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7
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 7, 2016

Georgia and American History

On March 5, 1735, James Oglethorpe presented a budget to the trustees of Georgia and proposed seeking an appropriation from Parliament, thus beginning the addiction of the Georgia government to Other People’s Money.

On March 6, 1857, the United States Supreme Court published its opinion in Sanford v. Dred Scott.

the Court held that African Americans, whether slave or free, could not be American citizens and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court,and that the federal government had no power to regulate slavery in the federal territories acquired after the creation of the United States. Dred Scott, an African American slave who had been taken by his owners to free states and territories, attempted to sue for his freedom. In a 7–2 decision written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, the Court denied Scott’s request and in doing so, ruled an Act of Congress in this case—the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which prohibited slavery north of the parallel 36°30′ north—to be unconstitutional for the second time in its history.

The decision would prove to be an indirect catalyst for the American Civil War and was functionally superseded by the post-war Reconstruction Amendments. It is now widely regarded as the worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court.

One member of the Court that decided Dred Scott was Associate Justice James M Wayne, who was born in Savannah and served in Congress from Georgia from 1829 to 1835.

On March 7, 1861, delegates to the Georgia Secession Convention reconvened in Savannah to adopt a new state Constitution. A resolution offering to host the Confederate Capitol did not pass.

On March 5, 1869, the United States Congress refused to seat Georgia’s elected members of the House and Senate.

On March 7, 1965, a group of marchers led by Martin Luther King, Jr., met Alabama State Troopers on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

“I was hit in the head by a state trooper with a nightstick… I thought I saw death.”

—John Lewis, SNCC leader

As a student of Southern politics at Emory, we were immersed in reading about the Civil Rights Movement and its effect on Southern politics, and American politics. But it was not until years later that I saw the PBS series called “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement 1956-1985.” It’s chilling to see American citizens turned away by armed police from attempts to register to vote.

John Lewis, now the United States Congressman from the Fifth District was in the front row wearing a light-colored overcoat and backpack.

Earlier this year, Patrick Saunders of the GaVoice asked Lewis what was in his backpack that day.

What was in the backpack?

I remember very well. As a matter of fact I went to the Army surplus store and bought this backpack. I really thought we were going to be successful walking all the way from Selma to Montgomery. And somehow, someway I thought maybe we would be arrested and we would go to jail, so while in jail I wanted to have something to read. I had two books in the backpack. I wanted to have something to eat—I had one apple and one orange. One apple and one orange wouldn’t last that long. Being in jail, you know I had been arrested and been to jail before, the sad thing about being in jail for two or three days, you need to brush your teeth. So there was toothpaste and a toothbrush in there.

I don’t know what happened to that backpack, I don’t know what happened to the two books. I don’t know what happened to the trench coat. One of the books was by a professor of political science at Harvard and the other book was by Thomas Merton, the monk. I just wished I had them. The Smithsonian and the Library of Congress are always asking me what happened to them and I tell them I really don’t know.

On March 5, 1977, President Jimmy Carter held the first “Dial-A-President” radio broadcast in which he fielded questions from radio listeners.

Under the Gold Dome Today

Qualifying begins today for Republican and Democratic candidates for federal, state, and local offices.

For federal and state offices, qualifying will be held at:

Georgia State Capitol Room 230

Begins at 9:00 AM on Monday, March 7, 2016

Ends at 12 noon on Friday, March 11, 2016

For county and municipal offices, check with your county elections board.

Click here for more information on qualifying for office.

Expect more announcements of retiring politicians and baby pols. From the AJC

At least 15 state lawmakers have already announced their retirements ahead of qualifying, including rising Republican star B.J. Pak, a state representative from Gwinnett County, and longtime GOP state Sens. Bill Jackson and Tommie Williams. Another no-show will be veteran Republican U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, who is quitting Congress but could be a possible candidate for governor in 2018.

This will also likely be old-home week for some candidates trying to make a comeback, with the possibilities including former U.S. Rep. Paul Broun — who could be eyeing a challenge to two-term U.S. Rep. Doug Collins — and former state Senate Rules Committee Chairman Don Balfour, who lost re-election two years ago after being cleared of criminal charges that he improperly claimed travel expenses as a state lawmaker.

Westmoreland’s decision not to run for another term in November gave way to a wide-open race for his conservative west Georgia seat. State Sen. Mike Crane,R-Newnan, West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson, developer Jim Pace and entrepreneur Richard Mix are among the contenders.

The most highly watched race, however, is likely that of Isakson, who is seeking a third term after disclosing in June that he has Parkinson’s disease. Both parties have keyed on that race with the presumption he will have a Democratic challenger, although no one has raised his or her hand yet.

State Rep. Brad Raffensperger (R-Johns Creek) will qualify this week for reelection.

Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer announced of Facebook that he will qualify today for reelection. Shafer is also giving away campaign stickers.

Sen. Josh McKoon also posted on Facebook that he will qualify for reelection today.

Cherokee County Probate Judge Keith Wood announced he will seek reelection.

SENATE COMMITTEE MEETING SCHEDULE

7:30 AM APPROPRIATIONS 341 CAP

12:30 PM RULES UPON ADJOURNMENT 450 CAP

1:00 PM JUDICIARY 307 CLOB

1:00 PM REGULATED INDUSTRIES & UTILITIES 310 CLOB

1:00 PM AGRICULTURE & CONSUMER AFFAIRS 125 CAP

2:00 PM PUBLIC SAFETY 125 CAP

2:00 PM INSURANCE & LABOR 450 CAP

2:00 PM EDUCATION & YOUTH 307 CLOB

3:00 PM SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 310 CLOB

3:00 PM VETS, MIL & HOMELAND SEC – CANCELED 125 CAP

3:00 PM HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 450 CAP

4:00 PM FINANCE 125 CAP

4:00 PM ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & TOURISM 310 CLOB

HOUSE COMMITTEE MEETING SCHEDULE

9:30 AM RULES 341 CAP

1:00 PM Railway & Transit Sub 406 CLOB

1:00 PM W&M Public Finance & Policy Sub 133 CAP

1:30 PM W&M Sales Tax Sub 133 CAP

2:00 PM Highway Regulations Sub 406 CLOB

2:00 PM HIGHER EDUCATION 403 CAP

2:00 PM Academic Achievement and Curriculum Sub 415 CLOB

2:00 PM Regulations Sub 606 CLOB

3:00 PM WAYS & MEANS 606 CLOB

3:00 PM STATE PLANNING 403 CAP

3:30 PM Setzler Sub Judiciary Non-Civil 132 CAP

4:00 PM State Highways Sub 406 CLOB

SENATE RULES CALENDAR

No bills were added to the Senate calendar for MONDAY, MARCH 7. The following bills were tabled in the last session and may be taken off the table today:

