The blog.

25
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 25, 2016

James Oglethorpe won reelection to the British Parliament while in America on April 25, 1734.

The United States declared war on Spain on April 25, 1898.

On April 25, 1996, Georgia Governor Zell Miller signed Senate Bill 519 designating English the official language of Georgia.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

If you’re going to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention, make sure you take the time to check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame while you’re there. Admission will be free the week of July 17-21 from 10 AM to 3 PM.

If you’re a delegate to the Georgia Republican Party State Convention in Augusta, you should either have received your packet in the mail, or be receiving it shortly.

Speaker David Ralston visited Albany, according to WTVM,

The House Speaker says rural healthcare and economic development are areas he views as increasingly important to the region.

“We’re going to have to make that a priority issue in Georgia. We have failing hospitals all across the state. We’ve got to address that problem sooner rather than later,” said David Ralston.

State Representative Ed Rydners also spoke at the event. Ralston speaks of Rydners as a political ally.

Terry Lewis of the Albany Herald also covered the Speaker’s trip,

When asked if he thought Deal would veto the [Campus Carry] bill, Ralston said, “I hope not. The bill was thoroughly vetted in both the House and Senate and I am very proud of what we’ve done to protect Second Amendment rights.” He noted there have been three armed robberies near the Georgia State campus since December.

“I think the bill is needed, but I’m not going to make any predictions on what the governor will do because he had shown he will use his veto pen,” Ralston said.

Ralston says he would not be surprised if during the next session the General Assembly the House will take on at least some of the recommendations of the Governor’s Education Reform Committee which came out last year.

“I’m not sure what plans the governor has for that,” Ralston said. “I have raised some concerns about merit pay (for teachers). I’m not convinced there is a metric that is fair and reasonable to measure performance in the classroom. There are so many variables. So, I think until someone shows me a fair and reasonable way of measuring, I will continue to have the same concerns I had before this past session started.

“I used the analogy before session that Georgia State’s football team went 6-6 this past year and got a bowl bid. The University of Georgia went 10-3 and the coach got fired. How do you measure a teacher’s performance when they have to work with what comes into the classroom?”

“I’ve seen a lot of frustrated Georgians with a Washington that doesn’t seem to be working.,” he said. “They are frustrated with a Washington that can’t balance the federal budget. They are frustrated that people can’t set aside their differences and come together on at least a few things and get them done. I think they have an appreciation that we do things different in state government. We are moving forward on job creation, transportation infrastructure, some educational initiatives, and criminal justice reform.”

“But I think they really are frustrated with the federal government who seems to not want to hear from them, and just doesn’t seem to care about their lives. I also talk to a lot of people who are concerned that America’s place in the world seems to be in retreat. I believe that America is at its best when we are leading. If I worked in D.C., I’d probably be angry all of the time.”

Sometimes when your campaign signs go missing, the culprit is the Department of Transportation, according to the Eatonton Messenger,

As is the case every campaign season, the newspaper is receiving phone calls from folk complaining their political campaign signs are being vandalized or stolen.

It could be a loyal fan of the opposing candidate taking the signs, but it also could be a member of a state or local road maintenance crew.

A maintenance foreman with the Georgia Department of Transportation said “he has seen a good bit of signs on the rights of way in Putnam County,” according to GDOT Communications Officer Kyle Collins.

“Yes, GDOT maintenance staff do often pick up campaign or other signs that are in the right of way,” Collins confirmed via email. “They do this during maintenance work activities on certain routes and also just when cruising around checking on things.”

Cherokee County Public Schools has released a proposed list of projects to be funded by the E-SPLOST on the November ballot.

Campaign funds collected by incumbents often end up fueling the campaigns of their allies, according to the AJC,

[I]n legislative races where many incumbents have name identification and a built-in system to be able to outspend challengers 10-1, 20-1 or more, winning is a mountain that few contenders can successfully climb.

“It’s David versus Goliath,” said former Trion Mayor Lanny Thomas, a retired teacher taking on Senate Rules Chairman Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, in the primary. “I am out here with a few pebbles and he’s all suited up.”

Thomas, who still teaches part time, reported raising $400 as of March 31. Mullis reported having $103,000 in his campaign account.

