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

On June 3, 1941, Georgia voters ratified a Constitutional Amendment extending the term of office for Governor and the other Constitutional Officers from two years to four. Governor Eugene Talmadge campaigned for the Amendment, hoping to serve a four-year term after the two-year term he currently held, but was defeated in the 1942 Democratic Primary by Ellis Arnall. Remember this phrase: legislation almost always has unintended consequences.

On June 3, 1942, Curtis Mayfield was born in Chicago, Illinois and would later live in Atlanta, dying in Roswell in 1999.

On the morning of June 3, 1962, a plane carrying 106 Georgians crashed on take-off from Orly near Paris, the deadliest crash in aviation to that date.

On June 3, 1980, Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter had amassed enough delegates to assure his nomination in the Democratic Primary for President.

Today is the anniversary of the beginning of the Tiananman Square Massacre in Beijing, China. Pro-democracy protests had begun on April 15, 1989 and on May 20, martial law was declared. The People’s Liberation Army began taking the square back on the evening of June 3d.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The 2016 Georgia Republican State Convention convenes today at the Augusta Convention Center. Among the highlights will be:


11 AM  – Speech and Book Signing with John “Tig” Tiegen sponsored by Linda Clary Umberger

Noon – Engagement Lunch at Pinnacle Club

2 PM – Convention Gavels In; to recess at 5 PM

5 PM – Hospitality Suites hosted by Linda Clary Umberger, Maria Zack, and Ginger Howard, all candidates for National Committeewoman; Fulton GOP; 7th District GOP

5:30 PM – RLG/CLI Alumni reception at the Cotton Patch, hosted by Team Pachyderm

7 PM  – Victory Dinner with former Texas Governor Rick Perry – Sold Out

8 PM – Red, White & Boots hosted by the Georgia GOP Congressional DelegationSaint Paul’s River Room, 605 Reynolds Street, Augusta, GA 30901

8:45 PM – Pro-Life and Religious Liberty Prayer Gathering – Estes Room B

9 PM Minority Engagement Mixer at the Partridge Inn


7:30 AM – Victory Breakfast with an address by Sen. David Perdue

8 AM – Nominating Committee, Rules Committee, Credentials Committee Meetings; Georgia Young Republicans Convention in Estes A

7:30 PM – Celebration Dinner & Dance


8 AM – Prayer Breakfast

The election for National Committeewoman took a turn for the crazy yesterday, as an email from Dr. Bill Hudson, Susan E. Stanton, and Joyce Schumacher went out in response, so it said, to some stuff attributed to Debbie Dooley. From that email:

Debbie Dooley has been casting aspersions and falsehoods about many good GOP activists including Maria Zack. Enough is enough. Maria has been assisting conservative organizations, including ours, at the capitol, when we needed her guidance. She received no compensation for her services to us.

Meanwhile, Debbie has been depicting herself as a grassroots volunteer trying to do the right things for our state and country while prostituting her “principles” to the highest bidder.

Some examples include:

• Taking money (along with others from Tea Party Patriots from Univision not to oppose amnesty for illegal aliens. (What would Donald Trump think of this?)

• Taking money from solar companies to convince the PSC that public utilities must buy a certain percentage of power from solar companies. (Free market policies dictate that we should purchase from the most cost effective suppliers and not pick winners and losers.)

• Pushing the telephone tax which many GOP activists and Maria helped us to defeat.

While we support a person earning a living at whatever pursuit, we abhor two faced liars purporting to have one set of beliefs and taking money to oppose them.

What Debbie did in bragging about cutting the deal with the Jason and Julianne Thompson in the 7th on the delegate slate (two of which were establishment and one to Debbie) weeks before many even attended their interviews then falsely accusing Cruz people of taking over the 7th to cover their tracks was deceptive and despicable. She proudly announced her love of implementing Saul Alinsky tactics.

We, the GOP, should never support anyone for a GOP position if they incite fear, bullying and death threats on other GOP activists. Jenny Beth Martin, Tea Party Patriots never disavowed the actions. which should have been immediate. The Thompson’s shenanigans did not go unnoticed and all delegates need to know the truth. Furthermore, Debbie’s recent attacks on Maria are total fabrications and totally unfounded. Maria has the experience and the integrity to lead the GAGOP within the state as well as on the national stage.

Debbie Dooley took to Facebook to dispute the allegations in that email:

It is extremely unfortunate that a candidate for Georgia Republican National Committeewoman, Maria Strollo Zack, is spreading ridiculous rumors that I took money from Univision to not oppose illegal immigration.

It is an outrageous, slanderous lie that I took money from Univision. I have never, ever received one dime from Univision. I call on those making such ridiculous accusations to issue a retraction immediately. She also accused Tea Party Patriots of taking money from Univision to not oppose illegal immigration even though Tea Party Patriots was on the front line opposing the Gang of Eight Amnesty Bill.

I have always been a very strong advocate against amnesty and illegal immigration. I have always been on the front line fighting the open borders crowd. Just read my FaceBook posts about it and those of Atlanta Tea Party.

This email supports Rep. Matt Ramsey’s anti-illegal immigration Bill 87 4 or 5 years ago

Ask those fighting illegal immigration in Georgia if I am soft on illegal immigration and amnesty. They will tell you no way.

It is a shame that some will resort to outright lies in order to win an election. Haven’t we had enough of that in Washington D.C. ?

I will be sending out an email later on today addressing the false accusations.

Seventh District GAGOP Chair Jason Thompson also took to mass email to dispute some of the statements,

Earlier today you received an email from a man named Bill Hudson with a “reply to” email address of Maria Strollo Zack – a woman running for Republican National Committee Woman.

In a section of the email Hudson accused my wife and I of a “weeks-long” deal cutting conspiracy regarding national delegates. I would like to not even dignify such a gross display of trash with a response, but I will not stand idly by while my and my wife’s integrity is called into question. Especially when we went out of our way to ensure fairness…even giving up my own slot as a national delegate at the District Convention. And with all of the vile and threatening things said to my wife.


These actions are unacceptable, and this must be said, we need a National Committee Woman who will bring honor, dignity, and and a spirit of truthfulness to the office. Shame on Bill Hudson and an even bigger shame on Maria Strollo Zack, who knows the truth, but is choosing to promote a lie for personal and political gain.

Jason Thompson, Chairman
Georgia Republican Party Seventh District Committee

We can also expect some drama over the religious freedom and campus carry bills that were vetoed by Gov. Deal.

I’ll be going to the Convention later today, but I’m not happy about it, and I’ll be avoiding as much of it as I can. The one beam of sunshine I see in this whole thing is the RLG/CLI Alumni event at 5:30 today. I hope to see you there.


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

On June 2, 1774, Britain’s Parliament passed the Quartering Act, the last of the Coercive Acts, meant to punish the American colonies and reassert British control. Eventually, the Third Amendment to the United States Constitution would prohibit the forcible quartering of soldiers in private homes.

Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commanding forces west of the Mississippi, surrendered on June 2, 1865, and this date is generally considered the end of the Civil War.

Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on June 2, 1953.

On June 2, 1962, Georgia-born Ray Charles hit #1 on the charts with “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Last night, Shahriar Zolfaghari was found shot in his car in Atlanta and later died at the hospital. Our prayers are with his wife, Camila Wright, the Georgia Assistant Attorney General in charge of sex trafficking cases and their daughter, as well as his friends and family.

Attorney General Olens issued the following statement to 11Alive’s Duffie Dixon:

“We at the Attorney General’s office are heartbroken by the tragic loss of Camila’s husband. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.”

John Yates is not only the oldest State Representative in Georgia, he’s thought to be the oldest legislator in America, and he has a reelection runoff on his hands.

Yates is the oldest member of a state legislature in America, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.   John Yates’ father was born in 1869 – four years after the Civil War ended.  But Yates says at age 94, he’s young enough to serve two more years at the Capitol.

“There’s nobody in the legislature in better health than I am,” Yates said at his home Wednesday.

Yates is chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, a World War II veteran and he says, a health enthusiast to whom his age, 94, is merely a number.  He is running for a thirteenth term in the House of Representatives – after which, he says, he plans to retire.

“That’s what I’m trying to try to do,” Yates said, “if I can whup this woman.”

Karen Mathiak is the woman trying to unseat Yates. She is a longtime Republican activist in Spalding County who says she has happily voted for John Yates many times—but now thinks, enough.

“I do believe in term limits,” Mathiak said.  “And twenty plus years is a long time to be in office.  How stale do we get after that many years?”

Gwinnett County is planning to eliminate red light cameras because of the costs, according to Adam Murphy of CBS 46.

CBS46 learned that the county budgeted $262,000 in 2014 to operate the red light cameras.  They also set aside more than $1.4 million for the past five years.  Not to mention it was going to cost them another $30,000 to relocate cameras.

Gwinnett County Police told CBS46 they will reevaluate the program in a few years to see if it’s worth bringing back.  That said, statistics did show a decrease in accidents at intersections with the cameras.

A group launched in Georgia – Farmers for Trump – may affect national politics this November, according to

A group called “Farmers for Trump,” launched recently in Georgia, has been working with the campaign to answer farmers’ questions about where the real estate mogul stands on their issues — topics he has mostly avoided on the campaign trail.

Chad Etheridge, who founded the group after learning how Trump saved a Georgia farm from foreclosure in 1986, made a YouTube video about the little-known episode. Since then, Etheridge’s group has made about 300 calls to farmers asking them if they would support the businessman, and all but 10 have answered “yes.”

“I am positive not all farmers support Trump,” Etheridge said, “but it sure seems like the numbers are in his favor.”

Efforts by such fledgling groups to turn out the rural vote could be crucial to the presumptive nominee’s hopes of winning Rust Belt states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania in November — all of which also happen to be big farm states. Rural residents account for 25 percent of Michigan’s population, 22 percent of Ohio’s and 21 percent of Pennsylvania’s, according to the 2010 census — and agriculture remains an anchor of rural economies.

“When you look at the states that Trump wants to put in play … agriculture could play a bigger role in this election than in the recent past,” predicts Marshall Matz, principal at Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz, a law and lobbying firm, who chaired Obama’s rural council in 2008. “People don’t realize those states have significant agricultural economies.”

“With Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, the farm vote is in play,” Matz contends.

The view from the ground is different: From the rural South through Nevada, the magnate has polled especially well in rural counties — notwithstanding his hardline positions on illegal immigration and trade, which might have ruinous consequences for farmers.

“Donald Trump says things that I would never say but the voters want change,” John Block, an Agriculture Secretary under Ronald Reagan who works for the same firm as Matz, wrote in a recent column.

Brandon Phillips, the director of the Trump campaign in Georgia, saw the video — which has been viewed almost 127,000 times — and reached out to Growing America with “an interest in developing a deeper relationship with farmers,” said Etheridge.

Etheridge, who said he has never worked for a campaign, was receptive, later founding Farmers for Trump and chairing the Georgia Farm Team for Trump — roles he’s assumed as a private citizen.

Congressman Jody Hice has a speed bump potential Independent challenger between him and reelection.

Leonard Ware, a Democrat from Gwinnett County, is working to challenge incumbent Jody Hice as an independent for Georgia’s 10th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the upcoming Nov. 8 general election. The northeast Georgia district includes the cities of Athens, Evans, Augusta, Watkinsville and Toccoa.

The 52-year-old Ware is an ordained minister with 30 years of political campaign experience, including grassroots work on Gary Hart’s 1984 presidential campaign, John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign and former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s campaigns. Additionally, Ware has worked for a number of public interest research groups.

Ware did not meet the qualifying deadline for the May 24 Democratic primary election, but he plans to file and qualify later this month as an independent candidate in the 10th District contest.

The Savannah-Chatham County school board approved a .5 mill increase in the property tax rate, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Savannah-Chatham Public School Board tentatively adopted a $530.75 million budget and a millage rate increase of .5 mills on Wednesday — with the expectation that they meet again in the coming weeks to look for possible budget cuts.

A lower than expected county tax digest forced the school board to choose between raising school property taxes and cutting planned expenses.

“The board will have to decide what they want the most,” said Budget Director Larry Jackson.

A newly created school board budget committee spent months working with district staff to carefully plan out a $530.75 million expenditure budget for 2017. That plan called for leaving the millage rate at the same level as last year — 16.631 mills. That would have enabled them to add several new expenses, from hiring nurses, school resource officers, a Latin teacher and grant writer to funding the DEEP writing program, buying bus cameras and offering 2 percent cost of living increases.

But the state informed staff late Tuesday that the county tax digest revenue for 2017 will be $1 million less than anticipated.

Savannah City Council is expected to consider a food truck ordinance this month.

Fort Benning unveiled a massive new solar array to provide power for the facility.

The $40 million facility, built in about two years after it gained the required state approval, has 134,000 solar panels over more than 240 acres off 101st Airborne Road near the Uchee Creek recreational area on the Alabama side of the post.

Brig Gen. Eric Wesley, commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, said the expanded use of renewable energy sources is a national security issue.

“First, every dollar that we save goes to the readiness of soldiers and training,” Wesley said. “There is no doubt that a number of shared interests aligned here. There were very few road blocks and that tells you it was the right thing to do.”

It will produce about 17 percent of the electricity needed to power Fort Benning, officials said. The project is a response to a directive from President Barrack Obama to secure renewable energy sources on U.S. military installations. In addition to Fort Benning, similar Georgia projects are underway at Fort Gordon, Fort Stewart and the Naval submarine base at Kings Bay.

