanta, and when he served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995-2003.  Bob is a man of the highest integrity, and has always been strongly committed to the rule of law and the needs of our law enforcement men and women.  I am proud to endorse him for Georgia’s 11thDistrict Congressional seat,” said Neil Warren, Sheriff of Cobb County.

“Sheriff Warren is a man of character and whose integrity is beyond reproach.  He is one of the most respected leaders in the 11th District of Georgia, especially in Cobb County. I am honored to have the endorsement of Sheriff Neil Warren and the positive message that sends to the people of the 11th District,” said Barr, who served in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003 and is a candidate to return to the Congress from the 11th District.

Barr has also challenged Loudermilk to a series of four debates, mano a mano, Lincoln-Douglass style.

“Policy and issues are very complex, including topics such as Obamacare, the federal budget, and the Constitution, and they deserve more debate and discussion than short, one-or-two minute responses in a structured format.

Voters are looking for substance and are interested in going beyond sound-bite politics regarding the important issues impacting their lives and America. This is why Congressman Barr has invited Barry Loudermilk to join him in a series of Lincoln – Douglas style debates across Georgia’s 11th Congressional District.

The concept is simple; our campaigns will agree on a venue and date with one per county in the 11th District. The two candidates will join each other on stage to discuss and debate the issues, with no artificial time-limits.

It is important that the voters of Georgia’s 11th District have the opportunity to listen as they make this important decision. All too often, campaigns focus on everything except the issues.  It is Congressman Barr’s hope Mr. Loudermilk will accept this invitation and stand before the voters to discuss the issues facing our country and our District.”

GA 11 – Bob Barr Congress: Challenges Loudermilk to Series of Debates

Your Washington – GA 11 – Desk

From Bob Barr Congress

Barr Challenges Loudermilk to Series of Debates

Barr Proposes Four Lincoln – Douglas Style Debates

Former Congressman Bob Barr (GA-7), a candidate for the Republican nomination for the 11th District in Georgia, today sent a letter to his run-off opponent and former Georgia State Senator Barry Loudermilk, challenging him to a series of four debates in advance of the July 22nd Run-Off election.

Barr’s Campaign Manager, Derek Barr, issued the following statement in support of the proposed debates:

“Policy and issues are very complex, including topics such as Obamacare, the federal budget, and the Constitution, and they deserve more debate and discussion than short, one-or-two minute responses in a structured format.

Voters are looking for substance and are interested in going beyond sound-bite politics regarding the important issues impacting their lives and America. This is why Congressman Barr has invited Barry Loudermilk to join him in a series of Lincoln – Douglas style debates across Georgia’s 11th Congressional District. Continue reading

GA 1 – Bob Johnson Congress: Endorsed By Senate Conservatives Fund

Your Washington – GA 1 – Desk:

Bob Johnston Congress LOgo

Senate Conservatives Fund Endorses Dr. Bob Johnson

SCF Executive Director Says: “Bob Johnson is a committed conservative leader”

Fiscal conservative, Dr. Bob Johnson, surgeon, retired Army Ranger and Christian medical missionary today was endorsed by a leading grassroots organization dedicated to electing strong conservative leaders, Senate Conservatives Fund.

Senate Conservatives Fund Executive Director Matt Hoskins said the following about his group’s endorsement, “Bob Johnson is a committed conservative leader who will fight to repeal Obamacare, stop wasteful spending, protect the unborn, and be a voice for the men and women who serve in uniform. We’re very proud to support Bob Johnson for Congress and we’re excited to do our part to help him win the run-off.”

Dr. Bob Johnson said the following after receiving the Senate Conservatives Fund endorsement, “I am honored to receive the endorsement and assistance of Senate Conservatives Fund. Continue reading

Jack Kingston Senate: Endorsed By Atlanta Tea Party Co-Chairman Julianne Thompson

Your GA Senate Desk:

Jack KIngston Senate Logo

From Jack Kingston Senate

Atlanta Tea Party Co-Chairman and Conservative Leader Julianne Thompson Endorses Jack Kingston for United States Senate

Julianne Thompson, Co-Chairman of the Atlanta Tea Party and a well-known state and national leader in the conservative movement, issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Senate race:

“Since the beginning of the Republican primary I was a very vocal supporter of my friend Karen Handel. Karen came in third in the primary and graciously commented on election night that we must remember we cannot give Harry Reid another seat in the U.S. Senate. I could not agree more.

“Over the past week I have taken great strides to study both candidates in the run-off for United States Senate…their stances on issues as well as the way they conducted themselves during their respective campaigns and upon winning the top two spots.

“As a conservative activist who has worked hard promoting the causes of limited government, free market capitalism, lower taxes, and a balanced budget it is important to me to back a candidate whom I know shares the same values. We do not need someone to be another member of the Senate Country Club. Continue reading

Runoff for Blevins, Wilbanks » Local News » DaltonDailyCitizen.com

Incumbent David Blevins and Dalton Municipal Court Judge Jim Wilbanks are headed to a runoff to decide who will be the next Superior Court judge of the Conasauga Judicial Circuit, which includes Whitfield and Murray counties.