While about two-dozen lawmakers started April with more than $100,000 in their campaign accounts, there are a few races most years where challengers are financially competitive.

For example, state Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, is facing a stiff challenge from Milton investor Aaron Barlow, who had reported loaning his campaign about $150,000 as of last week.

Beach has kept pace, in large part by raising money from special-interest groups, businesses with interest in state contracts, and fellow lawmakers.

Since the session ended a month ago, he has received about $15,000 from state senators, House members and the Senate Republican political committee.

Such money isn’t that hard to come by for lawmakers in need because so many incumbents with big war chests face no opposition. One Beach donor, Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, R-Duluth, ended March with $1.2 million in his campaign account and has no opposition for re-election. Another donor, Miller, reported $355,000 in his account.

In Cherokee County, predictably, incumbent judges are outpacing their challengers in fundraising, according to the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger News.

United States Senator Johnny Isakson and State Senator P.K. Martin will headline a lunch with the Gwinnett County Republican Party on Saturday April 30 from 12:30 to 2:30 PM at Lilburn Alliance Church, 5915 Lawrenceville Highway. Tickets are $15.

State Rep. Mike Dudgeon, who is not seeking reelection, will serve on the Board of the Fulton Academy of Science and Technology charter school.

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Cobb) filed suit against the US Department of Education and the USDOE Office for Civil Rights. From the Marietta Daily Journal,

The lawsuit says a 2011 letter sent by the department’s civil rights arm has effectively imposed binding regulations without going through the necessary administrative procedures.

The lawsuit also says the letter has forced schools to make sweeping changes or risk losing federal funding, which has come at great cost to the schools and has jeopardized the due process rights of students accused of sexual violence.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer took a look at this year’s municipal elections.

Next month’s city elections will see at least one new face put on Columbus Council and could be judgment day, for better or for worse, for three elected officials who have filed lawsuits against the city of Columbus and its leaders.

Half of the council’s 10 seats are on the ballot, but two, Post 2 Councilor Glenn Davis and Post 6 Councilor Gary Allen have no opposition. At-large Post 10 Councilor Skip Henderson faces newcomer Teddy Reese.

Post 4 Councilor and Mayor Pro Tem Evelyn Turner Pugh also faces a newcomer, Marquese Averett.

The election to see who takes over the Post 8 seat will be unusual. The seat was vacated when veteran Councilor Red McDaniel died in November 2014. Former state Rep. Tom Buck has been serving as interim since, but he is not seeking the seat permanently. Squaring off for the seat are Jonathan Paul Davis and Walker Garrett.

What makes the election unusual is that there will actually be two elections for the Post 8 seat: One for filling out the rest of the year and another to see who serves the next four years in the midtown district.

“Tom was appointed to fill the term until the next regular election for council or mayor, which is May 24,” said Elections and Registration Director Nancy Boren. “The regular election for that seat is a four-year term. The special election is to complete the term of Councilor Red McDaniel.”

Superior Court Clerk Linda Pierce, Marshal Greg Countryman and Municipal Court Clerk Vivian Creighton Bishop face opposition in the Democratic Primary, but because no Republicans qualified for the races, the primary is tantamount to the election.

Pierce faces Ann Hardman, Countryman faces Bernard Spicer and Bishop faces Sylvia Hudson.

Additionally, a contested election for Superior Court will be held in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, comprising Chattahoochee Harris, Marion, Muscogee, Talbot, and Taylor Counties.

Three candidates for Coweta County Board of Education met in a debate Thursday night. Tuesday night, Matt Brass and Hayden Marlow, both candidates for the State Senate District 28 seat being vacated by Mike Crane will debate at 7 PM at the Central Educational Center studio on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and on Wednesday, April 27, the candidates for Third Congressional District will debate at 7 PM at the Wadsworth Auditorium on Jefferson Street in downtown Newnan.

Douglas County and the City of Villa Rica will hold a town hall meeting on May 5 to discuss a SPLOST proposed for the November ballot.

25
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 25, 2016

Thelma

Thelma (above) and Louise (below) are 90-pound, 3-year old Bloodhound females who are available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA. They are both calm and quiet, and they were found stray.

