SPLOST question: What’s in the proposal for Planning and Development? | The Augusta Chronicle

Augusta residents are set to vote on the consolidated government’s latest special purpose local option sales tax package in a referendum May 20. The Augusta Chronicle is addressing the 1 percent sales tax collection in a continuing series until election day.

Q: What’s in SPLOST 7 for Augusta’s Planning and Development department?

A: Listed in the package for Planning and Development is $6.5 million, with $4 million for demolition of dilapidated structures and $2.5 million for flood reduction, including the acquisition of flood-prone properties.

via SPLOST question: What’s in the proposal for Planning and Development? | The Augusta Chronicle.

Richmond County: Advance Voting Increases Voter Turnout – WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Close to 3500 Richmond County voters have cast a ballot in the weeks leading up to Election Day as of Wednesday morning, according to the city.

Advance Voting is a growing trend which it more convenient for people to exercise their right to vote, Executive Director Lynn Bailey said.

“This is the second full election cycle that we’ve had Advance Voting,” Bailey said. “It’s a concept that’s slowly catching on. I think many Georgia voters like it.”

via Richmond County: Advance Voting Increases Voter Turnout – WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 15, 2014

Georgia and American History

On May 15, 1791, George Washington left Augusta for Savannah.

On May 15, 1800, President John Adams ordered all 125 employees of the federal government to begin packing to move the capital from Philadelphia to Washington, DC.

On May 15, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Military Division of the Mississippi remained engaged against Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Resaca, Georgia.

At New Market, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley, Major General John C. Breckenridge commanded 4800 Confederate soldiers, including the entire Corps of Cadets from Virginia Military Institute. Breckenridge previously had served as United State Representative and Senator from Kentucky, and as the youngest Vice President of the United States under President James Buchanan. Breckenridge was the Democratic nominee for President in 1860, coming in third in the popular vote and second in the Electoral College to Abraham Lincoln.

Breckenridge attacked forces under Major General Franz Sigel and they skirmished through the morning until Union forces broke through the Confederate lines.

With no other reserves available, Breckinridge reluctantly ordered the VMI cadets into line, saying, “Put the boys in, and may God forgive me for the order.”

The four companies of cadets divided around the Bushong house and regrouped along a fence at the edge of the field some 200 yards from the Union line.  When a cavalry assault ordered by Sigel was repulsed, Breckinridge sensed the moment had come for the climactic charge, and ordered his entire line forward.  As the cadets moved through the muddy, ruined wheat, many had the shoes sucked from their feet, giving the ground the legendary name the “Field of Lost Shoes.”  The Confederate charge drove Sigel’s army back across Smith Creek and captured several cannon that could not be removed in time.  One of the guns was taken by the cadets, giving them the ultimate infantryman’s prize in their baptism of fire.

Ten cadets died or suffered mortal wounds that day. This week a dozen cadets left Lexington to retrace the march to New Market. This weekend will see the oldest battle reenactment at New Market.

On the anniversary of the Battle of New Market, the roll of those who died there is called.

New Market Roll Call

When I was in Lexington we played rugby against VMI frequently, and it’s something else to take the field on their parade ground, where William Pendleton‘s battery of cannon named Matthew, Mark, Luke & John anchored one end of the pitch.

VMI2013

This VMI video, obviously intended for students considering applying, includes some rugby footage.

American artist Jasper Johns was born May 15, 1930 in Augusta, Georgia.

JasperJohnsThree_Flags

Carl Sanders was born on May 15, 1925 in Augusta, Georgia. He served in the United States Air Force, Georgia House of Representatives and State Senate, where he was President Pro Tem. In 1962, Sanders won the Democratic Primary for Governor, defeating former Governor Marvin Griffin, and in November was the first Governor of Georgia elected by popular vote after the County Unit System was abolished.

Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz was born on May 15, 1967 in Lansing, Michigan. Smoltz pitched a complete game shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh game of the National League Championship Series in 1991, sending the Braves to their first World Series since moving to Atlanta in 1966. Smoltz was chosen for the All Star team eight times and won the Cy Young award in 1996.