HB 172 – Watercraft; operation while under the influence of alcohol, toxic vapors or drugs; revise types of vessels (NR&E – Gooch) (Lumsden)

HB 370 – Elections; provide for waivers of certain civil penalties and fees incurred by candidates for local elected office; provisions (ETHICS – Burke) (Fleming)

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Modified Open Rule

SB 283 – Accounting for Public Funds; provide multibank pooling of depositories for acceptance of deposits of public funds from public bodies (B&B-Williamson-115th) Kennedy-18th

Legislation & Local

The fight for Marsy’s Law took to the phone lines and it has District Attorneys responding. From the Polk County Standard Journal,

Automated political campaign calls are at the source of a press release from Tallapoosa Circuit District Attorney Jack Browning today on his stance on victims rights and legislation going through the House to amend Georgia’s Constitution.

Browning said his major problem with the robo-calls is they provide inaccurate information about House Resolution 1199, which seeks an amendment to the state constitution in favor of victim’s rights.

Browning stated in the release that his problem with the robo-calls are that he hasn’t taken a position on victim’s rights, when [the calls state that his actions clearly have.

It also stated Georgia was one of 18 in the nation without rights guaranteed in the state constitution, Browning reports. He called that inaccurate because of the state’s Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights, which has been amended nine times since it’s inception in 1995.

Though frustrated by the fact that the robo-calls are providing what calls misleading information, he is glad for the springboard to a conversation about the problems he and other district attorneys have with the proposed legislation.

“Some of this language, although well-intended, appears to actually weaken the rights of victims in Georgia and may be detrimental to the effective administration of criminal justice in the state,” Browning’s release stated. “Furthermore, by placing a very detailed victims’ rights legislation into the Constitution, future amendments to strengthen victims’ rights would also require Constitutional amendments and ballot initiatives.”

It appears that District Attorneys are reacting the same way in Cherokee CountyDougherty County, Houston County, Haralson County, probably elsewhere.

A national group called “Everytown for Gun Safety” is running ads against the “Campus Carry” bill, HB 859.

The legislation, commonly referred to as the “campus carry bill,” would allow concealed carry permit holders to bring firearms onto college and technical school property. HB 859 would not permit people to bring guns to sporting events or into student housing, including sorority and fraternity houses.

“College tests a student’s judgment and responsibility,” a narrator reads in the commercial. “And sometimes students make bad decisions, especially when alcohol is involved.”

The bill’s primary sponsor Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, said he designed the bill to help law-abiding students protect themselves.

“Really it’s a personal issue for those Georgians who are over 21 and giving them the opportunity not to be a victim if they choose to,” Rep. Jasperse explained.

DeKalb Ethics Commission

The members of the newly-reconstituted DeKalb Ethics Board moved unanimously to hire former Georgia State Ethics Commission Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission Executive Direct Stacey Kalberman.

But before you go congratulating Ms. Kalberman and the Board, note that the DeKalb County Commission must approve the hiring for it to take effect. The flies in the ointment are most likely to come from members of the Commission who have complaints pending before the Ethics Board.

Surveillance Nation

It’s not just the feds who have fits with passcode-connected cellphones that may be connected to crime – local law enforcement is interested in cracking the codes too. From the Gainesville Times,

Gainesville Police spokesman Sgt. Kevin Holbrook said at least 20 phones have been confiscated over the last five years that investigators have not been able to access because of pass codes.

“These cases have involved homicides, drugs, assaults and death investigations,” he added. “This is not just a problem with iPhones but Androids as well.”

Lee Darragh, district attorney for the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, said that while privacy concerns are valid, “the fact remains that information from cellphones has proven to a vital tool even locally for many years in finding criminals, tracking them until caught, and proving the cases against them where the other supporting evidence doesn’t fully wrap up the case.”

Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Nicole Bailes said about 1 in 6 phones in such cases cannot be unlocked.

“From a local standpoint we have never encountered a cellphone that has been selectively encrypted as the San Bernardino suspects have done with their phone,” Bailes said.

“The issues that we have come across is the ability to unlock these devices that are password-protected,” she added. “There are some phones that have dated software or specific model phones that cannot be defeated.”

Sheriff Gerald Couch said the information on a mobile phone can contain geographical data, messages and personal contacts relevant to investigations.

“With that in mind the privacy of these devices must be respected unless the owner gives consent for a search or a judge determines a search is warranted based on probable cause,” he added.

Senator Judson Hill noted in his weekly constituent email that a bill regulating drone flights passed the State House.

Legislation placing restrictions on the operation of drones in Georgia has cleared the state House of Representatives. Under a bill the House passed unanimously during Monday’s marathon Crossover Day session, drones would be prohibited from flying low over private property without the owner’s permission. Operators would not be allowed to “weaponize” drones.

Also, the use of drones over private property would be considered an illegal search under Georgia law, requiring a warrant signed by a judge. However, legal protection from drone searches would not apply when drones are used to look for lost children or adults or for prison escapees.

When a Primary Win Really Isn’t

Part of this weekend’s new cycles was Sen. Ted Cruz running strongly against Donald Trump, carrying Kansas with 48.2% and Maine with 45.9%, while Trump won Louisiana with 41.4% against 37.8% for Cruz and Kentucky with 35.9% to 31.6% for Cruz.

The secondary story was Marco Rubio’s collapsing support everywhere but Puerto Rico, whose U.S. citizens may vote in Presidential primary elections, but not in the General Election.

The Associated Press carried a story stating that some Republicans are seeing Cruz as the viable alternative to Rubio now.