There is also one planned for the Marine Corps Logistic Base in Albany. Georgia Power invested $70 million in the Fort Benning project and will put about $400 million in the combined Georgia military projects. The government has provided a 35-year easement on the property for Georgia Power to construct the facilities.

In at least one neighborhood in Columbus, GA, the feral cat population is getting out of hand, according to WRBL.

This morning, some neighbors in an east Columbus neighborhood tell News 3 feral cats have taken over their neighborhood. They now want city leaders to revisit the Trap, Neuter, and Release program policy.

Under the city’s TNR program, feral cats are caught and given a rabies vaccination and released. The goal is to save the lives of the animals while helping the city rid itself of vermin.

While some Columbus residents say they appreciate the city’s efforts to find a compassionate solution to deal with feral cats, they add it’s not working.  The residents of this particular east Columbus neighborhood contacted News 3 On Your Side because they say the situation has gotten out-of-control. They say the cats are taking over their neighborhood, destroying their yards, coming into their homes, and even attacking their own pets.

In Cherokee County, incoming Sheriff Frank Reynolds spoke to the Tribune-LedgerNews about his plans and priorities for the office.

DeKalb County School Board member Stan Jester writes that the board is considering raising millage rates by 8.71% right after the passage of the E-SPLOST.

The DeKalb County School District announced last week its intention to increase property taxes this year by 8.71 percent.

When the total digest of taxable property is prepared, Georgia law requires that a rollback millage rate must be computed that will produce the same total revenue on the current year’s digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced.

Without the tentative tax increase, the rollback millage rate will need to be no more than 21.829 mills.

All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearings on this tax increase to be held at the Administrative & Instructional Complex, J. David Williamson Board Room, 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd, Stone Mountain, Georgia

June 06, 2016

5:45pm – 2nd Public Budget Hearing
6:15pm – 1st Public Millage Rate Hearing
6:45pm – Community Input Session


Adoptable Georgia Dogs

Nine weeks ago, a Labrador Retriever named Sunny gave birth to nine Lab mix puppies. Today, seven of them are available for adoption from The Pixel Fund in Macon, GA.

Lee Rodney

Lee Rodney is a nine month old male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from The Pixel Fund in Macon, GA.

Kailyn Meredith

Kailyn Meredith is a nine month old female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from The Pixel Fund in Macon, GA.

Hayley Shannon

Hayley Shannon is a nine month old female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from The Pixel Fund in Macon, GA.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for June 1, 2016


Jackson is a 7-year old, 22-pound male Rat Terrier who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Control Shelter in Marietta, GA.

He’s a good boy and will sit on command. His family said he is HOUSE TRAINED. They also said that he is not good with kids but a toddler was holding him as they signed him over to the shelter on May 24th.

Imagine being taken to a loud scary place, held by a toddler, and you still manage to be on your best behavior. Jackson did better than a lot of human adults would have done. Please come see Jackson soon! He is up to date with shots,neutered, and micro-chipped. He will be heartworm tested upon adoption. Jackson is in Run 325 in the puppy room and his ID is 585586.


Lola is a 2-year old female Chocolate Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Control Shelter in Marietta, GA.

She’s a gorgeous chocolate coated sweetheart who was found as a stray on 5/17/16. She is about 2 years old and medium sized. She is very scared at the moment but the shelter volunteers are working very hard to make her feel safe and loved. Lola’s coat is nice and silky soft. She is current on her vaccines and upon adoption will be spayed, heartworm tested and micro chipped. Lola’s ID # is 584326 and can be found in cage 113. Come meet her today!


Sandy is a 4-year old, 63-pound female German Shepherd Dog mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Control Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Sandy is a gorgeous tall and lanky lady! She is very sweet, but definitely scared given her current situation.

She was picked up as a stray on 5/27/16. Her owners were found, but they choose to sign her over to the shelter instead of take her home. So now she’s homeless and hoping for a second chance at happiness. Sandy is about 4 years old and weighs 63 lbs. Her coat is very soft and she is an obedient, well mannered girl. She is current on her vaccines and upon adoption will be spayed, heartworm tested and micro chipped. Sandy’s ID # is 585718 and she can be found in cage 851.

A friend of GaPundit is helping raise funds to pay for heat sensors for local city police departments. The heat sensors allow an officer to determine the temperature inside a car if a dog or child is inside.

Twenty dollars buys a heat sensor and they’re aiming to buy 60 for Cobb County municipal police departments.

Pawsitive Supporters, who are leading the fundraising is also holding an event on Saturday, June 25, 2016 from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Cobb County Animal Control Shelter Front Lawn.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 1, 2016

Benjamin Franklin became Georgia’s agent in England on June 1, 1768, making him also Georgia’s first lobbyist.

On June 1, 1775, Georgia patriots sent a care package to their brethren in Massachusetts comprising 63 barrels of rice and £122 after the battles at Lexington and Concord.

The court martial of Benedict Arnold convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 1, 1779.

Arnold negotiated his defection to the British and the subversion of West Point over several months. The British already held control of New York City and believed that by taking West Point they could effectively cut off the American’s New England forces from the rest of the fledgling nation.

In August 1780, Sir Henry Clinton offered Arnold £20,000 for delivering West Point and 3,000 troops. Arnold told General Washington that West Point was adequately prepared for an attack even though he was busy making sure that that it really wasn’t. He even tried to set up General Washington’s capture as a bonus. His plan might have been successful but his message was delivered too late and Washington escaped. The West Point surrender was also foiled when an American colonel ignored Arnold’s order not to fire on an approaching British ship.

Arnold’s defection was revealed to the Americans when British officer John André, acting as a messenger, was robbed by AWOL Americans working as pirates in the woods north of New York City. The notes revealing Arnold’s traitorous agreement were stashed in his boots.

On June 1, 1942, a Polish newspaper first published information about the gassing of Jews at Nazi concentration camps in Poland.

The Beatles released Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on June 1, 1967. The album is listed as #1 on the Rolling Stone top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the most important rock & roll album ever made, an unsurpassed adventure in concept, sound, songwriting, cover art and studio technology by the greatest rock & roll group of all time. From the title song’s regal blasts of brass and fuzz guitar to the orchestral seizure and long, dying piano chord at the end of “A Day in the Life,” the 13 tracks on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band are the pinnacle of the Beatles’ eight years as recording artists. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were never more fearless and unified in their pursuit of magic and transcendence.

Issued in Britain on June 1st, 1967, and a day later in America, Sgt. Pepper is also rock’s ultimate declaration of change. For the Beatles, it was a decisive goodbye to matching suits, world tours and assembly-line record-making. “We were fed up with being Beatles,” McCartney said decades later, in Many Years From Now, Barry Miles’ McCartney biography. “We were not boys, we were men… artists rather than performers.

“It was a peak,” Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1970, describing both the album and his collaborative relationship with McCartney. “Paul and I were definitely working together,” Lennon said….
Rolling Stone should stick to writing about music.