Yet another poll

We surveyed 1006 likely Republican Primary Voters on the evenings of May 12-13, 2014. We weighted the results to approximate the distribution of voters’ age groups in the 2010 General Primary Election.

The question: If the Republican Primary for US Senate were held today and the candidates were Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, Karen Handel, Jack Kingston, and David Perdue, for whom would you vote?

Paul Broun………….11.0%
Art Gardner………….2.1%
Phil Gingrey………..12.1%
Derrick Grayson…..2.4%
Karen Handel……..20.1%
Jack Kingston……..20.5%
David Perdue………20.1%
Undecided……………11.7%

Data collection was done by IVR phone polling using a series of voice questions and prompts recorded by professional voice talent. Margin of error is +/- 3.1 points at the 95% confidence interval.

My take on the state of the Senate race has been for several days that it’s too close to call among the top three candidates. Voter turnout or the lack of turnout, could be the deciding factor. I think this situation favors Karen Handel and Jack Kingston, in that order. Their field operations appear more robust and their supporters more enthusiastic and engaged.

Jackie Cushman writes in TownHall.com about voter turnout and how it effects polling:

Many of the polls so far have been based on total population or on registered voters, but they may not give an accurate picture of what will happen. That’s because, in off-season elections, the opinion of those who bother to go to the polls may not reflect the opinion of the universe of voters who are eligible to do so.

This is true not only in Georgia but across the country.

President Obama is not up for reelection, but his approval/ disapproval ratings will have an effect on those running on the Democratic ticket. The Republicans in the House are expected to retain the majority and more than likely pick up seats.

This year, the midterm elections will be about turnout. Let’s drive turnout based on voter enthusiasm.

Voter Turnout

Richmond County reports more than 3500 early voters so far this year, leading to high expectations for turnout. Augusta elections include Mayor and 5 Commission Districts and a renewal of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax ,or SPLOST 7. In the heated Mayor’s race, candidate Helen Blocker-Adams is reported to have had more than 40 eviction notices between 2007 and 2013. A poll by InsiderAdvantage for the Augusta Chronicle released May 3d showed State Senator Hardie Davis with a healthy lead in the mayoral race.

This week, a lawsuit challenging the May 20th election date for local Augusta/Richmond County offices was dismissed.

The lawsuit …. contended that the decision to move the local elections from the November general election ballot to the May 20 statewide primary election ballot violates the Voting Rights Act.

The court ruled that the formula used to determine which states had to seek preclearance could no longer be used. Without a formula, no state is currently subjected to the preclearance requirement, Hall wrote.

Although Georgia had submitted its change in election dates to the Justice Department before the Shelby decision was reached, the department’s objection is inescapably unenforceable, Hall wrote.

In December 2012, the Justice Department opposed the election date change, contending it would have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote.

Augusta is also largely within the Twelfth Congressional District, where Republican candidates are battling for a runoff berth and eventual challenge to Democratic incumbent Congressman John Barrow.

Barrow better be comfortable among GOP faithful, because his district is filled with them. After opting against a Senate bid last year, Barrow, a regular top target of national Republicans, is awaiting the conclusion of a GOP primary filled with candidates sure they should be able to pick off a district that President Barack Obama lost by 12 points in 2012.

And the incumbent is unlikely to find out his Republican opponent on Tuesday — two from the five-candidate primary field are expected to be forced into a July runoff, with no candidate likely to surpass the 50 percent threshold needed to win the nomination outright. This is the only district in the state that has the chance to flip party control.

In my opinion, those local races are driving early and advanced voting more than anything else.

Pierce County reports hopeful numbers:

Advanced voting, long popular with voters, continues to be strong — except for this year’s Saturday voting. The lone Saturday set aside for early voting saw a poor turnout as only 30 residents cast ballots during the seven hours. So far, however, a total of 741 ballots had been cast early in person as of press time– or about nine percent of registered voters so far. A total of 110 absentee ballots have also been cast. Those numbers are on track with 2010, which also featured a chairman’s race and the same commissioner posts up for grabs. However, they are much lower than the almost 2,500 early votes cast during the hotly contested sheriff’s race in 2012.

