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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 4, 2015

On August 4, 1753, George Washington became a Master Mason at the Masonic Lodge No. 4 in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

On August 4, 1944, Anne Frank, her family, and two others were found by Nazis in a sealed area in an Amsterdam warehouse. They were sent first to a concentration camp in Holland, then most were sent to Auschwitz. Anne and her sister Margot died from Typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March of 1945.

On August 4, 1958, a wagon train left Dahlonega, headed to Atlanta to pay tribute to the mighty General Assembly deliver 43 ounces of gold to be used to coat the dome of the State Capitol.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Comet Davis

Meet Comet, the newest member of the J. Max Davis campaign family, who was adopted after the family was going door-to-door and knocked on the door of someone who is active in dog rescue.

A scheduling conflict will prevent Gov. Nathan Deal from speaking to the Red State Gathering, which convenes this weekend in Atlanta, but if you want to see him tonight, he’ll be at a fundraiser for House District 80 candidate J. Max Davis in Brookhaven.

Gov Deal Reception

In Fayette County, the election to fill the seat of late County Commissioner Pota Coston will be held in a district, instead of at-large as the Commission previously decided.

A federal judge granted an injunction against Fayette County, requiring the county to use district voting to fill a vacant district seat created by the death of the county’s first black commissioner last month.

U.S. District judge Timothy C. Batten Sr. cited in his 36-page decision, the timing of the Sept. 15 special election and that Pota Coston was elected under district voting – a plan he ordered in 2013 – as his reasons for granting the preliminary injunction requested by the NAACP, which has been in three-year legal fight with Fayette over its electoral system.

The NAACP went to court last month to stop Fayette from using at-large or countywide voting in the upcoming special election to fill the district seat left vacant by the death of Pota Coston, Fayette’s first black commissioner. Coston died July 3.

The 56-year-old Tyrone resident was elected last November using district election, the system ordered by Batten in 2013 to replace at-large voting, an electoral system Fayette had used for nearly two centuries.

The special-election dispute emerged when county officials said they had no choice but to use at-large voting for the Sept. 15 special election because local law requires at-large voting to be used for such elections. Batten’s 2013 ruling did not include provisions for which electoral process should be used for special elections. NAACP attorney Leah Arden contends district voting should be used to fill a district seat.

Early voting continues all week long in the House District 155 Special Runoff Election, according to the Tifton Gazette.

Voters in HD 155 will choose either Clay Pirkle of Turner County or Horace Hudgins of Irwin County to fill the unexpired term of Rep. Jay Roberts, who resigned due to his nomination to serve as planning director for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

In addition to Tift, Turner, and Irwin Counties, House District 155 also includes voters in Ben Hill and Coffee Counties.

As a reminder: any voter who is eligible may vote in a runoff election, even if they did not vote in the preceding election.

To check your voter registration status, you may use the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page.

Daniel Malloy of the AJC writes that Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus has written some big checks in support of two GOP candidates for President.

Marcus wrote a $1 million check to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s “Right to Rise USA” Super PAC, among a slew of wealthy Georgians who helped power the PAC’s eye-popping $100 million debut.

But Marcus, of Atlanta, is hedging his bets: He also gave a combined $600,000 to two PACs backing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, “Unintimidated” and “Our American Renewal.”

Marcus does not appear to have changed his mind. His big Right to Rise donation was in January, while the Walker PAC gifts were in March and May, then he donated to Bush’s campaign in June.

Peach State Presidential Politics

The Washington Post places Senator Ted Cruz’s bus tour of Georgia and other Southern states in context, noting that Cruz referred to the South as a “firewall” in the GOP Presidential race.

Ted Cruz made the case Sunday that he can win the Republican nomination because of his strength in the South.

“For any serious candidate to play, you’re going to have to run a national campaign,” he said. “If you are going to run a national campaign, you’ve got to be able to compete nationally.”

Cruz plans to spend a good chunk of the August recess traveling by bus around the South, including South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Several of these states will hold primaries on March 1 in a regional primary that has been dubbed the SEC Primary after the Southeastern Conference in college football. March 1 is the first date that non-early states are allowed to schedule their contests. A candidate who wins then might get momentum going into the winner-take-all contests that begin March 15.

“I view the SEC primary as a firewall,” Cruz confided to the audience.

Politico surveyed State GOP Chairman and profiles the Republican presidential race, noting the prominence of Southern states in the SEC Primary.