A summit between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev ended on May 31, 1988. Four years later, in 1992, Gorbachev was dancing for dollars in the United States, including the keynote address at Emory University’s graduation.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal announced the creation of a Teacher Advisory Committee that will review recommendations from the 2015 Education Reform Commission.

The committee is chaired by Rep. Amy Carter, a practicing teacher in Lowndes County, and is comprised of 90 educators throughout the state. These teachers have experience from kindergarten through high school across a wide range of subject areas including STEM fields, fine arts and special and gifted education. Deal announced his intention to create the Teacher Advisory Committee earlier this year.

“Last year, I charged the Education Reform Commission with studying the state’s education system and making recommendations on how it can more effectively prepare our students for postsecondary programs and the workforce,” said Deal. “The responsibility of the commission was to think beyond the confines of the current system, look into the future and recommend changes that will make that level of educational preparation possible in Georgia. They fulfilled that responsibility and I’m grateful for their hard work and diligent efforts. Now I would like to hear from those on the front lines.”

“Georgia’s teachers educate, train, mentor and encourage our children each and every day, and they are dedicated to providing a quality education and shaping the minds of Georgia’s future leaders. I have tasked the Teacher Advisory Committee with reviewing these recommendations and providing input and feedback. Their experience in the classroom will help guide our efforts as we seek to improve educational outcomes for students, retain the best and brightest teachers and address critical needs in Georgia’s K-12 system. I look forward to meeting with them to discuss how we can continue to improve outcomes for Georgia’s educators,” said Deal.

Governor and Mrs. Deal will also work to increase awareness of the danger of leaving children in cars.

Meanwhile, the Governor won’t be at the weekend’s GAGOP Convention, instead scheduling a reception for high school students at the Governor’s Mansion.

Computer glitches will cause delays in reporting end-of-course test results from the Georgia Department of Education.

State Representative Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) will pay a fine for a paperwork error in his personal financial disclosure, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission began investigating the matter this winter after Stephens himself filed amendments to correct the reporting issue — something the Savannah Republican says he realized during estate planning.

“Nobody complained that I wasn’t reporting it,” Stephens said Tuesday. “I just did it on my own to be transparent. If I had done nothing at all, nobody would have ever known.”

Staff for the commission began a formal complaint in February after Stephens amended disclosures to include business interests not previously reported. After an audit, staff determined that Stephens had violated [ethics laws] by not listing four businesses — Branch Investors LLC, Citizens Investors LLC, Tybee Condo Investors LLC and Wilmington Island Partners LLC — in disclosures for 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Georgia law requires that public officials or those running for office disclose businesses in which they have direct or ownership interests. Stephens, a pharmacist who is involved in several business ventures, said he just lost track.

“Although (Stephens) did amend his calendar year 2012, 2013 and 2014 personal financial disclosure statements, said amendments do not excuse (his) failure to properly report his business and investment interests as required,” reads a complaint filed by commission staff on Feb. 5.

In Effingham County, incumbent Commission Chair Wendall Kessler is on his way out due to a Republican Primary loss to Wesley Corbitt, who previously served as City Manager for Rincon.

A seat on the Superior Court for the Ogeechee Circuit, comprising Bulloch, Effingham, Jenkins, and Screven Counties, will be decided in a Runoff Election between Assistant District Attorney Michael Muldrew, who took 41% of votes on May 24 and Springfield lawyer Martha Hall, who earned 39 percent.

Other Peoples’ Money

The Hall County Board of Education will increase the millage rate by about one percent over the rollback rate. The AccessWDUN story on this has a great explanation of how property tax assessment increases and the “rollback rate” work.

Each year, the board of tax assessors is required to review the assessed value for property tax purposes of taxable property in the county. When the trend of prices on properties that have recently sold in the county indicate there has been an increase in the fair market value of any specific property, the board of tax assessors is required by law to re-determine the value of such property and adjust the assessment.

When the total digest of taxable property is prepared, Georgia law requires that a rollback millage rate must be computed that will produce the same total revenue on the current year’s digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced had no reassessments occurred. The rollback rate for this year is 18.599 mills, according to a press release from the Hall County School System. The Board of Education is proposing a rate of 18.80 mills which is an increase of .201 mills. The current millage rate is 18.80 mills.

Whether or not the taxes of an individual property increases or decreases depends on the amount of reassessment, if any, that property receives.  The budget tentatively adopted by the school board requires a millage rate higher than the rollback millage rate, therefore, before the board may finalize the budget and set a final millage rate, Georgia law requires three public hearings before the board can act.

The board tentatively approved the new budget, which includes an across-the-board pay hike for employees, Monday night.  More information about the proposed budget and tax increase and timeline for adopting both is on the Hall County Schools website.

The passage of E-SPLOST referenda in Fulton and DeKalb Counties will likely have a positive impact on the bond ratings of each school system, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

In its new credit outlook publication, Moody’s Investors Service called the two May 24 referendum votes “credit positive” for Atlanta Public Schools (APS), the Fulton County School System, the DeKalb County School District and the Decatur City School District.

“The renewals are credit positive for all four districts because, without the extension, the districts would have had to find alternative methods to fund extensive capital programs,” Moody’s stated in the report.

Meanwhile, the DeKalb County Board of Education continues to hem and haw about being included in a Tax Allocation District for the former GM Plant in Doraville.

The board so far is standing firm in a majority decision not to participate, with many saying any tax dollars generated should go to funding education, their main goal.

“We want to make sure we make a rational decision,” school board Chairman Melvin Johnson said. “We did send a list of questions to (the developer). We’re awaiting response so we can make a final decision.

The Bibb County Board of Education is considering a millage rate increase to provide 3 percent raises, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The board held another budget work session for the 2016-17 school year Tuesday. The initial budget that was presented met other goals but did not include an increase in salary for teachers and other employees.

“Me personally, I think we need to give the 3-percent raise,” said board President Lester Miller.

That led Miller to suggest that the board look at raising the millage rate, which Collier said would be set in August. He estimated that, to cover a continuing pay increase of 3 percent for all school employees, a 2-mill increase would be needed. That would raise property taxes about $80 per year on a $100,000 home, but it could take that deficit in 2019 and turn it into a positive balance of $18.4 million.

“I never thought I’d come to a day I was advocating that,” Miller said.

Hall County officials and department heads are making the case to the County Commission for their 2017 budgets, according to the Gainesville Times.

The Darlington School in Rome, a private institution will lease land to Inman Solar for 25 years for a solar installation that will sell power to Georgia Power.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for May 31, 2016


Tybee is a 7-year old male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Colbert Veterinary Rescue in Colbert, GA.