Floyd County saw a high number of votes cast last Saturday, but still predicts low overall turnout.

A county official is continuing to predict a low voter turnout for next week’s primary election, despite a better-than-usual participation rate during the one weekend date for advanced voting.

Friday is the last day of early voting prior to the May 20 election.

Evon Billups, elections supervisor for Floyd County, is still estimating about a 15-percent turnout of the county’s registered voters based on the numbers so far.

A total of 639 people had cast ballots during early voting in Floyd County through Monday evening.

Billups said that is a low number considering the total number of registered voters in the county, which was 43,224 as of Nov. 26 last year according to the Secretary of State’s election division.

“The primary does not seem to be the flavor for Floyd County,” Billups said, adding that some voters don’t like having to pick either the Republican or Democrat ballot and want to choose candidates from both.

Earlier this week, WABE’s Michelle Wirth spoke to Secretary of State Brian Kemp about early voting and turnout.

Kemp said comparing early voting numbers and turnout in general this year will have a twist, because this is the first time Georgia has held its primary in May rather than July.

“We really don’t know what to expect. We haven’t had a May primary before, so it’s going to be interesting to see you know how that affects turnout, if it does at all. It may being very similar to what we’ve seen in the past. We’ll just have to wait and compare those numbers when we’re finished.”

Statewide 149,446 primary ballots were cast so far this year as of yesterday’s absentee voter report from the Secretary of State. So far this week, the number of ballots cast shows a strong improvement over last week, the first week of in-person advance voting.

Ballots by Party
Republican………90,595……60.5%
Democratic………56,884……38.1%
Nonpartisan………1,967………1.3%

Ballots by Gender
Female………..53.5%
Male………….46.5%

Ballots by Selected County
Fulton………..10,513
DeKalb………..9,142
Cobb………….7,140
Muscogee……5,962
Gwinnett……..4,086
Cherokee…….4,063
Richmond…..3,975

Ballots by Date
May 5…..10,078
May 6…..11,179
May 7…..10,909
May 8…..10,383
May 9…..12,098
May 10…10,258

May 12…17,932
May 13…19,991

Empty Podium wins Gubernatorial debate

Walter Jones of Morris News was a panelist at last night’s debate between State School Superintendent John Barge, former Dalton Mayor David Pennington, and an empty podium representing Governor Nathan Deal. Walter also reported on the debate:

Gubernatorial candidates John Barge of Floyd County and David Pennington of Dalton debated each other about education spending and Republican credentials Wednesday night, but they mostly they took turns attacking the absent incumbent, Nathan Deal.

“Nathan, why, as leader of our state and leader of our party, did you decline or were too scare to come to this debate and defend your record,” Pennington asked the empty lectern reserved to Deal.

Over the next 20 minutes alloted for the debate, the erstwhile candidates did more damage to themselves by revealing that they offer no reason for their election other than that they don’t like Nathan Deal or some of the actions Deal’s administration has taken.

Protest candidates can only get protest votes unless they offer their own vision for the state. Last night, both Barge and Pennington proved their vision is as empty as the podium they asked questions of.

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for May 15, 2014

The following puppies are all about two months old and weigh about ten pounds each. They will be available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, Ga beginning on Saturday.Pepper
Pepper
Piper
Piper
Penny Penny
Lulu
Lulu
Ivey

Ivey is a two-month old mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, Ga beginning on Saturday.

United States Senate Poll Results: Too Close to Call

We surveyed 1006 likely Republican Primary Voters on the evenings of May 12-13, 2014. We weighted the results to approximate the distribution of voters’ age groups in the 2010 General Primary Election.

The question: If the Republican Primary for US Senate were held today and the candidates were Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, Karen Handel, Jack Kingston, and David Perdue, for whom would you vote?