Expectations are running highest in the South as candidates eye March 1, the date of the so-called SEC primary, when a host of often overlooked states in that region will vote on the same day.

“The move to an earlier primary has sparked interest by many of the candidates,” said Doyle Webb, the Arkansas GOP chairman. “We’ve had at least 10 of the announced candidates contact us directly for information [on how to file, the filing fee, the process]. We’re excited to see all the candidates, but we’ll wait and see who files in Arkansas.”

Added Tennessee GOP Chairman Ryan Haynes, “We anticipate that Tennessee is going to get a lot of attention…Tennessee is a relatively easy state to get on the ballot, and campaigns are starting the process much earlier than they have in prior presidential elections. They’re reaching out to the state party about what the process is, how to get the delegates lined up. The process seems to be starting much earlier this time than four years ago.”

The Republican Party of Virginia, which also chose to compete on March 1, has already disseminated detailed ballot information to all of the campaigns, said Chairman John C. Whitbeck, Jr., something that “reminded [campaigns] strongly to get started now on their work.”

Jeb Bush will hold a fundraising reception today in Brentwood, Tennessee, while Scott Walker will visit Nashville tomorrow.

The list of committee members accompanying the Bush Brentwood invitation includes some of Tennessee’s GOP fundraising heavy hitters. Kim Kaegi, a finance leader for U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., is organizing the event in some capacity. Committee members include Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

Scott Walker hopes his conservative credentials will bolster his chances in Southern states.

Republicans aren’t criticizing Walker’s stance on social issues. He recently signed a Wisconsin bill that bans abortions after a woman is 20 weeks pregnant, and he’s routinely denounced the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.

That social conservatism will be popular with Republican voters in Tennessee and throughout the South, but most if not all GOP presidential contenders share Walker’s view on same-sex marriage.

It will be Walker’s work taking on unions in Wisconsin that will especially endear him to southern voters, argued a longtime Tennessee Republican operative.

“Gov. Walker is certainly a top-tier candidate as he has taken on the labor unions and won three times in the past four years in a light blue state,” said the operative, who requested anonymity to speak freely about the race.

“Because of these fights, he has created a national fundraising network and has a compelling narrative of taking on the unions to create a more business friendly climate in Wisconsin that should play well in southern right-to-work states like Tennessee and Georgia.”

MARTA reaches for your wallet

Everytime you buy something in Fulton or DeKalb County, you’re paying for MARTA, and on the basis of one or two years without debilitating financial instability, they’re reaching for our wallets to take out another $200 million. As a DeKalb County resident, I have to say no, thanks to their legislative proposal. MARTA is talking about taking the case to the General Assembly, but if the legislature decides to go along with this boondoggle, MARTA will have to make their case to the voters and pass a referendum before levying an additional half-cent sales tax that will last for the rest of my life. Here are a couple quotes from the AJC story.

MARTA board chairman Robbie Ashe discussed the project and the agency’s strategy:

“[W]e will go to the 2016 General Assembly (and) ask them to permit our member jurisdictions to ask their voters for an additional half-penny sales tax that would last the duration of MARTA’s existing penny (tax). That half-penny would go to finance these expansion projects. They would then roll (into) operations and maintenance once (the projects) are delivered.”

“We believe that the math on that (half-penny) leads us to about $8 billion worth of projects over the next several years. A half-penny in Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton is approximately $200 million a year. If it lasts the duration of our existing penny, we would be able to, conservatively speaking, without remotely taxing our credit card, get to $4 billion.

“Because it would last that 40 years, we get bonding capacity.

“The half-penny, if it lasts for the duration of MARTA’s existing penny (tax), would be a revenue stream and a local match that is virtually without peer anywhere in the United States. It makes us very confident that we could go to Washington and get the highest level of federal match.

Meanwhile, the State Road and Tollway Authority is reaching for their own checkbook, to spread the road-building dollars in the form of grants to local government.

The State Road and Tollway Authority is offering local governments and community improvement districts shares of a $29 million funding pot intended to pay for transportation improvement projects.

The agency announced on Monday that it is accepting applications for transportation improvement grants and loans which will come from the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank program. The program is entering its fourth round of grants with the goal of improving mobility in Georgia’s communities through road and bridge projects.