Tybee is a 7 year old lab mix who is much in need of a new home since he has been in rescue for 3 years now. We acquired him from another rescue when it closed. He is sweet and gets along with Sophie who has been with him for about 2 years. He does not get along with other dogs except for Sophie. He can be adopted with Sophie (for a reduced adoption fee!) or by himself.


Sophie is an 6-year old adult female Black and Tan Coonhound who is available for adoption from Colbert Veterinary Rescue in Colbert, GA.

She is really in need of a new home since she has been in rescue for 3 years now. We acquired from another rescue when it closed. She is sweet and gets along with Tybee who has been with her for about 2 years but is also good by herself or with other dogs. We are unsure if she gets along with cats. (Tybee does not so we just have not tried her.)


Zinnia is a young female Plott Hound mix who is available for adoption from Colbert Veterinary Rescue in Colbert, GA.

Zinnia is one of the sweetest dogs we have had at the rescue. She gets along with everyone!

She came from Animals Control with an injured leg that is still healing, She will probably need a skin graft and follow-up (which we will do) but is ready for a new home as soon as possible.


Chumina is a young female Italian Greyhound who is available for adoption from the Italian Greyhound Club of America Rescue and is currently fostered in Colbert, GA.

Chumina is a wonderfull IG. She is a little on the large size for a female but that means more of her to love ! She would fit into just about any household but would probably like another dog to play with. She gets along with all dogs, big or small. I don’t know how she would do with cats though.

Chumina only has 3 legs but it does not slow her down in any way whatsoever. She is overall one of the easiest going iggys her foster has ever had the pleasure of fostering. Not only does she have brains but she is absolutely gorgeous.


Here’s a great fundraiser for one of our favorite dog rescue groups, Canine Pet Rescue. Bikes, Barks, and BarBQ will be held on Saturday, June 4, 2016.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 31, 2016

The Treaty of Augusta was signed on May 31, 1783, between the Creek Indians and Georgia Commissioners. A second, identical document would be signed on November 1 of that year.

The first graduation ceremony for the University of Georgia was held on May 31, 1804.

On May 29, 1836, the United States Senate ratified the Treaty of New Echota, which required the movement of all Cherokee out of Georgia and led to the “Trail of Tears.”

Savannah-born John C. Fremont was nominated for President of the United States by the Radical Republicans on May 31, 1864. Fremont had previously been nominated for President by the Republican Party as their first presidential candidate in 1856. Last year, Bill Nigut at GPB interviewed Cokie Roberts on her book, Capital Dames, and there’s an interesting segment on John C. Fremont and his wife, Jesse Benton Fremont, starting at about 10:30 into the audio track.

The Capital City Club in Atlanta was chartered on May 31, 1889.

On May 30, 1922, Chief Justice of the United States William H. Taft dedicated the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Inside the memorial is a seated statue of Lincoln by Daniel Chester French carved from 175 tons of Georgia white marble.

French also created the statue of Jame Oglethorpe that stands in Chippewa Square in Savannah and a seated statue of Samuel Spencer considered to be a prototype of the Lincoln carving. Samuel Spencer was the first President of Southern Railway and was originally located at the rail station in downtown Atlanta before moving to the Southern Railway passenger station in Buckhead in the 1970s and is currently at 1200 Peachtree Street in front of Norfolk Southern.

On May 29, 1942, Adolf Hitler ordered all Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris to wear a yellow Star of David on their coats.

On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepalese Sherpa, became the first to summit Mount Everest.

On May 28, Tenzing and Hillary set out, setting up high camp at 27,900 feet. After a freezing, sleepless night, the pair plodded on, reaching the South Summit by 9 a.m. and a steep rocky step, some 40 feet high, about an hour later. Wedging himself in a crack in the face, Hillary inched himself up what was thereafter known as the Hillary Step. Hillary threw down a rope, and Norgay followed. At about 11:30 a.m., the climbers arrived at the top of the world.

News of the success was rushed by runner from the expedition’s base camp to the radio post at Namche Bazar, and then sent by coded message to London, where Queen Elizabeth II learned of the achievement on June 1, the eve of her coronation. The next day, the news broke around the world. Later that year, Hillary and Hunt were knighted by the queen. Norgay, because he was not a citizen of a Commonwealth nation, received the lesser British Empire Medal.

The lone surviving member of the Hillary-Norgay expedition tells his story of the assault on Everest.

In 1953, Kanchha Sherpa was just a young boy and had little idea that he would be part of history.

“I didn´t know much,” says Kanchha, now the lone survivor of the first successful expedition to the Mount Everest. “What I knew was I was on a very risky journey.”

Until then, no human being had ever set foot on the Everest. Edmund Hillary was on a risky mission to achieve that unprecedented feat. He was backed by a group of 16 Sherpas from Darjeeling, India. And Tenzing Norge was the leader of the Sherpas.

“Tenzing was a friend of my father,” says Kanchha, now 83. “So, he took me on his expedition. He treated me like his son. So did Hillary.”

The second Brown v. Board of Education decision was handed down by the Supreme Court on May 31, 1955, ordering the Topeka, Kansas schools be desegregated ““with all deliberate speed.”

Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter appeared on the cover of Time magazine on May 31, 1971.

Time Magazine May 31 1971

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The hottest election going today is the Republican Leadership for Georgia 2016 Class Elections. I’m Team Pachyderm, FTW.

If you are an alumnus of the Coverdell Leadership Institute or Republican Leadership for Georgia, contact a current member of Pachyderm to get the password, then confirm your attendance online.

Also on tap for the Friday of the State Convention is a GAGOP Engagement Luncheon at the Pinnacle Club.

Millennials-Minorities-Mavericks:  Convention luncheon featuring nationally recognized speakers, media personalities, policy and political leaders.  Make your contribution to Georgia’s success at winning elections and impacting legislative leadership. Hear from Keynotes including Miami’s Kierstin Koppel,  D.C.’s Karin Agness and a special message from Newt Gingrich.  This is Georgia GOP’s first fundraiser for strategic minority engagement as we plan for election 2016.

The election of Ramone Lamkin over Richmond County Marshal Steve Smith illustrates the growing importance of winning the early and absentee vote.

Marshal-elect Ramone Lamkin, head of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Traffic Division, said his team took advantage of three weeks of advance voting with a tactic to overcome confusion about the election’s move by the state legislature from November to May.

“I had a van going every day during early voting,” said Lamkin, who garnered 52 percent of votes Tuesday. “Everybody said people wouldn’t come out and vote in May. I set out to prove them wrong.”

Lamkin said the Mercedes van’s driver didn’t tell voters how to vote but made them aware of the election and provided easy transportation to the polls.

The effort paid off, according to results. While he and Smith were close in regular voting Tuesday, 9,235 to 9,129, and in mailed absentee ballots, 435 to 453, Lamkin also outpolled Smith in advance, in-person voting.

Results showed that Lamkin garnered 971 more advance in-person votes than Smith, with 3,597 to Smith’s 2,626.