Blevins received 3,642 votes (35.38 percent), Wilbanks received 4,780 votes (46.44 percent) and Scott Helton received 1,871 votes (18.18 percent). Those numbers are unofficial until certified by the Secretary of State’s office and do not include any provisional ballots.

Blevins said heading to a runoff, scheduled for July 22, is what he had anticipated in a three-person race.

“You always hope it will turn out better than that,” he said. “The only thing that surprised me really was the vote in Murray County. It was a little more in Jim’s favor than I thought it would be.”

via Runoff for Blevins, Wilbanks » Local News ».

Runoff for Blevins, Wilbanks » Local News »

Incumbent David Blevins and Dalton Municipal Court Judge Jim Wilbanks are headed to a runoff to decide who will be the next Superior Court judge of the Conasauga Judicial Circuit, which includes Whitfield and Murray counties.

Blevins received 3,642 votes (35.38 percent), Wilbanks received 4,780 votes (46.44 percent) and Scott Helton received 1,871 votes (18.18 percent). Those numbers are unofficial until certified by the Secretary of State’s office and do not include any provisional ballots.

Blevins said heading to a runoff, scheduled for July 22, is what he had anticipated in a three-person race.

“You always hope it will turn out better than that,” he said. “The only thing that surprised me really was the vote in Murray County. It was a little more in Jim’s favor than I thought it would be.”

via Runoff for Blevins, Wilbanks » Local News ».

Cherokee Tribune – Moore loses District 22 seat Two challengers head to a runoff

CANTON — State Rep. Sam Moore (R-Macedonia) narrowly lost his seat in the Georgia House of Representatives in the primary Tuesday, but neither of his challengers pulled enough votes to avoid a runoff.

With 2,995, or 38 percent of the vote, Woodstock pastor Wes Cantrell came in first in the race for the District 22 seat, with Meagan Biello, a Cherokee school teacher, trailing not far behind, unofficial results showed Tuesday night.

Cantrell and Biello will now face each other in the July 22 runoff.

Biello got 2,505 votes, or 32 percent of the 7,877 ballots cast in the three-county race, results showed.

Moore trailed just behind Biello with 2,377 votes, or 30 percent of the vote, for the seat covering large parts of Cherokee and Forsyth counties, along with a small piece of Fulton.

With first place in hand, Cantrell said he was ready to move on to the runoff.

“We feel great,” said Cantrell, 52, a young adult pastor at First Baptist Woodstock. “It’s quite encouraging. We definitely have the momentum; we’re going to continue to grow on that.”

He said he was looking forward to a positive race.

Biello also feels good about her chances in the runoff.

“Everyone is pumped to see this thing through,” said Biello, 32, a teacher at Creekview High School. “I feel confident that we have good momentum. I guess one advantage I have as a teacher is that I have all summer to be out knocking on doors.”

via Cherokee Tribune – Moore loses District 22 seat Two challengers head to a runoff.

Roswell Judge Race Heads To Runoff – Elections – Roswell, GA Patch

The race to elect the city’s judge will head to a runoff. Unofficial results have candidates Brian A. Hansford and Melanie Ellwanger as the top two vote-getters.

Hansford leads the pack with 40 percent, or 3,249 votes, followed by Ellwanger at 32 percent, or 2,576 votes. Both candidates John Monroe and Leslie Donaho did not received enough votes to break into the runoff.

For the Fulton County Commission District 2 race, Republican candidate Bob Ellis appears to be on his way to defeating challenger Eric Broadwell. With 58 of 59 precincts reporting results, Ellis is leading the race with 66 percent, or 5,831 votes, to Broadwell’s 34 percent, or 3,051 votes.

For the District 3 seat, candidate Lee Morris is leading the field.

With 44 out of 62 precincts reporting, Morris currently has 57 percent, or 3,712 votes. He’s followed by fellow challengers Bernie Tokarz at 17 percent, or 1,091 votes; Cory Ruth at 16 percent, or 1,033 votes; and Alexander Palacios at 11 percent, or 682 votes.

via Roswell Judge Race Heads To Runoff – Elections – Roswell, GA Patch.

The Marietta Daily Journal – Harris to challenge Stedman in runoff for judgeship

The Cobb Superior Court runoff race will determine the person replacing Judge Jim Bodiford, who will retire at year end rather than seek what would have been his sixth term on the Cobb bench.

Harris, 50, lives in Smyrna and is a senior assistant district attorney who has practiced law in the Cobb Superior Court for nine years.

Harris’ devotion to work is one of the reasons District Attorney Vic Reynolds publicly endorsed her in the Cobb Superior Court race.
“She is very fair. She knows the law,” Reynolds said. “She works extremely hard. She is committed to serving justice.”
With nearly 20 years litigating in Cobb’s Superior Court, Harris said she has worked with victims, fellow attorneys and witnesses.

Stedman, a former member of the Marietta School Board and special education teacher at Marietta High School, was endorsed by Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren and retired Sheriff Bill Hutson.

Stedman, who has been a judge for 13 years in the Juvenile Court of Cobb County and serves as an Assisting Superior Court Judge, campaigned with a vision statement promoting her “on-the-job training” and reputation as “conservative and “tough on crime.”

via The Marietta Daily Journal – Harris to challenge Stedman in runoff for judgeship.