The greatest political journalist to ever put pen to paper, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, was born on July 18, 1929. That makes today “Gonzo Day.” You have been warned.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated for a third term at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago on July 18, 1940.
President Harry S. Truman signed the second Presidential Succession Act on July 18, 1947
The original succession act designated the Senate president pro tempore as the first in line to succeed the president should he and the vice president die unexpectedly while in office. If he for some reason could not take over the duties, the speaker of the house was placed next in the line of succession. In 1886, during Grover Cleveland‘s administration, Congress removed both the Senate president and the speaker of the house from the line of succession. From that time until 1947, two cabinet officials, (their order in line depended on the order in which the agencies were created) became the next in line to succeed a president should the vice president also become incapacitated or die. The decision was controversial. Many members of Congress felt that those in a position to succeed the president should be elected officials and not, as cabinet members were, political appointees, thereby giving both Republican and Democratic parties a chance at controlling the White House.
In 1945, then-Vice President Truman assumed the presidency after Franklin Roosevelt died of a stroke during his fourth term. As president, Truman advanced the view that the speaker of the house, as an elected official, should be next in line to be president after the vice president. On July 18, 1947, he signed an act that resurrected the original 1792 law, but placed the speaker ahead of the Senate president pro tempore in the hierarchy.
On July 18, 1988, the Democratic National Convention opened at the Omni in Atlanta. That night, actor Rob Lowe would shoot a videotape in a hotel with two hairdressers, one 22 and one 16. Several weeks later, the era of the celebrity sex tape began.
On July 18, 2000, United States Senator Paul Coverdell died of a cerebral hemorrhage. I remember where I was when I heard the news.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
More than 53,000 Georgians have cast votes in early and advance voting.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office reported that more than 53,000 people so far cast ballots for races around the state since July 5. Georgia law requires a runoff if no candidate wins a majority in a general primary. There are no statewide races this time, but a competitive congressional and several heated local races are drawing interest in the heat of summer.
In Cobb County, for example, election officials are seeing higher turnout for earlier voting in the Republican runoff to lead the county’s commission than they did in May. Incumbent chair Tim Lee is trying to hold off a challenge from Mike Boyce, who got the highest vote total in the primary but fell short of the majority needed to prevent a runoff.
Janine Eveler, director of elections for the Cobb County Board of Elections, said about 2,800 people voted early in the runoff so far compared to about 1,680 at this point in May.
“It is unusual,” Eveler said. “Normally, we see those numbers go down for runoffs.”
In the South Georgia Judicial Circuit, runoff candidates Ryan Cleveland and Heather Lanier are urging their voters to the polls.
“Based on history, there’s going to be a drop-off in the numbers (of voters), but my job is to let people know how serious this race is,” Cleveland said. “Superior Court, maybe more than any other court, touches people’s lives in many ways. From family court, to domestic law, to criminal proceedings, it affects so many people.”
In the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit, campaign spending is at a high rate headed into the runoff.
Campaign spending in the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Superior Court judge race topped $220,000 by June 30, including the dollars spent by Martha Hall and Michael Muldrew, who are contenders in the July 26 runoff, as well as by a third candidate left behind in May.
With contributions and self-financing totaling $231,180 by the reporting date, this is the most richly funded “local” election this season, but the circuit encompasses four counties. Other races still in play are confined to Bulloch County. Primary season spending in the sheriff’s race exceeded $142,000.The race for Bulloch County Probate Court judge, with originally five candidates and now down to two in the runoff, accounted for $57,574 in spending through June 30.
For the next few days, most of Georgia politics will take place on the shore of Lake Erie at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, where four delegates learned yesterday how to spell O-H-I-O.
Here’s what I consider to be yesterday’s number one most important result from yesterday: Georgia Delegates signed paperwork demonstrating that Trump has support of a majority of the delegation, one of eight states required to do so for his name to be put formally into nomination at the convention.
Senator David Perdue was optimistic heading to Cleveland, where he serves as honorary delegation chair for Georgia.
“I think you saw people beginning to realize…not only can this guy win in November, but he can help us turn the direction of our country,” said Perdue. “Which is why some of us got involved in the first place.”
Perdue says Trump was responsive to his two main concerns; national security and the debt crisis. He’s confident the republican party will highlight the issues next week.
“I think it’s bigger than any one candidate,” said Perdue. “What we’re talking about is the future of our country.”
The Georgia Delegation began its convention festivities with a Sunday brunch, as noted by Scott Johnson, writing in the MDJ,
At the delegation brunch at the Wyndham, Chairman John Padgett fired up the party faithful with a rousing welcome to Cleveland and a call for party unity. He reminded us that this election is about not just our future but the future of our children and grandchildren. His words brought the partisan crowd to their feet.