The Texas senator split contests with Trump in Saturday’s voting, bolstering his argument that only he can defeat the real estate mogul. Trump and Cruz are now significantly outpacing Marco Rubio in the delegate count, further shrinking the Florida senator’s already narrow path to the nomination.

If Rubio’s slide continues, he would be the latest establishment candidate to fall victim to an angry, frustrated electorate that cares little about endorsements from party leaders or newspaper editorial boards. Rubio has rolled out both at warp speed in recent weeks, but his appeal with Republican voters is not keeping pace.

Rubio rejected the idea that anti-Trump Republicans should rally around Cruz, arguing that the likely scenario is a long fight that leaves the party without a presumed nominee heading into the July convention.

“To be fair, it’s hard to imagine at this moment the way things are going anybody getting to” a majority of 1,237 delegates, Rubio told The Associated Press Sunday night. “Even Trump, he’d have to win over half the remaining delegates to get there and he’s not on pace to that now. We’ll see what happens. It’s a very unusual political year.”

But back to the question at hand. While the headline out of Lousiana’s primary was that Trump carried the state, a few eagle-eyed observers noted that Trump and Cruz actually tied in the number of delegates won in Louisiana. From a press release by the Louisiana Republican Party,

Trump received 124,818 votes, or 41.4%, this evening. Senator Ted Cruz received 113,949 votes, or 37.8%. No other candidate received more than 20% of the votes statewide. Therefore, complete but unofficial returns indicate that Trump will be allocated 12 at-large delegates, Cruz will receive 11 and five delegates will be unbound.

Each of Louisiana’s six congressional districts will receive three delegates to the Republican National Convention. Complete but unofficial returns indicate that Trump, Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio will each receive one delegate in each district except for the Fourth District, where Cruz will receive two delegates and Trump one.

So Trump took 12 statewide delegates to 11 for Cruz. But in the six Congressional District, Trump, Cruz, and Rubio each received one delegate per district, but Cruz picked up an extra delegate in the Fourth District.

Today, the delegate count stands at:

Trump…..384
Cruz………300
Rubio…….151
Kasich…….37

4
Mar

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for March 4, 2016

Angel

Angel is a young, female Foxhound (or Coonhound) who is available for adoption from Hart Co. Animal Rescue Inc. in Hartwell, GA.

Angel was bred as a hunting dog and needs some help learning to be a pet. If you’re willing to invest the time and energy, hound dogs make fantastic family pets. Especially if you’re a runner.

She’s the spitting image of my hound dog, Dolly.

If you’re looking to bring a puppy into your home, Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA has a number of them, beyond the three profiled below. Viewing and adoption hours at the shelter are Wed. to Sun. from noon to 5 PM.

Dean

Dean is a young male Black Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.

Luke

Luke is a young male Yellow Labrador Retriever puppy who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.

Jess

Jess is a young male Black-and-White Lab mix puppy who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.

And if you’re looking for a female puppy, the shelter has several, I just happened to pick all boys.

4
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 4, 2016

Georgia and American History

On March 4, 1762, legislation was passed by the Georgia General Assembly requiring church attendance on Sundays.

On March 3, 1779, British troops met Continental militia from North Carolina and a combination of Georgia militia and Continentals under Samuel Elbert in Screven County, Georgia at the Battle of Brier Creek. In 2013, key geographic features were identified to better determine the exact location of the battle and some period military artifacts were found. Currently, a group of descendants of Brier Creek soldiers is actively trying to persuade the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Board to conserve the area in which the Battle of Brier Creek took place. If you’re interested in Georgia’s revolutionary history, the Descendants of Brier Creek page on Facebook is a treasure trove.

The rout of Americans by the British at Brier Creek was a considerable setback that changed the momentum in the Brits’ favor and gave them control over Georgia, which they would retain for three years.

The first Session of the United States Congress was held on March 4, 1789 at Federal Hall in New York City. Congress would not have a quorum for another month.

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President of the United States.

In his inaugural address, Lincoln promised not to interfere with the institution of slavery where it existed, and pledged to suspend the activities of the federal government temporarily in areas of hostility. However, he also took a firm stance against secession and the seizure of federal property. The government, insisted Lincoln, would “hold, occupy, and possess” its property and collect its taxes. He closed his remarks with an eloquent reminder of the nation’s common heritage:

“In your hand, my fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it… We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Also on March 4, 1861, the Confederate Congress adopted a first national flag.

Confederate 1st National Flag 1

This flag is depicted with varying numbers of stars – originally adopted with seven stars, by December 1861, a version with thirteen stars was flying.

Confederate 1st National Flag 2

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis were married on March 4, 1952 in Los Angeles, California.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

In the South Georgia Judicial District, comprising Baker, Calhoun, Decatur, Grady and Mitchell counties, Chief Assistant District Attorney Mike Bankston will run for the Superior Court seat being vacated by Judge A. Wallace Cato.

In Savannah, Tammie Mosley is running as a Democrat for Chatham County Superior Court Clerk in a seat being vacated by Dan Massey. Brenda Kennedy previously announced her campaign for Clerk of Court.

The Chatham County Democratic Party adopted a policy to prevent the qualification for local office of anyone who “openly supported a Republican or an opponent to a Chatham County Democratic Committee-backed candidate within the past two election cycles.

An attorney for Georgia’s Democratic party, however, rather quickly advised the local crew that their newly adopted policy was in violation of “several” provisions and bylaws of both the state and national parties.

“The Democratic Party prides itself on being a diverse party that is tolerant of many positions,” state party general counsel Michael Jablonski wrote to Claiborne on Thursday morning.

Jablonski said the Chatham Democrats’ new rules — which defined open support as endorsing, donating and being featured in ads — were void and “cannot be enforced next week.”

Claiborne, who says as chairman he did not vote on the matter, maintains the policy does not violate any local committee bylaws, but the state party’s mandate will be respected.

Mike Smallwood announced his candidacy for Sheriff of Macon-Bibb County.

So far, he is the only challenger to emerge against incumbent David Davis. Davis is seeking his second term in the May 24 election.

Smallwood was critical of Davis’ administration for not yet releasing crime statistics for 2015, though the numbers were made public about 15 minutes before Smallwood’s news conference.