“Last year was a banner season for the GTIB program in that we received the most applications in the program’s history. This year, we anticipate a similar response all across Georgia as we have ramped up outreach efforts inside and outside of the Atlanta metro area,” SRTA Executive Director Christopher Tomlinson said in a statement.

“The program’s success is directly attributable to the support of Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly who continue to approve additional funding in the state budget,” he added.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 3, 2015

Georgia delegates Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, and George Walton signed the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776.

On August 3, 1910, Georgia became the ninth state to ratify the 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which allows Congress to levy a tax without apportioning it among the states.

On August 3, 1982, Michael Hardwick was arrested, setting in motion the prosecution that would eventually lead to the United States Supreme Court in the case of Bowers v. Hardwick.

Skip Caray died on August 3, 2008 and Pete Van Wieren died Saturday, August 2, 2014.

Georgia Politics

Opponents of Planned Parenthood rallied outside the group’s downtown August location, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

With the U.S. Senate scheduled to vote Monday on a bill to strip Planned Parenthood of taxpayer funding, more than 100 residents gathered Sunday for a prayer rally in front of the organization’s downtown Augusta clinic.

“We’re here to pray in defense of the defenseless,” said Pastor David McKinley of Warren Baptist Church. “And to pray for women who choose to walk through the doors of Planned Parenthood.”

After McKinley’s opening remarks, others spoke in favor of ridding the nation’s largest abortion provider of taxpayer dollars.

Our rally wasn’t about protesting or chanting,” said Laura Shipp, the event’s organizer. “And I’m so thankful none of our supporters did that. We just came here to pray the Senate will defund Planned Parenthood so our tax money will not be used to support them. These latest videos have exposed what Planned Parenthood is all about, where the baby’s body parts are being sold for profit.”

“We want our event in Augusta to be heard in Washington.”

Governor Nathan Deal is expected to set the date for a Special Election in House District 122 for November 3, 2015.

Congressman Tom Price spoke to a Meet-and-Greet on Saturday for J. Max Davis, who is running for State Representative in the Special Runoff Election on August 11, 2015. In the following clip, Rep. Price talks about J Max’s record as Mayor of Brookhaven, the special importance of the election to Republican voters in Fulton and DeKalb Counties, and a little bit about how to win a special election.

Tom Price, Nancy Jester, J Max Davis

DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester introduced Rep. Price.Continue Reading..


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for August 3, 2015


Marco is a young male Labrador Retriever mix who is still in the puppy stage, who is available for adoption from the Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society in Thomasville, GA.


Donnie is a young male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Fulton County Animal Services in Atlanta, GA.


Ricky is an adult male American Staffordshire Terrier & American Bulldog who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services.

Ricky is a laid back lovebug who already knows how to sit, shake, lay down, and possibly more! This smart 5 year old guy gets along great with other dogs and probably wouldn’t mind having a dog friend in his new home. His adoption fee includes his neuter, vaccinations, microchip, and more! For more information email [email protected]


Ricky is a young male Yellow Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Crabapple Knoll Veterinary Clinic in Alpharetta,GA.


4113 LL endsummer15_3

All month long, LifeLine Animal Project, which runs the Fulton and DeKalb County Animal Shelters, is having a $10 adoption event for any dogs over 25 pounds and any cats.



Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 31, 2015

Georgia and American History

On July 31, 1777, the Marquis de LaFayette was commissioned a Major General in the Continental Army, serving without pay.

The cornerstone for the first United States Mint was laid in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 31, 1792, becoming the first building constructed by the federal government under the Constitution.

Former President Andrew Johnson, who succeeded President Lincoln upon his assassination and oversaw much of the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, died of a stroke in Tennessee on July 31, 1875.

On July 31, 1906, a bill to create place a Constitutional Amendment on the November election for voters to decide whether to create an intermediate-level Georgia Court of Appeals was approved by the Georgia General Assembly.

On July 31, 1962, the one-millionth immigrant was welcomed into Israel.

Nolan Ryan, the greatest pitcher in major league baseball history, won his 300th career game on July 31, 1990. During eight innings, Ryan threw 146 pitches, while today, many pitchers are pulled at around the 100-pitch count.

“In the old days throwing that many pitches was a normal game,” said Nolan Ryan, who tossed a record seven no-hitters and is the all-time leader in strikeouts, fifth in innings pitched.