Paul Broun………….11.0%
Art Gardner………….2.1%
Phil Gingrey………..12.1%
Derrick Grayson…..2.4%
Karen Handel……..20.1%
Jack Kingston……..20.5%
David Perdue………20.1%
Undecided……………11.7%

 

Data collection was done by IVR phone polling using a series of voice questions and prompts recorded by professional voice talent. Margin of error is +/- 3.1 points at the 95% confidence interval.

Former NW Georgia Judge Indicted on 6 Counts | The Daily Report

ROME, Ga. AP — A grand jury in northwest Georgia has indicted a former judge on criminal charges including witness tampering and conspiracy to distribute drugs.

The seven-page indictment accusing former Murray County Chief Magistrate Judge Bryant Cochran of the crimes was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in north Georgia.

via Former NW Georgia Judge Indicted on 6 Counts | The Daily Report.

Early Voting Nears End | WABE 90.1 FM

On Monday, Secretary of State Brian Kemp said more than 110,000 Georgians have taken advantage of early voting ahead of the May 20 primary election.

“We feel like that number will continue certainly to go up the rest of the week and probably in a little quicker fashion than it did. I think it’s been steady, but I’m just speculating. We’ll know a lot more on Friday.”

And Kemp said comparing early voting numbers and turnout in general this year will have a twist, because this is the first time Georgia has held its primary in May rather than July.

via Early Voting Nears End | WABE 90.1 FM.

University survey shows a tight primary, Senate race | InsiderAdvantageGeorgia

ATLANTA — The Republican Senate primary and then the general election both appear to have unpredictable outcomes, according to a university survey released Monday.

The poll findings reflect recent media surveys showing the contests too close to call.

Conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, a Catholic school based in Florida, the poll found retired businessman David Perdue leading the primary with 26 percent.

Second place is essentially shared by Jack Kingston, a Savannah congressman, and Karen Handel, Georgia’s former secretary of state. He has 16 percent to her 15, with the spread smaller than the survey’s 4 percent margin of error.

Congressmen Paul Broun of Athens and Phil Gingrey of Marietta have 13 percent and 8 respectively, and 21 percent remain undecided in the final week of the primary.

In head-to-head matchups before general-election voters against likely Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn, all but Perdue would be behind if the general election were held today. Perdue beats her, 41 percent to her 37, but that range falls within the margin of error resulting in a toss-up.

Nunn leads the other Republicans by 1-6 percentage points.

“Whoever emerges from the July runoff will face the very popular Michelle Nunn, who, like Perdue, has never held public office, but benefits from the fact that her father is former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University.

via University survey shows a tight primary, Senate race | InsiderAdvantageGeorgia.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 14, 2014

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention began assembling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 14, 1787, the designated starting day. Because a large number of delegates had not arrived the opening of the Convention was moved to May 25.

On May 14, 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left St. Louis, Missouri to explore the Northwest United States from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.

One hundred fifty years ago today, on May 14, 2014, the VMI Corps of Cadets marched 15 miles and camped overnight at Mt. Tabor, near New Market, Virginia. The next day they would march into history.

On the same day, the Battle of Resaca was fully engaged in Northwest Georgia.

On Saturday, May 14, the fighting at Resaca escalated into a full-scale battle. Beginning at dawn, Union forces engaged the Confederates along the entire four-mile front. In the early afternoon Schofield’s Army of the Ohio attacked the sharply angled center of the Confederate line. The assault was badly managed and disorganized, in part because one of Schofield’s division commanders was drunk. As the Union attack unraveled and became a fiasco, Johnston launched a counterattack on Sherman’s left flank. The counterattack collapsed, however, in the face of a determined stand by a Union artillery battery. In the evening Union forces pushed forward and seized the high ground west of Resaca, which placed the bridges leading south from the town within artillery range and threatened Johnston’s line of retreat.The following day Sherman renewed his assault on the Confederate center.

This weekend, from May 16-19, 2014, a live reenactment of the Battle of Resaca will be held at Resaca.