Gwinnett County Commissioner Tommy Hunter will run for a second term.

Hunter was the last of three commission members whose seats will be on ballots later this year to announce a re-election bid. Chairwoman Charlotte Nash and District 1 Commissioner Jace Brooks previously announced plans to run for re-election.

Like Nash and Brooks, Hunter will run as a Republican.

“I have tried my best to be the most accessible commissioner in Gwinnett and hope I have succeeded during this term,” Hunter said in a statement. “I truly love this place. I want to continue to focus on making this a place where people go for good jobs, work on our transportation issues, and continue to fight the battle to win the water wars.”

Hunter had been on the fence about whether to run for another term on the commission, but he recently decided to go ahead with a campaign and began raising money for his bid. He’s raised approximately $78,000 for his re-election bid so far, according to Dwight Roberts, who is working with the commissioner’s campaign.

AAAAAAA  NJ  Mayors

DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester announced that her reelection campaign has been endorsed by the Mayors of five cities within her district.

Nancy Jester for DeKalb County Commissioner is pleased to announce the endorsement of all five mayors of DeKalb County District One for Commissioner Nancy Jester.

Mayor Denny Shortal of Dunwoody, Mayor Donna Pittman of Doraville, Mayor Eric Clarkson of Chamblee, Mayor John Ernst of Brookhaven, and Mayor-elect Frank Auman of Tucker have all endorsed Nancy Jester for DeKalb County Commissioner.

“It is with great excitement and humility to announce that the five mayors, who represent taxpayers across DeKalb County District One, have endorsed our positive campaign. It is an honor to work on a daily basis, with our five Mayors, for the taxpayers of DeKalb County, and I look forward to the next four years as we work to create a better DeKalb,” stated Commissioner Nancy Jester.

Cool News Today

A member of the Harlem Globetrotters visited the Houston County Sharks wheelchair basketball team, who will be playing for the state championship.

Anthony “Buckets” Blakes, a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, stopped by the Northside High School gym to talk to the players, and he even joined them for practice.

“It’s awesome,” Blakes said. “Just to see that kids are staying active despite their disabilities is awesome.”

The visit was organized through a series of conversations earlier this week between Christy Jones, one of the Sharks’ coaches, and the staff at the Macon Coliseum, where the Sharks will play their championship game. Blakes was going to be in town ahead of the Globetrotters’ game there Tuesday, so Jones got in contact with the team’s staff.

The 6-foot-2 guard also told the story of the Globetrotters, which began as an outlet for black athletes in Chicago held out of teams and leagues that were open only to white players. From there, it grew into the traveling organization known to fans around the world.

That message resonated with 16-year-old Braxton Robinson.

“They started from the bottom and if they do it, if you put your mind to it and put a team together, anybody can do it,” he said.

Blakes said he was impressed with what he saw from the Sharks, whose championship game against Gwinnett County tips off Friday at noon at the Macon Coliseum, where the Globetrotters will play Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Seven Ty Cobb baseball cards printed as tobacco company ads, and worth more than $1 million dollars were found in a paper sack.

“The pound-for-pound power of this find is unprecedented,” he said.

“When you factor in rarity, value, quantity and quality, it can be argued this is the single greatest baseball card find the hobby has ever witnessed,” said Rick Snyder, an authorized PSA dealer in South Carolina who was the first to examine them.

The Lucky 7 date from 1909 to 1911, part of a larger set designated the T206 series – affectionately known by collectors as “The Monster” – and originally distributed as tobacco brand promotions with cards of all the era’s baseball stars.

Several far more common Ty Cobb designs exist, bearing variations of artwork portraits of the famed Detroit Tigers slugger, nicknamed “the Georgia Peach.” The newly found cards belong to an extremely scarce version – now numbering just 22 – that also came printed with his name on the reverse side, above the phrase “King of the Smoking Tobacco World.”

They were found face down beneath some postcards and other papers at the bottom of a ripped paper bag on the floor of a dilapidated house by members of a family rummaging through belongings of their deceased great-grandparents.

The bag was almost discarded as trash before someone peeked inside.

3
Mar

Sen. Tommie Williams Retiring from Georgia State Senate

Sen. Tommie Williams (R – Lyons) announced his retirement from the Georgia State Senate earlier today. Sen. Williams will not qualify to run for re-election for the Senate District 19 seat but will serve out the rest of his term. District 19 includes Appling, Jeff Davis, Long, Montgomery, Telfair, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne, and Wheeler counties and parts of Liberty and Tattnall counties

In 1998, as a 42 year old business owner, Sen. Williams felt a strong calling to seek election for the Georgia State Senate. Though the odds seemed stacked against him at the time, he soon became one of the first Republican senators from southeast Georgia. During his 18 years of service, Sen. Williams has had the great honor of serving thousands of constituents in 19 counties around South Georgia. Moving through the ranks from Majority Leader to President Pro Temp, he served alongside and befriended some incredible people on both sides of the aisle.

Through the years Sen. Williams has had the great privilege of shaping much of the agenda and legislation that passed the general assembly. “We have a very well-run state and I am happy to have been a part of that,” said Sen. Williams. “Georgia is a low tax, low debt state, with the best credit rating in the nation. It has been rated as the number one state to do business.”Continue Reading..

3
Mar

Senator Bill Jackson will not run for reelection to SD 24

Yesterday, as expected, Sen. Bill Jackson announced he will not run for reelection to Senate District 24, representing Elbert, Hart, Lincoln, Oglethorpe, Taliaferro and Wilkes counties and portions of Columbia and Richmond Counties.

Sen. Bill Jackson (R – Appling) announced his retirement from legislative service this morning at the Georgia State Capitol. One of Gov. Nathan Deal’s floor leaders, Sen. Jackson will serve out the rest of his two-year Senate term but will not qualify to run for re-election to the Senate District 24 seat.

“After much prayerful consideration, I have decided to step down at the conclusion of my term. The people of the Georgia State Senate are exceptional, and I greatly appreciate the kindness shown to not only me, but also to my family. I would like to thank Gov. Deal and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle for their leadership and friendship, and my Senate colleagues for their support and camaraderie over the past several years,” said Sen. Jackson.