Louise

Urgent Stanley

Stanley is a super sweet one year old Shepherd mix boy is bouncy, lovable, and totally cute! This cutie loves to play, but hasn’t quite figured out what toys are yet. We think he will have a blast when he discovers what tennis balls are! Stanley is really tired of kennel life. He has been with us for nearly six months and is more than ready to find his forever home.

Stanley is available for adoption at no charge from DeKalb County Animal Services. He is urgent and only has until 7 PM Wednesday to find a foster or forever home.

Click here to see a video of Stanley.

22
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 22, 2016

On April 22, 1891, Asa Candler bought the recipe for Coca-Cola for $2300 and eventually turned its marketing from a “brain tonic” into a plain old tasty beverage.

Adolf Hitler admitted defeat in World War II on April 22, 1945.

The Atlanta Braves won their first home game in Atlanta Stadium on April 22, 1966. The Braves beat the New York Mets 8-4. It’s interesting to look back at how the Braves landed in Atlanta.

During his 1961 campaign for mayor of Atlanta, Ivan Allen, Jr. promised to build a sports facility to attract a Major League Baseball team. After winning office, Allen chose a 47-acre plot in the Washington–Rawson neighborhood for the building site, citing its proximity to the Georgia State Capitol, downtown businesses and major highways. Allen, along with Atlanta Journal sports editor Furman Bisher, attempted to persuade Charlie Finley, owner of the Kansas City Athletics, to move his team to Atlanta. Finley was receptive and began discussing stadium design plans with Allen. The deal, however, ended in July 1963 when the American League did not approve the move.

In 1964, Mayor Allen announced that an unidentified team had given him a verbal commitment to move to Atlanta, provided a stadium was in place by 1966. Soon afterward, the prospective team was revealed to be the Milwaukee Braves, who announced in October that they intended to move to Atlanta for the 1965 season. However, court battles kept the Braves in Milwaukee for one last season.

A verbal commitment by an unnamed team brought the Braves here.

The Blues Brothers made their worldwide debut on Saturday Night Live on April 22, 1978. Two prominent Georgia musicians, Ray Charles (born Albany) and James Brown (died Atlanta) would co-star in The Blues Brothers movie.

Former President Richard Nixon died on April 22, 1994.

Passover begins at sunset today. Chag Sameach!

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Yesterday, I attended part of the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting in Hollywood, Florida.

Todd RNC Backdrop

The national media descended like a plague of locusts, expecting juicy news from the Rules Committee, but they got none.

From the Los Angeles Times,

For members of a Republican Party establishment that finds itself under attack from Donald Trump for running a “rigged” nominating system, the unsaid theme of their Florida confab this week is the old truism: No news is good news.

That was the result of Thursday’s RNC rules committee meeting, an arcane affair that usually attracts scant public attention. In this fraught primary campaign, though, the meeting took on outsized significance as a test of whether the party could serve as an impartial referee in the nomination battle.

The 56-member committee rebuffed all the proposed rule changes before it, including one dealing with the parliamentary guidelines governing the convention. Many members said they were afraid that taking any action at all would hurt their credibility.

“We’re basically in the seventh inning of the ballgame and I don’t think it’s right to change the rules in the middle of the game,” said Randy Evans, an RNC committee member from Georgia.

Evans cautioned that, in light of the charged political environment, “any change that we make will be viewed with a large degree of cynicism.”

Both Ted Cruz and John Kasich made appearances, and both predicted a contested convention in Cleveland. From the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who was mathematically eliminated on Tuesday from clinching the nomination during the GOP primary season after Donald Trump won his home state of New York, now says there’s only one possible outcome for the Republican National Convention.

“What is clear today is we are headed to a contested convention — nobody is able to reach 1,237,” Cruz said Wednesday, referring to the number of delegates needed to win the nomination.

Both Cruz and Kasich traveled to South Florida to appeal directly to the 168 members of the RNC, all of whom are voting delegates in the convention, scheduled for July 18-21. And both argued that they alone — and certainly not Trump — could beat Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, in a general election.