Resaca_2014_flyer

Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Atlanta History Center’s original production “37 Weeks that Changed Georgia” chronicles the Battle of Resaca in this week’s episode.

Tune in tonight and tomorrow for ToddTV

Tonight at 7 PM, I’ll be on Georgia Public Broadcasting for the 2/3 Debate between the Republican challengers for Governor. Tomorrow night, I’ll be there again for a live political roundtable. I’d try to live-tweet it, but the staff won’t let me have my iPhone on the set. Oh, well.

Weekend GPB/Atlanta Press Club Debates now online

GaPundit Polling Index

The GaPundit Polling Index is a weighted average of the last five publicly-released polls. Also, note that a new SurveyUSA poll was dropped today.

GaPunditPollingIndes05142014v2

If you have trouble viewing that table, here’s the GaPundit Polling Index in a more old-eye friendly format

David Perdue…………25.1%
Jack Kingston……….16.8%
Karen Handel………..16.7%
Paul Broun……………11.0%
Puli Gingrey…………..9.4%
Undecided…………….18.6%

Without early and advance voting turnout very low, it’s anyone’s game to pick up one of two tickets to the second round.

Meagan Meyers Hanson seeks reelection to GFYR Chair

Meagan Myers Hanson announced that she will seek a third and final term as the Chairman of the Georgia Young Republicans. Elections will be held at the Georgia Young Republicans State Convention on June 14, 2014 in Savannah, Georgia.

In the past two years under Chairman Hanson’s leadership, the Georgia Young Republicans have seen growth in overall membership and new clubs across the state. In 2012, the YRs took an active role in campaigning in local, state, and federal campaigns across Georgia in addition to Jacksonville, Florida for Romney/Ryan. Hanson also instituted the inaugural ‘GYR at the Gold Dome’ event in 2013 where YRs mingled with elected officials from across the state. The 2014 GYR at the Gold Dome event was even more well-attended by over 100 YRs and elected officials including special guest speaker Governor Nathan Deal. The GYRs also hosted ‘GYR Base Camp’ a successful grassroots training on GOP minority messaging, voter registration, and Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts.

Chairman Hanson plans to continue encouraging YRs across Georgia to be active in their county parties, developing a positive relationship with the GAGOP, and increasing the visibility of the Georgia Young Republicans.

Hanson is a member of the Atlanta Young Republicans, and she serves as Chairman of the State Chairmen’s Association of the Young Republicans National Federation. She regularly travels across Georgia and the Southeast to speak at YR meetings, county party meetings, and to other conservative organizations.

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for May 14, 2014

ChancyBear

Chancy Bear is an adult male Lhasa Apso who is available for adoption from Echota Pet Rescue in Calhoun, Ga. Chancy Bear is a great boy. He is very sweet and playful.

He is an owner surrender, he does have an ear issue that needs attention and like any animal, small kids who are not familiar how to interact with animals would not be best.

Checkers

Checkers is a wonderful 3 year old, small male beagle who is available for adoption from Animal Rescue League of Northwest Georgia in Calhoun, GA. He is sweet, affectionate, spunky but laid back…. and he is not a barker!!!!

After coming to the rescue, they discovered Checkers has an enlarged heart. It isn’t a big deal and definitely has not affected his quality of life. He will need to be on medication for the rest of his life (inexpensive, only about $25 each month). Don’t let this discourage you his enlarged heart just means he has far more love to give! Checkers is crate trained, neutered, and is up to date on all his vaccinations.

Pongo2

Pongo is an adult male Spaniel mix who is available for adoption from the Animal Rescue League of Northwest Georgia in Calhoun, Ga.

Pongo was rescued at a local plant off of HWY 53. The office staff and workers searched high and low for a rescue to take in their sweet baby. What a joy Pongo is to be around! Pongo is a sweet middle age boy, who loves his people.

He shows his happiness through his constantly wagging tail. (In fact, you can tell in his pictures – his body is curved in all of them because his tail wag is accompanied by a butt wag!) Pongo gets along great with dogs and is doing great on housetraining!!