Bibb County School Board member Jason Downey withdrew from the July runoff for his seat, according to the Macon Telegraph.

“After a great deal of prayerful consideration and for professional reasons related to opportunities recently presented to me, I have decided that I will withdraw from seeking re-election to the Bibb County Board of Education Seat for District 6,” Downey said in a statement.

Downey was set for a runoff on July 26 against Bob Easter, who picked up 48.54 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election to Downey’s 39.44 percent.

“I’d just like to thank Jason Downey for his service to our community and look forward to bring our community together for the kids for the next four years,” Easter said.

A rarity in Columbus, as a sitting Superior Court Clerk was defeated for reelection.

Unofficial results late Tuesday showed minister Ann Hardman had unseated incumbent Superior Court Clerk Linda Pierce by 60 to 40 percent.

“I’m excited that the people believed enough in me to put me in office,” Hardman said Tuesday night.

Over the next six months, she would examine office procedures “to see how we’re doing” and look for improvements, she said.

She was unsure how she would deal with a lawsuit Pierce has filed against city leaders over her office budget.

Also in Columbus, a candidate who was disqualified from the Democratic Primary election for Sheriff took more votes than any of the other candidates.

Pam Brown today would be the Democratic nominee for Muscogee County sheriff, had she not been disqualified.

She got 5,798 votes in Tuesday’s primary, more than any other candidate on either party’s ballot.

Next came Republican Mark LaJoye with 3,599, then Democrat Donna Tompkins with 2,358, and finally, with 1,702, Robert Keith Smith, whom the county elections board disqualified along with Brown on March 30, a decision a Superior Court judge upheld on April 21.

The board disqualified LaJoye and Tompkins, too, on May 2, but a Superior Court judge reversed that decision last week.

Now as LaJoye and Tompkins go on to face incumbent John Darr in the Nov. 8 General Election, Brown needs about as many people who voted for her to sign a petition to get her back on the ballot: 5,226.

That’s the precise number needed to qualify as an Independent candidate, if not an incumbent like Darr, who has said he will run as an Independent this year. Incumbents are exempt from the petition requirement.

Sylvia Cooper of the Augusta Chronicle has one of the best reviews of local elections I’ve read.

In the Augusta Commis­sion District 1 race, won by incumbent Bill Fennoy, they’re OK with letting the whole county pay the rain tax to try to fix District 1 flooding problems. It’s still going to flood there, though, because that’s what happens when you live on flat land next to a river.

After years of complaining about Richmond County schools, voters in District 5 elected former school board president Andrew Jefferson to fix city government.

In the Super District 9 contest between two mad men, incumbent Com­mis­sio­ner Marion Williams trounced challenger Ronnie Bat­tle, who as usual had nothing to say. In defeating Battle, Williams killed two birds with one stone – Battle and his friend Com­mis­sio­­ner Sammie Sias, who encouraged Battle to run against Williams. Nobody was actually killed, of course. It’s just a convenient figure of speech.

JUDICIOUSLY SPEAKING: In the Richmond County clerk of court race, Sheriff Richard Roundtree’s secretary Hattie Sullivan soundly defeated Earnest Thompson, which shows that secretaries really do run the world.

State Court Judge John Flythe defeated attorney Evita Paschal in the race for Su­perior Court judge. In each of her speeches, Pas­chal asked people to “punch Paschal” when they voted, but since voters don’t really punch anything anymore, they must have been looking around for something to punch and forgot to vote.

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of Ms. Cooper’s analysis, but I can vouch that she has a way with words and certainly makes local politics that doesn’t affect me interesting.

In Fulton County, incorrect district lines left some voters in the wrong districts after changes in two house seats.

Fulton County officials got caught by surprise when a data glitch caused some voters to cast the wrong ballot in Tuesday’s primary. Turns out, Georgia officials and state Democrats knew of the problem since February but no one told the county until Election Day.

According to emails shared with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, officials with the Democratic Party of Georgia emailed the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office on Feb. 17 after noticing voter maps for House District 59 and House District 60 — seats held by two Democrats on the south end of Atlanta that stretch into East Point — were coded incorrectly, putting some voters in the wrong district.

That means some voters may have received the wrong ballots and voted in the wrong race.

[Fulton County] officials … on Wednesday said they believe fewer than 40 voters may have cast the wrong ballots. Officials were also able to get the correct ballots to an additional 53 voters before the polls closed Tuesday evening, preventing any further problems. The issue was isolated to one polling location and precinct in East Point.

The race for House District 59 resulted in a runoff between the top two vote-getters, but the number of voters affected by Tuesday’s problem would not have made a difference in that outcome.

This morning, we learned from Tim Bryant via Facebook that Athens-Clarke County Tax Commissioner Mitch Schrader died. Schrader had earlier this year decided against running for reelection because of his health. His Deputy Tax Commissioner, Toni Meadows, won the Democratic Primary on May 24 for the seat, apparently without General Election opposition.

Meadow said she has no immediate plans for the tax commissioner’s office, which she will take in January.

Meadow decided to run after incumbent Tax Commissioner Mitch Schrader opted not to seek re-election for health reasons. Meadow ran for the seat with Schrader’s endorsement, along with the endorsement of Athens-Clarke County Mayor Nancy Denson, herself a former county tax commissioner.

Meadow, an 11-year veteran of the tax office, said she “always thought I’d retire under Mitch,” but decided to seek the office with his encouragement.

In Carroll County, Deputy Coroner Keith Hancock is in a runoff with Keith Jiles after a three-way election yielded no one with a majority plus one vote.

A Porous Border

Remember the border dispute between Tennessee and Georgia, successful resolution of which would allow the Peach State to tap into the Tennessee River? North and South Carolina are in the midst of a truing-up of their border based on modern GPS technology. Only a handful of residents of either state are affected, but what a difference technology makes.

South Carolina and North Carolina have redrawn the line between the two states with GPS technology that allows them to confirm the boundary lines established under an English king in the 18th century down to the centimeter.

Nineteen homes are changing states. Three currently in North Carolina will end up in South Carolina, while [Dee] Martin and 15 others are going to change residency to North Carolina.

Bills finalizing the boundary change are currently in the North Carolina and South Carolina legislatures.

North Carolina’s Senate has passed its bill, sending it to the House. South Carolina’s Senate also took action, although with three days left in South Carolina’s annual session it isn’t clear whether the bill has time to pass in that state’s House.

The bills in both states include several items meant to make it easier for people switching states. North Carolina is allowing their soon-to-no-longer-be residents and their dependents in-state tuition at schools in the University of North Carolina system for the next 10 years, provided they live on the same property.

Children who attend a North Carolina K-12 public school but wind up in South Carolina can keep attending that school for free.