Kasich said RNC members were receptive to his candidacy, and none have encouraged him to drop out of the race. Cruz has tried to argue that by staying in the race, Kasich is serving as a spoiler who makes a Trump nomination inevitable.

“My message to the delegates is that I can win. It’s reflected in every poll, and an uplifting message is one that provides energy to the party,” Kasich said. “And it becomes very attractive to people by addressing how we can fix these problems.”

But Cruz had his own assessment: “John Kasich has no path whatsoever…. His plan apparently rests on losing 49 states, going to the convention and having the delegates say, the guy who lost every state in the union besides his home state, that guy should be our nominee.”

Yesterday, I spoke to Ken Cuccinelli, a top Cruz advisor, surrogate speaker, and delegate wrangler, who previously served as Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Florida Governor Rick Scott spoke to the RNC at lunch.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott passed up a chance to urge Republican National Committee members to support his preferred presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

But he warned them: no “monkey-business.”

“We’ve got to be transparent,” Scott told a packed room of RNC officials Thursday at their spring meeting in Hollywood, Fla., implicitly telling them not to cut back-room deals that would undercut the frontrunner or, in Trump’s terms, “rig” the process.

“We can’t take a chance that we’re accused of any monkey-business. Tricks. Stunts. Anything,” Scott said in his brief remarks during which he received polite applause.

Though he’s the highest-profile endorser of Trump in the nation’s biggest swing state, Scott pointedly avoided using the platform at the RNC speech to make the case for Trump. Scott said he wanted to plug Florida and the need to talk about the economy.

At 5 PM in a medium-sized reception room in the hotel, the Trump campaign hosted a presentation with top Trump aides Paul Manafort, Rick Wiley, and Dr. Ben Carson. It was a private event, closed-door with security outside admitting only RNC Members and those with Guest badges while the media cooled their heels outside. Of course a recording came out of the meeting.

“When he’s sitting in a room, he’s talking business, he’s talking politics in a private room, it’s a different persona,” top Trump aide Paul Manafort said during the meeting, a recording of which was obtained by NBC News. “When he’s out on the stage, when he’s talking about the kinds of things he’s talking about on the stump, he’s projecting an image that’s for that purpose.”

In the meeting, Manafort cast Trump as playing a part aimed at winning over his core supporters.

“He [Trump] gets it,” Manafort said, and “the part that he’s been playing is evolving into the part that now you’ve been expecting, but he wasn’t ready for because he had to first feed the first phase.”

Manafort insisted that Trump’s deep unpopularity nationwide, fueled by months of unapologetic bluster on the campaign trail, would be easily remedied when the candidate shifts gears. In contrast, Hillary Clinton’s negatives are character driven and baked-in, Manafort argued.

He also reassured RNC members that Trump will raise money for the party — something he’s so far avoided doing, Manafort said, because it would violate a campaign promise not to take donations.

“He’s actually living his word, and that’s what the base that we are attracting to the Trump campaign is looking for. They’re looking for honesty, and they’re looking for consistency, and they’re looking for someone who does exactly what they say,” Manafort said.

Manafort did assure the RNC that Trump has told him and another top aide, Rick Wiley, that the billionaire will spend what it takes to lock up the nomination before Cleveland.

“He’s told Rick and I that he’s willing to spend what’s necessary to finish this out. That’s a big statement from him,” Manafort said. “It allows us to put a plan together so that we can make sure that we finish this thing early enough so that you can feel comfortable that he’s going to be the nominee.”

The most interesting part of it to me was the appearance by his national political director Rick Wiley, who managed Scott Walker’s presidential campaign and previously served as Political Director for the RNC.

In 2014, when Republicans took control of the Senate, Wiley was a consultant for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He worked with Joni Ernst’s Iowa campaign in Iowa, among others, on strategy and get-out-the-vote operations.

That year Wiley also advised the Republican Governors Association — which was then chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, now a Trump surrogate and adviser — and oversaw the committee’s spending in states including Wisconsin, where Walker won a tough reelection fight.

Walker was not Wiley’s first presidential campaign. He served as deputy national political director for Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential bid; he former New York mayor is now backing Trump. Wiley also ran the RNC’s operations in the swing state of Wisconsin for then-President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection.