Gov. Deal and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle both praised Sen. Jackson’s legislative work and offered the following remarks:Continue Reading..

3
Mar

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for March 3, 2016

If you’re interested in adopting a dog from Cobb County Animal Shelter, please note their ID number and run when you speak to the shelter.

Prince

Prince is a purebred, adult male German Shepherd who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter, 1060 Al Bishop Drive Marietta, Georgia 30008, call (770) 499-4136 for more information.

Prince and his BFF Chan were turned into the shelter on 3/1 because their owners were moving. Prince has hip dysplasia so the concrete shelter runs are no place for him. They are both good doggies who will sit when you ask them to.

Prince is 5 years old, his ID is 582520, he is in run 79 and weighs 68 lbs. He is up to date on shots, and will be neutered and microchipped when adopted. His friend Chan is in run 80, and her ID is 582519. Please consider these gorgeous doggies! Sadly he has tested positive for heart worms and will need to be treated for those right away.

Chan

Chan is a purebred, adult female German Shepherd who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter, 1060 Al Bishop Drive Marietta, Georgia 30008, call (770) 499-4136 for more information.

Chan is 5 years old, her ID is 582519, she is in run 80 and weighs 78 lbs. She is up to date on shots, heartworm tested negative and will be spayed, and micro-chipped when adopted.

Here’s a picture of Prince and Chan that shows how good friends they are. They’re both said to be good with kids.

Chan and Prince

RangerCobb

Ranger is a 1.5-year old, 54-pound purebred, female German Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter, 1060 Al Bishop Drive Marietta, Georgia 30008, call (770) 499-4136 for more information.

Poor Ranger was turned into the shelter on 31 because her owner said she has no time for her. She was likely left alone way too much of the time, and has developed separation anxiety. She is chasing her tail on chewing on it. She will need love, training and sometimes drugs to break the habit. She is a very sweet girl, and knows basic commands. Her owners said she is good with kids and house trained. Ranger is up to date on shots, microchipped, and will be spayed, and heartworm tested negative.

Ranger is in run 77 and her ID is 582508.

Willie

Willie is a 5-year old, 51-pound Black-and-White Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter.

Willie lost everything when his family got evicted – his home, his family… and now we are praying he won’t lose his life. He has been in the shelter for a very long time — too long, since Dec 2nd. He is on borrowed time. Willie needs rescue now. He has $400 in sponsorship to approved\licensed rescue. He should go to a home with no small children.

Willie Standing

Volunteers think he is an awesome boy. He’s been to several offsite adoption events and he loves everyone he meets (although he does seem fearful of some men). He’ll press his body up against the kennel so you can pet him. He seems to like kids – and people in general.

Willie is so tired of being kenneled, he just wants to be near someone. He’ll crawl into your lap – and he’ll stay there all day if you let him! He’s very quiet in the car and he loads up like a pro. He walks well on a leash too; he gets very excited to go for a walk, but doesn’t really pull.Willie arrived at the shelter on 12/2 He is still a little shy and nervous in the shelter environment.

Willie Lap Dog

He is up to date on shots, has been neutered, heartworm tested negative and microchipped.

His ID is 580825 and he is in run 802.

 

 

3
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 3, 2016

On March 3, 1820, Congress passed the Missouri Compromise.

In February 1819, Representative James Tallmadge of New York introduced a bill that would admit Missouri into the Union as a state where slavery was prohibited. At the time, there were 11 free states and 10 slave states. Southern congressmen feared that the entrance of Missouri as a free state would upset the balance of power between North and South, as the North far outdistanced the South in population, and thus, U.S. representatives. Opponents to the bill also questioned the congressional precedent of prohibiting the expansion of slavery into a territory where slave status was favored.

Even after Alabama was granted statehood in December 1819 with no prohibition on its practice of slavery, Congress remained deadlocked on the issue of Missouri. Finally, a compromise was reached. On March 3, 1820, Congress passed a bill granting Missouri statehood as a slave state under the condition that slavery was to be forever prohibited in the rest of the Louisiana Purchase north of the 36th parallel, which runs approximately along the southern border of Missouri. In addition, Maine, formerly part of Massachusetts, was admitted as a free state, thus preserving the balance between Northern and Southern senators.

The Missouri Compromise, although criticized by many on both sides of the slavery debate, succeeded in keeping the Union together for more than 30 years.

On March 3, 1845, Congress overrode a Presidential veto for the first time.

On March 3, 1874, Governor Joseph Brown signed legislation permitting persons or companies to lease Georgia prisoners for terms from one to five years, with the Governor setting the rates.

The act required the humane treatment of convicts and limited them to a ten-hour work day, with Sunday off. Equally important, leases had to free the state from all costs associated with prisoner maintenance. Once all state convicts were leased, the law provided that all state penitentiary officers and employees be discharged.

Just think of how much progress Georgia has made with privatizing the justice system — now, instead of leasing convicts, we have private probation companies overseeing released prisoners.

And if you think the legislature has been crazy this year, two years ago, Crossover Day and the first day of candidate Qualifying both occurred on March 3d.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Senate and House Retirements

Senator Bill Jackson announced from the floor yesterday that he will not run for reelection to SD 24, epresenting Elbert, Hart, Lincoln, Oglethorpe, Taliaferro and Wilkes counties and portions of Columbia and Richmond Counties.

“After much prayerful consideration, I have decided to step down at the conclusion of my term. The people of the Georgia State Senate are exceptional, and I greatly appreciate the kindness shown to not only me, but also to my family. I would like to thank Gov. Deal and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle for their leadership and friendship, and my Senate colleagues for their support and camaraderie over the past several years,” said Sen. Jackson.

Gov. Deal and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle both praised Sen. Jackson’s legislative work and offered the following remarks:

“I have known Bill as a personal friend and legislator for a number of years and his leadership as a floor leader for the past six years has been invaluable,” said Gov. Nathan Deal.