Following his speech, Padgett introduced Georgia’s junior Senator, David Perdue. Perdue was genuinely emotional in his appreciation of the welcome he received and the very fact that Georgians have entrusted him to be our U.S. Senator. He points out that he and the GOP presidential nominee have more than a little in common — both businessmen with little or no political experience regarded as outsiders and given little chance of success when they launched their campaign. Perdue believes that Trump can take the nation in a new direction and be the change that America needs. He’s obviously on board to help make that happen.
After speaking to the delegation, Perdue was surrounded by a gaggle of AJC reporters and others.
“We’ve got to take Georgia out of play. We need to throw the hammer down and make sure we drive the early polls so we can help other states, like Pennsylvania and Ohio, that could be in play,” said Perdue. “This guy could win big. And I’ll tell you, if you want to do anything for conservative causes, you need to win big.”
Georgia is one of 17 states Trump’s campaign has targeted as must-wins to preserve his chance of taking the White House. A united front, Perdue said, will prevent Democrat Hillary Clinton’s camp from pouring resources and staff into the state. And Perdue will be among the Trump supporters traveling from delegation-to-delegation to drum up support for the candidate.
“We don’t have any drama in the Georgia delegation. We’re here to make sure Donald J. Trump is the next president of the United States. I know what you’re thinking – he wasn’t my first choice. He wasn’t my second choice. But let me remind you: This is not a candidate to be embarrassed about. And let me tell you why: We have an outsider. This isn’t something from the Washington establishment.”
He said he’s confident the 76 delegates would vote unanimously for Trump.
Eighteen year-old Tanner Goldsmith of Columbus is among the alternates from Georgia to the Republican National Convention.
“I’m definitely excited to go to the convention, as far as going and seeing how all the under-workings go,” said Goldsmith, who as an alternate can participate as much as a full delegate except vote. “But at the same time, it’s a little nerve-wracking, looking at the news, seeing what’s going on with Trump, seeing some of these protests, hearing Fox reporters saying, ‘I wonder what’s going to happen in Cleveland.’”
From Middle Georgia, Jade Morey and Bill Knowles and Vance Dean from South Georgia joined the Georgia delegation in Clevland.
In 2008, a then 20-year-old Jade Morey attended the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. This week, the Houston County resident returns to another convention as an at-large delegate, giving her a prime position as the party nominates its candidate for president and adopts the party platform, among other duties.
“There are an immense amount of logistics that go into a national convention, and it’s quite a process leading up to and keeping up with the week,” Morey said by email. “You will run into all sorts of celebrities (both Hollywood and the political kind) as it’s a relatively small number of attendees. Sometimes it feels like there are more members of the media present than actual delegation members.”
This is the third consecutive trip to a Republican National Convention for Macon businessman and alternate Bill Knowles. There’s more freedom for alternates, he said, since they sit in the balcony, while the delegates are on the main floor.
“We get to do whatever we want,” Knowles said of being an alternate. “We’ll mill around with other people.”
Another alternate is Vance Dean, chairman of the GOP’s 8th Congressional District. He said he’s ready for a festive affair.
Dean supported former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee until he dropped out of the race, then became a Ted Cruz backer. Now, though, he said he’s “110 percent” behind Trump.
“I expect this to be a really busy week,” he said. “There’s an activity from the time you wake up to way after I’ll be asleep. … I feel like we’ve come off eight years of a president who has promised a lot and really delivered none of that.”
The Augusta Chronicle spoke to local delegates headed to the convention.
They include Evans state GOP second vice chairwoman and Savannah River Site analyst Debbie McCord, attending her third convention this year.
Though she’d gone “through probably five” candidates, McCord said she’s now planted firmly behind Trump, to whom she’s a pledged delegate.
“In talking with our national committee man and national committee woman, I don’t anticipate any shenanigans,” McCord said.
Trump “won 1,237 delegates. He’s entitled to be the nominee and I agree with them 100 percent.”
Augusta Republican and attorney Sherry Barnes said Trump also wasn’t her first choice, but “when it was evident he was coming out on top then I fully supported him.”
Michael Welsh, delegate and the 12th Congressional District chairman, expects “a media show” but nothing unusual during the convention, despite support for the “Never Trump” movement among area Republicans.
“There were a lot of never Romneys too, never McCains, never Bushes and never Reagans before that,” Welsh said. “You have a very diverse and large environment called the American populace and you’re never going to get consensus on anything.”
Georgia’s own Nick Ayers is serving as Senior Adviser to Governor Mike Pence, Trump’s VP nominee.