Wiley took the stage as someone who was comfortable with the RNC, and knows many of the members and guests. He was able to speak about his days there with Chairman Reince Priebus and namecheck a number of folks in the room, something that Trump himself wouldn’t be able to do.

Wiley gave a presentation about the election, starting with the 2012 Presidential election and going into individual states that he says Trump can put back on the map for Republicans.

PBS Newshour writes that both Wiley and Manafort said Trump will win on the first ballot.

From the New York Times,

Mr. Wiley walked them through a slide show that predicted victory for Mr. Trump not just in swing states with large Hispanic populations like Nevada, Colorado and Florida, but in states that Republicans have not captured since the 1980s: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Connecticut.

And in other solidly Democratic states, like Illinois and New Jersey, he said Mr. Trump could force Mrs. Clinton to spend money defending herself. “Can we win Illinois?” Mr. Manafort asked. “I don’t know. But what we can do is make Hillary Clinton go to Illinois, make her spend money there, make her spend money in the Northeast.”

The most remarkable thing to me was that Wiley spoke with the confidence of someone who is on the campaign of the presumptive nominee, laying out the general election strategy and how the RNC’s ground game, developed and sharpened in 2016 will compliment Trump. If the Trump campaign had been dealing with Republican leaders in states and at the RNC with this level of professionalism over the last year, I think it would have made a major difference in the campaign, and he’d be on his way to nomination at the Convention in Cleveland.

In addition to his appearance at the RNC on Wednesday, John Kasich’s campaign held a strategy session in Atlanta yesterday for Georgia supporters of the Ohio Governor.
Kasich Strategy

 

 

22
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 22, 2016

Governor Nathan Deal will sign Senate Bill 168, which names the Adoptable Dog as the Official State Dog of Georgia on Tuesday, April 26th in his ceremonial office at the Georgia State Capitol.

Prince JVR

Prince is an adult male Pit Bull (pronounced “Pibble”) who is available for adoption from Joint Venture Rescue in Stone Mountain, GA.

Prince has been in a foster home for almost 2 years. He is a great dog, will play with a few females but does not react to any dog that goes by his crate. The 3 year old toddler is now 5 years old and he is still good with her. He would love to have a home and a couch to call his own.

This little guy showed up on a friends back porch back in December, 2011. When they found him, he looked to have been sleeping and was settled in for the night. They thought he would be gone the next day and left him alone. But when they got up, he was still here, just sitting quietly by their back door. They checked to see if he had a tag with any info, so they could report him being found, but instead his collar had a message which read “My name is Prince. I don’t bite, Please love me”. Looking at him you can see that is really all he wants, to be loved.

Prince Cobb

Prince is a young male Mastiff and Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Cobb County Animal Control in Marietta, GA.

Prince is a beautiful boy that is super sweet. He’s a little shy right now but he will sit and stay. His family left him at the shelter on 4/11 saying that he is a little too playful and rough for their small children. Prince is just one year old and weighs 66 pounds. He has such stunning, beautiful eyes. He should to great in a home that gives him proper attention and exercise, and has no small toddlers that are unsteady on their feet.

Purple Rain

Purple Rain is an adult female Beagle mix who is available for adoption from Furkids Dog Shelter in Alpharetta, GA.

21
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 21, 2016

Holly ellijay

Holly is a nine-year old female Rhodesian Ridgeback and German Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from Homeward Bound Pet Rescue Inc. of Gilmer County in Ellijay, GA.

Holly is gentle, affectionate, well-mannered, house-broken and both leash and crate trained. She enjoys long walks, lots of exercise, and would make a great running companion. Holly bonds strongly with her humans and thus requires an all adult household with no other pets.

Holly bainbridge

Holly is a 1-2 year old female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Bainbridge Decatur County Humane Society Shelter in Bainbridge, GA.

She has beautiful blue eyes and a great coat. She’s sweet and a little shy and unsure but will make friends. She’s about 40-45 pounds and is heartworm negative.

Holly Ivy

Holly and her sister Ivy are young, smaller female Labrador Retriever mixes who are available for adoption from Falling Star Dog Rescue in Sugar Hill, GA. The girls were stray in South Georgia before being taken in by the rescue group. Holly and Ivy are considered a bonded pair and are now looking and hoping for a home together.