A Predator in Savannah

An alleged predator has been arrested in a series of attacks against girls age 13 to 17 in Savannah, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Between August 2014 and last February, girls between the ages of 13 and 17 were followed, grabbed, [assaulted or worse] as they walked through secluded areas on Savannah’s westside. Most were headed to or from school.

All 11 reported attacks and disturbing encounters within a mile and a half of each other.

The descriptions and circumstances weren’t always the same, but it was obvious young girls in the area were being targeted. Yet the attacks went on and on.

“It should have been known that this was going on so the community could have done more to protect their girls,” said Ruby Jones, a Savannah-Chatham Public School Board member who grew up and attended school in the area. “I had no idea that this was going on for this long. … There is a tendency to overlook what happens with our inner-city students because the attitude is that inner-city violence is normal.”


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for May 27, 2016


Atom (16-05-1523) is a 120-pound red and brindle Mastiff mix male who is available for adoption from Paulding County Animal Control in Dallas, GA.



Holly (16-05-1510b) is a young female Hound mix, small to medium-size, who is available for adoption from Paulding County Animal Control in Dallas, GA.


Buddy (16-05-1510a) is a young male Hound mix, small to medium-size weighing 27 pounds,who is available for adoption from Paulding County Animal Control in Dallas, GA.

I’m going to guess that Buddy and Holly are siblings.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 26, 2016

On May 27, 1813, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to John Adams to let Adams know of the death of a mutual friend.

On May 27, 1863, Chief Justice Roger Taney, sitting as a federal district court judge, issued a decision in Ex parte Merryman, which challenged President Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of the right of habeas corpus. Lincoln ignored the ruling.

Today is the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Pickett’s Mill in Paulding County, Georgia, where Sherman’s forces attacked Johnston’s Confederates on May 27, 1864. Among the combatants on the Union side was Ambrose Bierce, who would later write The Crime at Pickett’s Mill.

On May 27, 1864, the Federal Army, having been stopped in its advance on Atlanta two days earlier by the Battle of New Hope Church, attempted to outflank the Confederate position. Some 14,000 Federal troops were selected for the task, and General Howard was given command. After a five-hour march, Howard’s force reached the vicinity of Pickett’s Mill and prepared to attack. Waiting were 10,000 Confederate troops under the command of General Cleburne.

The Federal assault began at 5 p.m. and continued into the night. Daybreak found the Confederates still in possession of the field. The Federals had lost 1,600 men compared to the Confederate loss of 500. The Confederate victory resulted in a one-week delay of the Federal advance on Atlanta.

On May 27, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said the United States was in an unlimited national emergency and laid out conditions under which Germany’s expansionism would constitute an attack on the United States.

On May 27, 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter blasted the “Stop Carter” movement in a speech in Cincinnati.

Actor Christopher Reeves was thrown from his horse in an equestrian competition in Culpepper, Virginia on May 27, 1995, becoming quadraplegic.

Two years ago today, a poll by Rasmussen showed Democrat Michelle Nunn beating both Jack Kingston and David Perdue in a General Election matchup and Democrat Jason Carter beating Gov. Deal.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has gotten their hands on a recipe for unicorn milk strategy memo for the Jim Barksdale Senate campaign.

Building on efforts from high profile mid-term gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races in 2014, Democrats are investing in ambitious field program, “helmed by a pair of veterans from battleground states” that are already at work to “identify voters, recruit volunteers, [and] rally them around base-pleasing issues and corral them into votes in November.”

Georgia will inevitably turn blue on demographic changes alone, but it is the impact of the top of the ticket on both non-white and white voters that makes the ground in 2016 fertile.

Donald Trump won Georgia in the Republican primary as a populist outsider taking on the Washington establishment on economic grounds. Many white voters, driven into a frenzy by Trump, will be anti-establishment and looking to change Washington from top-to-bottom. Or white Independent and Republican voters who don’t like Trump may not vote at all. In a recent Atlanta Constitution Journal poll, 27% of Republicans and 61% of Independents viewed Trump negatively.

Incumbent U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, once seen as a sure bet for an easy reelection, now faces an opponent that will unite the Democratic base, can spend his own resources, and is well positioned to take on Isakson’s “Gone Washington” record of bad trade deals, raising the age for Social Security eligibility, and a $12.7 trillion increase in the national debt has left him with just 42% believing he deserves reelection and 42% approval, both well under the 50% threshold long seen as a bellwether mark for incumbents.

Investment manager Jim Barksdale, winner of yesterday’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, is an anti-establishment outsider with a simple message: Our national debt is too high, wages are stagnant and government needs to start working for the people instead of special interests and their lobbyists. Jim’s message is both authentic and extremely appealing to voters across the ideological spectrum. The contrast between an outsider with a fresh voice and the longtime incumbent frames Johnny Isakson in a very bad light.

So the Democratic recipe for success looks like this: one-part David Perdue outsider appeal, one-part Bernie Sanders populism. Add a dash of demographics changes, top it with a goofy hat, and bake in the oven for five months. Okay. Got it. Good luck and let me know how that turns out.

Frankly, at this point, Johnny Isakson still looks like he might get a vote percentage equal to or exceeding his age (71) in November.

Governor Nathan Deal discussed the lawsuit Georgia joined over the Obama administration’s bathroom advice.

The governor said the Obama administration flouted local control in drafting guidance that directed public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity, saying a “one-size-fits-all solution to this is totally inappropriate.”

“We thought that this was an appropriate time to challenge that authority. Nothing has officially happened in terms of withholding funds, but the threat was made that it could happen,” said Deal, who said he consulted with Attorney General Sam Olens before the lawsuit was filed. He added: “It’s important enough for us to not allow an arbitrary overreach by the president to take away or jeopardize that constant funding.”

Sarah Fay Campbell of the Newnan Times-Herald takes a look at the Republican Primary Runoff between Mike Crane and Drew Ferguson in the Third Congressional District.

Crane, who currently serves as state senator from District 28, which includes Coweta, received 15,568 votes, for 26.92 percent. Ferguson was close behind with 15,480 votes, 26.77 percent.

Crane said he appreciates the race Ferguson and “really all the other candidates ran. For the most part it was issue driven.”

“We stuck with a positive message and we’ll continue to do so” in the runoff, Crane said.

“This race is about restoring America to Constitutional government and when you do that, everything else works out. You want to have prosperity and economic growth. You don’t do it by picking winners and losers. You do it be creating a marketplace everyone can compete in and you do that by broad-bases, lower tax rates instead of special tax breaks to one industry or the other.”

“We are excited to be in the runoff,” said Ferguson. “We started with very low name ID and some doubts as to whether or not we would be able to be competitive and we worked and we worked, and that’s a testament to our campaign team and the folks around us.

Ferguson said he feels “we’ve got a group of voters out there who really are excited about the future. As tough as things may appear in America, I think they see the opportunities. I think they’ve seen what we have been able to do in West Georgia. They’re hungry for success. They want to know what the formula is.”