“Sen. Bill Jackson is the definition of a true statesman; someone who sought public office to leave a lasting impact on his beloved state. For nearly three decades, he has been an outstanding servant of the people and someone who fights for his constituency at every turn with an unwavering commitment to his Christian, conservative values. Although he will be deeply missed, I’m excited for his new opportunity to return home to Appling, his family and Shiloh Methodist Church full-time,” said Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer (R – Duluth) released the following statement regarding the retirement of Sen. Bill Jackson (R – Appling):

“Sen. Bill Jackson is a giant of Georgia history. He has served four separate times as a member of the Georgia General Assembly.  He has been an extraordinary public servant and a mentor to me.  ‎We wish him the best as he retires from the State Senate and begins the next chapter of his distinguished life.”

Also announcing his retirement from the State Senate was Senator Tommie Williams, who represents District 19 and Chairs the Transportation Committee.

Through the years Sen. Williams has had the great privilege of shaping much of the agenda and legislation that passed the general assembly. “We have a very well-run state and I am happy to have been a part of that,” said Sen. Williams. “Georgia is a low tax, low debt state, with the best credit rating in the nation. It has been rated as the number one state to do business.”

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle commended Sen. Williams’ work in the Senate and offered the following remarks: “Senator Tommie Williams has distinguished himself as an outstanding public servant, someone who has remained steadfast in advocating for his constituency and the people of Georgia. He has served the people of the 19th District with honor and dignity, leaving a lasting impact on this great state. While we will miss his presence in the Senate, I know his wife Stephanie and children Emma, Jack and Madison will surely enjoy having him back home full time.”

Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer (R – Duluth) released the following statement regarding the retirement of Sen. Tommie Williams (R – Lyons):

“Sen. Tommie Williams is one of the pioneering leaders of the Georgia Republican Party. His election to the State Senate was history making. He has served with distinction in every one of his leadership capacities, including as our President Pro Tempore. We wish him all the best as he continues his lifetime of service outside of the State Senate.”

Congressman Tom Price, M.D. (GA-06) issued the following statement commending Sen. Williams for his 18 years of service to the people of Georgia:

“Tommie is a friend and someone with whom I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside in the Georgia Senate. A quality, respected leader, he has given so much back to his community over his many years of distinguished public service. I wish Tommie and his family all the best in the days to come and thank them for all they have done on behalf of the citizens of our great state.”

Across the Rotunda, State Rep. Carl Rogers announced he will not seek reeletion.

Desiring more time with family and a chance to be a “normal citizen” again, Rep. Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville, said Wednesday that he would not seek re-election to the state legislature this year.

Gainesville City Councilman Sam Couvillon’s name has been floated in some local political circles as a possible candidate for the District 29 seat.

“I will give that consideration,” Couvillon told The Times, adding that he would have to weigh family and business interests before deciding.

Rogers, 68, was first elected as a Blue Dog Democrat in 1994.

“Of course, I’ll continue working in the insurance industry, and I’m looking forward to quality time with my wife, two children and seven grandchildren,” he said.

Rogers switched to the Republican Party in 2004 during a wave of defections and GOP victories that saw political conservatives wrest control of the legislature and governor’s office.

He is now one of the 10 most senior members of the House and Senate.

The Special Election March 29th to fill the State House seat vacated by the late State Representative Bob Bryant has its first candidate.

Qualifying continues up to noon Friday for the nonpartisan special election to be held March 29.

The winner will be sworn in after the current legislative session has ended but will be listed as the incumbent on the primary and general election ballots later this year.

Candidates who qualify for the special election this week will have to return to Atlanta next week to qualify for the general election.

The first to make the trip is Josey M. Sheppard, a businessman who identifies as a Democrat.

Local & Legislation

Nearly 1300 Gwinnett voters cast their ballots in the wrong precincts or their votes were otherwise considered “provisional,” and won’t be counted until the voter is verified, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Elections Director Lynn Ledford said there were 1,296 provisional ballots cast in the election. Many of them were cast by people who voted outside of their assigned polling precinct, officials explained. Those ballots have to be gone through, verified and counted by the end of the week before they can be included in the final results.

Even though the number of provisional ballots cast is high, they won’t change the outcome of either primary in the county.

Although Donald Trump narrowly beat Marco Rubio, 32.5 percent to 30.1 percent, in the Republican Primary, Trump won the county with a 2,362 votes margin between himself and the U.S. senator from Florida.Ted Cruz came in third with 25.7 percent of the votes counted Tuesday night, followed by John Kasich (5.5 percent) and Ben Carson (5.1 percent).

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton won the county over Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side by a nearly two-to-one margin, with 66.2 percent of the votes.

Elections officials counted 98,512 Republican ballots Tuesday night, compared to 56,557 Democratic ballots.

Voter turnout in Columbus earlier this week was significantly higher than 2012, but not quite to the 2008 level, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The turnout was 31,748, or about 37 percent of the city’s 85,000-plus voters, not counting provisional or military ballots yet to be counted, Boren said.

“The turnout was a huge surprise,” Boren said. “It’s not as much as in 2008, but it’s more than 2012. We had about 5,000 more people vote in 2008, but our turnout in 2012 was pretty low, less than 20,000.”

According to unofficial and incomplete returns, Columbus and Georgia voters mirrored many of the states in this week’s Super Tuesday primaries, favoring front-runners Hillary Clinton on the Democratic presidential ballot and Donald Trump on the Republican side.

Trump got 5,325 votes (34.4 percent) in Muscogee County, followed by Ted Cruz at 4,177 (29 percent) and Marco Rubio with 3,424 (22 percent). They were the only Republican candidates on the ballot to get into double figures in percentage of the vote.

George Pataki, with three votes (.02 percent) was dead last on the crowded ballot, which included several candidates who have abandoned their campaigns.

Douglas County voters approved the E-SPLOST on Tuesday’s ballot, according to the Times-Georgian.

A total of 19,932 votes, or 69.31 percent, were cast in favor of the ESPLOST, while 8,825 votes, or 30.69 percent, were cast against it when results were tallied from all 25 county precincts Tuesday.

Douglas County Schools Superintendent Gordon Pritz was out front in pushing for the ESPLOST, known as ESPLOST V, in the weeks leading up to the election. The 1-cent sales tax to fund education projects in the county has been collected since 1997.