 

21
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 21, 2016

Georgia and American History Today

According to tradition, on April 21, 753 B.C., Rome was founded. The one in Italy, not the one in Floyd County.

On April 21, 1732, King George II signed the royal charter creating the colony of Georgia. The King’s signature did not make the charter effective as several additional steps were required.

On April 21, 1789, John Adams was sworn in as the first Vice President of the United States.

On April 21, 1904, Ty Cobb made his debut in professional baseball for the Augusta (Georgia) Tourists in the South Atlantic League in center field; Cobb hit an inside-the-field home run and a double.

Manfred von Richthofen, known as “The Red Baron,” was killed in action on April 21, 1918, shot by either an Australian gunner or a Canadian. At the time of his death, Richthofen has shot down 80 aircraft in aerial combat.

Former President Jimmy Carter was appointed Distinguished Professor at Emory University on April 21, 1982. Carter holds an annual Town Hall in which he takes questions from students.

On April 21, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Israel. From the press statement released that day,

The MOA reiterates for the public record our long-standing relationship of strategic cooperation with Israel. Strategic cooperation can only succeed when there are shared interests, including the commitment to building peace and stability in the region. It reflects the enduring U.S. commitment to Israel’s security. That commitment will never flag. The U.S. commitment to peace will also not flag. The President knows that a strong Israel is necessary if peace is to be possible. He also knows that Israel can never be truly secure without peace.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Sorry for the change in programming, but I’m at the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting in Hollywood, Florida today. My flight this morning cut into the time I usually spend on this email. For now, here are a couple photos, and I hope to be back on our usual schedule tomorrow with some juicy tidbits from the RNC meeting.

RNC Spring banner

RNC PRess Reg

RNC badges

RNC Spring Reince Priebus

20
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 20, 2016

Aygul

Aygul is a 14-week old female Boxer mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Aygun

Aygun is a 14-week old female Boxer mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Stardust

Stardust is a 14-week old female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Rooney

Rooney is a 4-month old male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

A Sandy Springs police K9 was hit in the face with brass knuckles by an alleged gang member after catching the suspect.

Rock sniffed out the subject, who was hiding in a drainage system ditch that dropped about eight feet down, DeWald said.

When Rock bit into Wimbs’ left arm, Wimbs pulled a set of spiked brass knuckles and punched Rock about six times.

Thought the dog let go after being punched repeatedly, Rock chased Wimbs, biting his leg to bring him down to the ground where DeWald arrested him.

“Our dogs have a high fight drive,” DeWald said. “The dogs meet the physical prowess of their rivals as a first line of defense.”

Rock had three puncture wounds above his eye and needed four stitches, DeWald said. His eye socket was swollen and Rock lost a lot of blood from his nose, but the K9 officer returned to work Tuesday on limited duty, basically hanging out in the truck and resting up, DeWald said.

20
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 20, 2016

Today, the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting gavels to order in Hollywood, Florida, with sessions for State Chairs, the Committee on Arrangements, Debates Committee,  Resolutions Committee, and Budget Committee. Tomorrow will see meetings of the Contests Committee and Standing Committee on Rules. No major surprises are expected from the Rules Committee.

Yesterday, RNC Co-Chair Reince Priebus met with Congressional Republicans to discuss the upcoming RNC meeting and the Rules Committee.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus met with GOP House members Tuesday on Capitol Hill to assuage concerns sparked by presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s accusations the nominating process is “rigged.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who will also serve as the chairman of the Republican convention in Cleveland in July, said that Priebus was “received favorably.”

Ryan said questions about the RNC rules continue to come up, including in his own telephone town hall with his Wisconsin constituents on Monday night.

[Priebus] explained that the rules cannot be changed without the support of a majority of the 2,472 delegates — the same amount needed to win the nomination — and promised the public would know more well before the convention, said Rep. Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican.

Talk of potential changes before the convention has sparked concerns among conservatives, including Cruz supporters.

But Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican who has endorsed Cruz, said he walked out of the meeting confident there wouldn’t be any changes before Cleveland.

After the delegates are together, rules changes are fair game, he said.