Ryan, currently the Rangers’ team president, is an outspoken detractor of the recent trend toward monitoring pitch counts. In a recent Sports Illustrated article, Ryan expressed his belief that today’s pitchers are “pampered” and that there is no reason why today’s pitchers cannot pitch as much as he and his colleagues did back in the day. As a result, Ryan is pushing his team’s pitchers to throw deeper into games and extend their arms further, emphasizing conditioning over what some would call coddling.

As Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux told SI: “This generation of players has become a creature of the pitch count. Their ceiling has been lowered. It’s up to us to jack it back up.”

Georgia Politics

A fire destroyed the Monroe County home of Brian and Janea Cox, the parents of Haleigh, who became the poster child for medical cannabis in Georgia.

Six-year-old Haleigh Cox and her parents, Janea and Brian Cox, appear to have lost everything and are awaiting an insurance assessment. The fire occurred just days before Janea Cox and Haleigh were set to return home, after spending the past year in Colorado. There, the girl has been on a therapeutic regimen that includes an extract of cannabis.

Her family has said a liquid form of the drug has helped reduce her seizures.

Janea Cox said by telephone that her family is grateful for all the love and support from friends, family and the community.

“We will get through this storm and hopefully come out stronger,” she said.

Donations for the Coxes are being collected by Northway Church. Pastor Kevin Mills said the church does not yet have a list of the family’s immediate needs. Donations can be made via the church website or by calling 478-476-1971.

From their church’s website:

To Donate Via Check To The Haleigh Cox Family

  • Make checks payable to Northway Church with General Memorial Fund written on the memo line.
  • For donations mailed to Northway Church please include this information:

Northway Church
Attn: Haleigh Cox Family
5915 Zebulon Road
Macon, GA 31210

To Make A Donation Online

  1. Click here
  2. Fill out your information
  3. In the drop down box select General Memorial Fund
  4. IMPORTANT: Email [email protected] with your name and gift amount.

Pretty funny campaign ad, and I think it’ll be effective. I don’t know anything about it other than that it popped up in my Facebook feed.Continue Reading..


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for July 31, 2015


McLovin is a 3 month old Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is looking for his first and forever home! Animal control facilities are no place to call home, but that is the only home he has ever had, so he is happy and thankful to have what he does have. He is very playful with other dogs and puppies, is great with kids and is slowly learning how to walk on a leash. He and his 1 brother and 1 sister were brought here by a woman who found them after they had been dumped in front of her house.

McLovin is available for adoption from Meriwether County Animal Shelter in Greenville, GA.


Tamarind is a young female Redbone Coonhound/Labrador Retriever mix who is looking for a new home. She is somewhat timid, but very sweet and would love to be a lap dog. Tamarind is available for adoption from Meriwether County Animal Shelter in Greenville, GA.


“Cass” is a young female shepherd mix who needs a new home. She is doing great living in a kennel with another dog. They have become good friends. Cass is available for adoption from Meriwether County Animal Shelter in Greenville, GA.

DeKalb Littles

DeKalb County Animal Services wants you to know that they have a number of small dogs that are available for adoption.


Georgia judicial investigations become prosecutions |

More than five dozen Georgia judges have stepped down from the bench in disgrace since the state’s judicial watchdog agency began aggressively policing ethical conduct eight years ago.

More lately, however, the jurists aren’t just leaving the court in disgrace. Some are leaving in handcuffs.

via Georgia judicial investigations become prosecutions |


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 30, 2015

July 30th could be celebrated as the birthday of democracy in America, as the Virginia House of Burgesses became the first legislative body in the New World on July 30, 1619.

 Its first law, which, like all of its laws, would have to be approved by the London Company, required tobacco to be sold for at least three shillings per pound. Other laws passed during its first six-day session included prohibitions against gambling, drunkenness, and idleness, and a measure that made Sabbath observance mandatory.

On July 30, 1931, Georgia Governor Richard B. Russell, Jr. signed legislation merging Milton and Fulton Counties if voters in each county approved a referendum. Fulton had earlier merged with Campbell County, to the south.

Actor Laurence Fishburn was born in Augusta, Georgia on July 30, 1961.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed legislation creating Medicare, for seniors, and Medicaid for some low-income people on July 30, 1965.

Georgia Politics

Ammon Williams, the 17-year old son of Republican State Senator Michael Williams (R-Cumming) is hospitalized in an induced coma after a skateboarding accident. We’re praying for the Williams family.