The State House passed House Resolution 1135 to setup a committee to study protecting Georgia’s military installations against the next round of defense cuts, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The Augusta Commission passed an ordinance banning drone flights over crowds, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Last week, a commission committee limited the ban to a period around Masters Week. But Tuesday at the urging of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the commission voted 7-2 to ban drones year-round.

“They’re making a mountain out of a molehill,” commented Dave Connor, who sells drones to hobbyists at HobbyTown USA. “Who’s going to enforce all this?”

The ban, which requires a second reading, applies to sporting or other events with a seating capacity of 100 or more or where 100 or more people are gathered.

Violators are subject to a $1,000 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

Sheriff’s Capt. Scott Gay told commissioners the office was concerned with safety of the public 52 weeks of the year, not just during the golf tournament.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Judge Kimberly M. Esmonds Adams ruled against Kinder Morgan’s appeal of a Georgia DOT decision declining to exercise eminent domain for the building of a pipeline.

[Judge Adams] agreed with McMurry that the company had not proved that the pipeline was what the law calls a “public convenience and necessity” important enough to justify the taking of private property.

“Having concluded that the record does support the commissioner’s decision, and in the absence of any proffer by Palmetto as to how some different procedure or additional evidence would have changed the commissioner’s decision, this court finds that the commissioner’s decision is adequately supported by the record evidence and therefore affirms the decision of the commissioner, and denies Palmetto’s petition for review,” she wrote in a court order signed Monday.

Also on Monday, the [State] House of Representatives voted 165-2 in support of a bill designed to stall the pipeline by imposing a moratorium until July, 2017, while new procedures are written.

An ethics complaint against Savannah Alderman Tony Thomas has been dismissed.

The Savannah Ethics Committee is expected to soon consider additional allegations by two residents against Alderman Tony Thomas after Wednesday’s dismissal of a complaint they made last month.

Meanwhile, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating allegations of criminal activity made against Thomas, as the City Council member seeks a legal order to stop what he claims is harassment by a private investigator.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the ethics committee — made up of Chairman Kate Strain, Lee E. Wright Sr. and Katherine Haile — ruled that the initial allegations filed in February by Debra Kujawa and Karen Thompson did not constitute an ethics violation.

The committee’s ruling came after the committee’s attorney, Charles Barrow, said the ethics code’s purpose was to prevent conflicts of interest or an elected official using the position for personal gain. The ordinance did not regulate “general behavior,” Barrow said.

“Behavior by itself is not an ethics violation,” he said.

Is it really second-place?

Late on Tuesday night, Sen. Marco Rubio edged into second-place on the Republican ballot in the popular vote, besting Sen. Ted Cruz by 10,860 votes to carry 24.44% against Cruz’s third-place showing of 23.60%.

But Cruz actually walked away with 18 Peach State delegates to the National Convention against 14 delegates for Rubio. So what gives?

Most of Georgia’s Republican delegates are apportioned to the winner and second-place finisher in each Congressional District and Cruz came in second in more CDs than Rubio did, giving him a higher delegate count. It’s analogous to the Electoral College at the national level.

Looking at the map, it appears that Cruz had greater strength than Rubio across most of South Georgia, which probably contributed to his delegate count, and is likely attributable in part to Jack Kingston’s endorsement of the Texan. In 2014, Kingston ran stronger across Georgia in both the Primary and Primary Runoff.

2
Mar

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for March 2, 2016

Blondie Barrow

Blondie is a beautiful 8-9 month old Labrador/Pit mix female who has captured the hearts of the volunteers at the Barrow County Shelter, where she is available for adoption today. Unless someone saves her this week, she’s at a very high risk of being euthanized.

Poor, poor Blondie was a stray whose family never came to find her. The volunteers at the shelter just don’t understand it as this dog is such a love bug, so sweet and is desperate to show anyone who walks past her pen just how much love she has to give.

All of the volunteers have been in tears at the thought of this beautiful young, playful dog being put to sleep just because she happens to be in the wrong place! Barrow County shelter is a rural shelter that doesn’t get the foot traffic or exposure that other shelters get, and sometimes dogs like poor Blondie pay the price for that.

If you can foster, or would like to adopt her, please call the shelter direct as soon as they open…there no time to lose.

If interested please contact the shelter at 770-307-3012 or email ccrane@barrowga.org.

Click here to see a video showing how sweet she is.

Barrow Terrier

This little 1-year old, 13-pound scruffy Terrier mix is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA.

Barrow Lab Puppy

This 14-week old male Lab mix puppy currently weighs 12 pounds, is neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped, and ready to be adopted today at the Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA. His adoption fee is only $50.

The shelter is OPEN to the public 8am to 5pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and 1pm-5pm Wednesdays.
OPEN Saturdays 9am-noon.

2
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 2, 2016

On March 2, 1807, the Congress passed legislation outlawing the importation of slaves from Africa or anywhere outside the United States.

On March 2, 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico.

Texas Flag 1836-39

The United States Congress passed the first Reconstruction Act on March 2, 1867.

On March 2, 1874, Gov. Smith signed legislation allowing anyone fined for a criminal conviction to arrange for a third party to pay the fine in exchange for the convict’s labor.

On March 2, 1850, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the beginning of construction of Buford Dam, which would create Lake Lanier.

President Lyndon B. Johnson attended ceremonies at Lockheed in Marietta for the first C-5A aircraft to come off the assembly line on March 2, 1968.