“If 1,237 (delegates) do it under the rules, then no one should complain about that. But I’m talking about any sort of behind-the-scenes, committee rules changes that would dissuade or distort the nomination process,” Franks said.

Georgia Republican National Committeeman Randy Evans at the Seventh District dinner on Friday night posed a brain-teaser that’s been occupying many in Washington and in state capitols across the nation:

I’m going to leave you with one brain teaser that’s really occupying the leadership at the RNC and the Congress and the Senate and the campaigns.

And this is the brain teaser, as you know typically with a presumptive nominee, what do they do about two weeks before the convention?

They vet a VP.

Now I participated in that, I participated when Senator McCain was considering Sarah Palin versus Joe Lieberman, I participated all the way through these things.

Now if you don’t even know if you’re going to win or not, because you don’t have twelve thirty seven, how do you go about vetting a VP?

And so you can see one of the not yet written on in the media, oh well, until tomorrow, challenges that we face, really is how we go about vetting with adequate opportunity a viable vice presidential candidate when we don’t even know who the nominee will be.

And I don’t know the answer, so if any of you have an answer to that question, I’d be happy for you to share it with me. I will give you the appropriate attribution, but you can see that the level of detail that we’re now getting into as we approach the convention where we don’t have a presumptive nominee in place.

It’s worth noting that Mitt Romney became the presumptive nominee on May 29, 2012 but on this date he had been leading every single national poll for more than seven weeks.

McClatchey discusses how the Republican National Convention Rules Committee will be selected and what they’re expected to decide later this year.

What matters first are 112 people who have a big say in whom the party nominates as the next president of the United States.

They’re the convention’s rules committee, two members from each state and six other jurisdictions. A week or so before the convention opens, they’ll meet to determine how things will proceed.

They can block someone from being formally considered at the convention. They can make it easier for delegates to ditch their commitments to their candidates.

At this point, “the Cruz campaign doesn’t want to see any rules changed on any subject in the middle of the race,” said Lionel Rainey III, a Louisiana Cruz strategist who had run Marco Rubio’s state campaign. The U.S. senator from Florida suspended his effort last month.

“Technically the rules committee can change anything it wants,” [Marylander Louis] Pope said.

But he also saw little prospect for uprooting the rules at this point. Remember, he said, “The rules committee will be controlled by Trump and Cruz delegates.”

Congressman Tom Graves (R-14) spoke to the Fourteenth District GAGOP Convention on Saturday.

He emphasized the many accomplishments made by the Republican Party, ignored and unreported by the main stream media.

One of the issues he said had gone unreported was the extinction of “Common Core,” and in his words it is “dead and gone.”

He talked about the need for Congress to use the “power of the purse” to curtail many programs pushed by the Obama Administration, at the same time assuring a strong military, a strong defense, and said, speaking of the Isis threat its time “we kill the bad guys.”

The West Georgia Neighbor spoke to the candidates for Douglas County Sheriff about their qualifications and the issues voters are talking about.

The Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology was ranked the top high school in Georgia by U.S. News and World Report, as well as #27 in the country and #10 among charter schools.

Gwinnett County Commissioners postponed a decision about a $75 million dollar expansion to the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.

Lonzy Edwards suspended his campaign for Mayor of Macon-Bibb County, citing health concerns, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Barring a last-minute surprise, the campaign suspension effectively clears the way for [Mayor Robert] Reichert’s fourth term as mayor. Edwards’ decision comes two weeks before early voting begins and just five weeks from Election Day. Edwards took part in a mayoral forum April 12, but several days later a doctor told Edwards he was too sick to undergo a “necessary” medical procedure, he said.

The Telegraph also takes a look at the reelection effort of Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-2).

Bishop, 69, will face the winner of the May 24 Republican primary, either Leesburg optician, Greg Duke, 55, who lost to Bishop in 2014, or Macon registered nurse, Diane Vann, 63.

Another Republican candidate for Bishop’s seat, Columbus attorney Bobby Scott, 40, died last week of diabetic ketoacidosis.

[Cook Political Report Editor David] Wasserman said it’ll be difficult for Vann or Duke to unseat Bishop, a 12-term fixture in the largely rural district dominated by agricultural interests.