As you’ll no doubt be reminded dozens of times over the next couple days, Georgia’s Sales Tax Holiday runs July 31 through August 1. Click here for a flyer from the Georgia Department of Revenue on which items are not subject to sales tax this weekend.

Yesterday, Gov. Deal announced the formation of the State Steering Committee for the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), including juvenile court judges and individuals from relevant state organizations, who will work to expand this juvenile reform to counties.

“Georgia leads the nation in meaningful justice reforms,” said Deal. “We rely on evidence while embracing innovations, and this latest move continues that pattern.”

A national initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, JDAI works on a county-by-county basis to encourage appropriate community support for low-risk juvenile offenders to enhance public safety, help misguided youth and conserve taxpayer dollars. According to the foundation, communities participating in JDAI have lowered the number of youth in detention by 44 percent.

Clayton County adopted the initiative in 2003, ultimately resulting in an 80 percent decrease in its average daily detention population: less than 1 percent of the county’s youth felony offenders that benefit from detention alternatives are re-arrested for a felony charge. The initial Georgia expansion will take place in multiple counties, which will be determined through a collaboration with the Casey Foundation.

“As Clayton County proves, Georgia communities can use JDAI to keep our youth out of detention and in the running for a better life,” said Deal.

Governor Deal’s press spokesman Brian Robinson will be leaving his office on the first floor of the Georgia State Capitol to seek treasure in the private sector. Greg Bluestein of the AJC has a compendium of quotes, which leads us to wonder what the auditions will be like for a successor.

Continue Reading..


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for July 30, 2015

Gwinnett Brothers

These two young brothers are in urgent need of adoptive or foster homes at the Gwinnett County Shelter.

Gwinnett 45849

Brother #45849 is in Pen #186 while brother #45850 is in Pen #209 across the aisle.

Pen 45850

Gwinnett 46057

This gorgeous Setter or Retriever (what I’d call simply a bird dog) is male, four years old and will be available for adoption beginning tomorrow, July 31, 2015 at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter. If you’ve got your heart set on a bird dog, go ahead and get your paperwork in as soon as you can.

Gwinnett Rabbits

Gwinnett County Animal Shelter has had a large number of rabbits come into Animal Control from a hoarding or commercial situation and they’re desperately seeking homes for the bunnies. If you’re interested in helping, perhaps you could touch base with a local rabbit rescue group and ask to be part of their foster program.


Deal launches juvenile justice committee | Governor Nathan Deal Office of the Governor

Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Council today announced the formation of the State Steering Committee for the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI). The committee, which will consist of juvenile court judges and individuals from relevant state organizations, will work to expand this reform effort to counties throughout Georgia.

“Georgia leads the nation in meaningful justice reforms,” said Deal. “We rely on evidence while embracing innovations, and this latest move continues that pattern.”Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 29, 2015

President Franklin D. Roosevelt made his eighth visit to Warm Springs, Georgia on July 29, 1927.

Congress passed legislation establishing the National Aeronautic and Space Admininistration (NASA) on July 29, 1958.

The Doors’ “Light My Fire” became their first #1 hit on July 29, 1967.

Carl Lewis won his fourth consecutive gold medal in the long jump at the Atlanta Olympics on July 29, 1996.

Yesterday, the last active M35 “Deuce and a Half” truck in service at Robins Air Force Base was moved to the Museum of Aviation and into the history books.

Georgia Politics

Republican J. Max Davis and Democrat Taylor Bennett will meet August 6th for a candidate forum at Oglethorpe University.

The Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce announced July 27 that it would host the forum on Aug. 6 at Lupton Hall on the Oglethorpe University campus. The forum is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Democrat Taylor Bennett, a lawyer and former Georgia Tech football player, and J.Max Davis, a lawyer and the former mayor of Brookhaven, collected the most votes in the four-candidate field seeking the post in the July 14 runoff. Under Georgia law, when no candidate collects more than half the votes cast in an election, the top two finishers face one another in a runoff.

Davis and Bennett meet in the runoff election Aug. 11. During the forum, the candidates will answer only questions submitted in advance and presented through a moderator. To submit a question, go here.

In the runoff election for House District 155, Clay Pirkle has taken to Facebook to remind voters that early voting has begun.

Clay Pirkle Early Voting

Meanwhile, his opponent, Horace Hudgins is holding meet-and-greets for voters.

Horace Hudgins

Continue Reading..