Runoffs used to be 21 days after an election. Now the runoff is a full two months away.

As for the Democratic Primary in the 3d District, I’d frankly forgotten there was one.

Grantville resident Angela Pendley has narrowly won the Democrat nomination for the U.S. Congress District 3 race.

The Democratic race was about as close as it could be: Newnan pastor Tamarkus Cook trailed Pendley by a mere 56 votes, out of a total 12,930 votes.

The vote margin was close enough for a recount, and Cook is requesting one.

State Representative-Elect J. Collins, after a twelve-day campaign, has a great idea: fix the election code to eliminate absurdities like twelve-day campaigns.

J. Collins said Wednesday he’ll work to change state law that led to a confusing Georgia House of Representatives District 68 contest that allowed just one day of candidate qualifying and, as one candidate put it, “disenfranchised” some early voters.

The seat became vacant when former state Rep. Dusty Hightower, R-Carrollton, was appointed by Gov. Deal as a Superior Court judge. Hightower, at the time, was the only candidate on the ballot for District 68, and early voting had already begun. Those early voters were not allowed, by law, to vote again after the three new candidates qualified.

“If the numbers hold at this time, I would like to congratulate J. Collins for winning the District 68 House race,” said [candidate Tim] Bearden. “However, I do wish the citizens of District 68 in Carroll and Douglas counties had more time than just 10 days so that they could actually hear the platforms of the candidates, all three of us, for the very important issues that are going to be discussed in this upcoming session of the General Assembly. Everything from religious liberty to campus carry, transportation and infrastructure, I just wish the voters and the candidates, all of us, had more than just 12 days to get that out to the citizens.”

Bearden said he is standing behind his statement of ensuring what happened to the “disenfranchised” voters of District 68 does not happen again to any other citizens across the nation.

Collins agrees the issue needs to be addressed.

“I certainly didn’t like the one day qualifying and few days to campaign,” he said. “But by having to play by those rules, I will try to do something at the state level to get it changed so that no one has to go through it again.”

Speaking of goofy voting, Sandy Springs will see a Special Runoff Election for City Council District 3.

With 1,907 ballots counted, none of the five candidates vying for the City Council seat received a majority of the total votes plus one.

In accordance with state law, voters will choose between the candidates receiving the two highest numbers of votes: Chris Burnett and Joe Houseman.

The runoff election will take place on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 between the hours of 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. at the Hammond Park, Round Program Building, located at 6005 Glenridge Drive.  Advance voting will take place June 13-17, 2016 between 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Hammond Park, Round Program Building.

Columbus and Muscogee County will hold at least two runoff elections in July.

Muscogee County is to have at least two runoffs, in school board Districts 1 and 7, on July 26. Early voting for the runoff will begin July 5.

At least one disqualified candidate for sheriff has mentioned possibly mounting an independent bid in November. The deadline for independent candidates to file their paperwork will be July 12.

The Augusta Chronicle looks at the runoff election for Senate District 24 near Augusta.

[Lee] Anderson has been a member of the Columbia County School Board and County Commission before election to the Georgia House of Representatives. In 2012, he won a crowded primary to earn the right to face Democratic Congressman John Barrow, only to lose in the general election that year.

“I think it’s just people know that I have the experience to be a good senator and be a good servant and not a politician,” he said.

Grzybowski has been unsuccessful in his quest for office, losing in 2015 in his try for a seat on the Columbia County Commission.

But that defeat may have helped him in this race, according to Edge, who narrowly lost a spot in the runoff to Grzybowski.

“He had established name ID from when he ran last year,” Edge said.

Color me surprised by this one: Mark Newton beat Wright McLeod in House District 123.

In a closely-watched Tuesday race, physician and businessman Mark Newton eked out a win with 51.8 percent of votes over attorney Wright McLeod for the state House District 123 seat.

Polling was very close in McLeod’s hometown of Augusta, where he garnered 89 fewer votes than Newton.

Newton polled better in Columbia County…. In all, Newton received 456 more votes than McLeod in Columbia County.

Overall totals were Newton with 3,930 votes to McLeod’s 3,385. Candidate Lori Greenhill garnered 269 votes.

McLeod said he expected to win and was unsure whether his work as an attorney for area homeowners’ associations, a sign-stealing incident involving one sign citation or some other factor cost him support.

“We’re still trying to determine what occurred and what we could have done differently,” he said. “All I can say is hats off to the guy that won.”

Read more here:

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for May 26, 2016


Bosco is a young male Basset Hound & Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Bosco is the cutest little low rider! He looks like a little foot stoo! Just as cute as cute can be. He seems to love other dogs as he gave one sweet kisses. Bosco sits when you ask him to. He arrived at the shelter as a lost dog on 5/17 and no one ever came to find their little boy. But the good news is now he can be your new best!

Bosco is up to date on shots, neutered, heartworm tested negative and will be microchipped when adopted. He is 1 1/2 years old, his ID is 584368, he is in run 54 and weighs 48 lbs. Hurry on in to meet him!


Shiloh is a female Hound and Vizsla mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Shiloh is sweet and shy. She has the cutest little face. She has not made a sound in her run, she just sits quietly watching everything going on around her taking it all in. She will be so happy to get out and into a home with a nice soft bed. She was brought to the shelter on 5/15/2016. She is only about 2 years old and 44 lbs.

Shiloh is current on her vaccines, spayed, and has tested negative for heartworms. Shiloh will be microchipped when adopted. Her ID at the shelter is 584303 and she is in run 18. Her run number could change, so please make a note of her ID and ask for assistance if you don’t find her in run 18.


Piper is a 10-month old, 61-pound male Labrador Retriever & Pointer mix, essentially a big puppy, who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Piper is a happy and playful pup who has lost his home through no fault of his own. His family said they had no time for him and were making him live in a cage all day while they worked and the kids did their thing. They said he is house trained, crate trained, good with kids and other pets. He will sit when he is told and takes a treat very gently from your hand. Being just a youngster he will be easy to train to do just about anything you want him to do.

Piper is already neutered, current on his vaccines and micro-chipped. He will be tested for heart worms when adopted. You will find this sweet baby in run 801 and his ID# is 585511. Hurry in to meet him.


Daisy is a young adult female Labrador Retriever and Pointer mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Daisy is super sweet, good with kids, and very cute. She knows basic commands also. Daisy’s family is moving out of the country and they will not be taking her with them because of the cost. Daisy was brought to the shelter as an owner turn in on 5/21/2016, and she seems a little confused by this change, but she is ready to go home with her new family as soon as you come to adopt her. She is current on her vaccines and spayed.

She is about 3 years old and 38 lbs. She will be microchipped and heartworm tested when adopted. Daisy’s ID at the shelter is 585469 and she is in run 848. Her run number could change, so please make a note of her ID number and ask for assistance if you don’t find her in run 848.