“November’s outcome is pretty much pre-ordained,” Wasserman said of Bishop’s chances. “Sorry to burst the bubble.”

But after narrowly defeating Republican Mike Keown by less than 3 three percentage points and less than 5,000 votes in 2010, Bishop takes nothing for granted.

“The job doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the people,” he said in an interview. “And I believe I have discharged my duties and my responsibilities over the period of my service. I look at it as a public trust.”

State Senator Fran Millar (R-DeKalb) penned a letter suggesting that the current structure of the DeKalb E-SPLOST may be unconstitutional.

Millar said in a letter to the school superintendent that the school system’s plan to seek a five-year renewal of the ESPLOST violated the state constitution.

While no ESPLOST ever has been defeated by Georgia voters, no school system ever has asked for a tax without specifying each proposed capital project and its maximum cost.

Millar sought the advice of legislative council and the former counsel to Gov. Roy Barnes. Each noted that the laws on education taxes for capital construction are anchored in the state constitution.

That document says the resolution calling for the tax and ballot question shall describe “the specific capital outlay projects to be funded” and “the maximum cost of such projects.”

“I’m trying to throw a lifeline to DeKalb,” Millar told The Crier. “It’s in DeKalb’s interest to ask Atlanta and Fulton County to postpone their ESPLOST votes until DeKalb can put together a project list and individual cost estimates.”

In Millar’s opinion, if the vote of the other two jurisdictions stands and DeKalb’s is invalidated, the DeKalb system can’t go before voters for another five years. He said a suit is likely if DeKalb proceeds May 25.

Two candidates for Muscogee County Sheriff will learn soon whether a state judge upholds a decision by the elections board to disqualify them from the May 24 ballot.

The board on March 30 voted three to one to disqualify Democratic Party candidates Pam Brown and Robert Keith Smith because they failed to submit fingerprints for a criminal background check by a March 16 deadline.

Georgia law specifies those fingerprints must be submitted by the close of business three workdays after qualifying ends. Qualifying ended Friday, March 11, so the deadline was 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 16.

“The law is the law,” Judge J. Richard Porter III of Cairo said as Tuesday’s hearing ended, asking attorneys, “Is there any exception to the three-day rule? … The rule, it says ‘shall’ in three days.”

Porter declined to “stay” or delay the board’s decision after attorneys for the board said election workers already mailed ballots overseas with notices the sheriff’s candidates were disqualified but appealing. Were the judge to alter the candidates’ status, election workers would need specific instructions on whether voters were to be sent some additional notice and if so, what it would say.

Candidates for Muscogee County Board of Education discussed the role of the elected Board members.

19
Apr

Randy Evans: a brain teaser for Republicans

Audience Member: Is there any discussion or would you look forward to changing the way the debates are structured so that the media doesn’t have so much control over them? Like more like a pool system or something?

Randy Evans Referee Shirt

Randy Evans: We’re just going to take them over next time. To be honest, I’m just telling you.

This time, all I did, for those of you who are lawyers, is all I did was Marbury versus Madison, which was demonstrate that in fact we have the power to control them and the next time around we’re just going to take them.

And so, the short answer is, yeah that’s what we’ll do.

Well I don’t want to keep you here forever, so I’m going to leave you with one brain teaser that’s really occupying the leadership at the RNC and the congress and the senate and the campaigns.Continue Reading..

19
Apr

Gov. Deal names new judges

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced the appointments of Mary Beth Priest and John Worcester to Superior Court judgeships within the Appalachian Judicial Circuit and Eric Norris to the Superior Court judgeship within the Western Judicial Circuit. He also announced the appointment of Tammi Long Hayward to the Clayton County State Court.

The vacancies within the Appalachian Judicial Circuit were created by the appointment of the Honorable Amanda Mercier to the Georgia Court of Appeals and the resignation of the Honorable Roger Bradley. The vacancy within the Western Judicial Circuit was created by the passage of House Bill 279 during the 2015 session of the Georgia General Assembly. The Clayton County State Court vacancy was created by the resignation of the Honorable Morris Braswell. The appointments will take effect upon swearing in.Continue Reading..