Under the Gold Dome Today

SENATE COMMITTEE MEETINGS

12:00 PM RULES – UPON ADJOURNMENT 450 CAP

1:00 PM EDUCATION AND YOUTH 307 CLOB

2:00 PM HEALTH AND HUMAN SVCS 450 CAP

3:00 PM ECONOMIC DEV & TOURISM 310 CLOB

3:00 PM JUDICIARY 307 CLOB

4:00 PM FINANCE MEZZ 1

HOUSE COMMITTEE MEETINGS

9:30 AM RULES 341 CAP

11:30 AM W&M Pub.Fin. and Policy Sub 133 CAP

1:00 PM Fleming Sub Judiciary Civil 415 CLOB

1:00 PM Pak Sub Judiciary Non-Civil 132 CAP

1:00 PM TRANSPORTATION 606 CLOB

2:00 PM STATE PLANNING 403 CAP

3:00 PM Caldwell Sub Judiciary Civil 403 CAP

3:00 PM EDUCATION 606 CLOB

SENATE RULES CALENDAR

HB 172 – Watercraft; operation while under the influence of alcohol, toxic vapors or drugs; revise types of vessels (NR&E – Gooch) (Lumsden)

HB 370 – Elections; provide for waivers of certain civil penalties and fees incurred by candidates for local elected office; provisions (ETHICS – Burke) (Fleming)

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Open Rule

HR 979 House Study Committee on Programs That Provide Services for the Reading to the Blind and the Visually Impaired; create (SRules-Houston-170th)

Modified Open Rule

HR 978 House Study Committee on Historic Site Preservation; create (SRules-Buckner-137th)

HR 1135 House Study Committee on Base Realignment and Closure; create (SRules-Belton-112th)

HR 1341 House Study Committee on Professional Employer Organizations; create (SRules-Smith-134th)

Presidential Primary Wrapup

Part of Clayton County still remains unreported.

Total Votes Percentage
Trump 499,385 38.80%
Rubio 314,826 24.46%
Cruz 303,849 23.61%
Carson 80,119 6.22%
Kasich 72,077 5.60%

Presidential Preference Primary Turnout

GOP DEM
2000 643,188 284,431
2004 161,374 626,738
2008 963,541 1,060,851
2012 901,470 139,273
2016 1,287,168 740,246

The GOP turnout in yesterday’s election represents a high-water mark, and more than a 43% increase over the last contested Presidential Primary and 1/3 more voters than the previous highest level of GOP Presidential Preference turnout this century.

That augurs good news for November and probably makes it more difficult for Democrats to recruit a viable candidate against Senator Johnny Isakson this year.

Yesterday, Frank Auman was elected the first Mayor of the new City of Tucker, taking nearly 70% of the vote in a three-candidate race.

Honey Van De Kreke and Michelle Penkava were officially elected to City Council without opposition.

Anne Lerner, Bill Rosenfeld join them on City Council, having won their elections without runoffs.

District 2 will host two runoff elections. In Post 1, Katherine Atteberry led with nearly 43% to 24.8% for second-place finisher Matt Robbins. In Post 2, Susan Wood (19.7%) will meet Noelle Monferdini (18.7%) in a runoff.

Chatham County will host a runoff election for Sheriff on March 29th.

[T]he two most popular candidates, Roy Harris and John Wilcher, are headed to a runoff March 29 after none of the five contenders managed to get more than 50 percent of the vote in a special election to fill out the remainder of the late Al St Lawrence’s term.

Harris, who has been serving as sheriff since St Lawrence died in November, and Wilcher, a 40-year department veteran who retired in 2014, will no doubt be back to campaigning.

Harris said he was ready to “move forward” in the coming weeks. He said he’ll still keep a grasp on official duties, such as working to put together the 2017 fiscal year budget for the sheriff’s office.

“I can’t just abandon the job to go out and campaign,” Harris said. “I’ve been doing both and will continue to do both to the best of my ability.”

And Wilcher, who was watching returns with supporters at Fiddler’s Seafood on the southside, said he’d be back at it today.

“We’re going to hit the streets running in the morning,” Wilcher said by phone. “I think Chatham County voters have spoken. They are tired of the status quo.”

Preliminary results Tuesday night showed Harris with 33 percent of the vote, Wilcher with 29, Holmes with 21, Middleton with 14 and Williamson with 3 percent. About 55,500 voters hit the polls for the special election.

Also on March 29th, a Special Election will be held to fill the seat vacated by the death of State Rep. Bob Bryant.

[Q]ualifying for the special election will be held in the Elections Division of the Office of Secretary of State, 802 West Tower, 2 Martin Luther Kin, Jr. Drive, SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30334. Qualifying hours will be Wednesday, mArch 2 from 9-5 p.m.; Thursday, March 3 from 9-5 p.m.; and Friday, March 4 from 9-12 p.m. There is a $400 qualifying fee.

If you aren’t registered to vote and want to cast a ballot in the special election you must be registered to vote before the close of business Monday. March 7. Polls will be open from 7-7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29. I there’s a need for a  run-off election, it will take place Tuesday, April 26.

A Houston County E-SPLOST passed with nearly 74% approval by voters.

A reported 27,115 voters went to the polls Tuesday, a number buoyed by the presidential primary races. Still, that was well ahead of the expected turnout, according to Scott and other officials.

Hoke Morrow said he wasn’t surprised with the approval margin. More than 20,000 voters supported the ESPLOST.

Trae Kemp was elected to Laurens County Commission District 2, and Harvey Curry will take office on Irwinton City Council.

Putnam County voted on a Level 2 Freeport Exemption, but we have no idea what happened or what it means.

State Senator Bill Jackson (R- Appling) will not seek reelection in Senate District 24, which includes Elbert, Hart, Lincoln, Oglethorpe, Taliaferro, Wilkes counties and part of Columbia County.

In Cobb County, District 2 Commissioner Bob Ott may face a challenge from local attorney Jonathan Page, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Page said he was still discussing whether to run for office with his wife, but would make a decision soon. The county is in a unique position, he said.

“And I believe it needs a unique type of leadership, a leadership that’s going to work collaboratively with the business leaders, with the community, with the neighborhoods,” he said.

Former Gwinnett County Commissioner John Dunn is out of the race for State House District 108, being vacated by State Rep. BJ Pak.

Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul will seek reelection, for a third term.

T. Wilbur Gamble, whose 48-year tenure as Terrell County Commissioner makes him the longest-serving in the state, will not seek reelection.

Gamble said he is most proud that his county is free of long-term debt.

“I had no administrative experience, I had no administrative education. I knew if you spend more than you make you would end up in a tight, and you will end of in life not doing well,” said Gamble.

Commission Chairman Gamble will retire at the end of this year.

His son, T. Gamble, an attorney, has announced his candidacy for the seat.

In Columbus, City Council member Skip Henderson will seek reelection.

1
Mar

Georgia Early Votes by Age Group

Age Votes Percent
18-35 32623 7.57%
36-55 92204 21.38%
55-65 102612 23.80%
66+ 203769 47.26%