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21
Dec

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 21, 2015

Georgia History

On December 21, 1829, Georgia Governor George Gilmer signed legislation outlawing the teaching of African-Americans to read or write. One year later to the day, he signed legislation claiming for the state all territory occupied by the Cherokee tribe.

On December 21, 1835, Oglethorpe University was incorporated near Macon, later moving to Atlanta.

On December 21, 1863, the Confederate government selected a site in Sumter County for construction of Camp Sumter, which would be better known by the name Andersonville Prison.

General William Tecumseh Sherman received the surrender of Savannah, Georgia on December 21, 1864.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

With Christmas fast approaching, we’re happy to begin this morning with an uplifting story out of Douglas County, Georgia.

Douglas County Superior Court judge Beau McClain came up with a bold idea.

Let’s serve all the needy children in this community,” he proclaimed.

All of them. Toys for roughly 17,000 Douglas County children. With only about $60,000 in cash donations.

“We haven’t done a whole lot of fundraising,” remarked Judge McClain. “The money has just shown up.”

First, how do you find every needy child in Douglas County? Judge McClain started by asking the school system to identify every student who’s on free or reduced lunch. Because that information is private, organizers asked the school system to give those students a golden ticket and bring it to a special distribution spot this weekend, a ticket redeemable for at least one Christmas present.

Second, how to get the toys with little money on hand to buy them?

Turns out, almost all those presents were donated. They began arriving this summer, when Judge McClain received several pallets of slightly damaged toys from a friend.

But it was the only packaging that was damaged. The toys themselves were fine. And they were top-of-the-line toys like Star Wars action figures and Elmo. Judge McClain thought the box would make no difference to a happy kid.

“You know Christmas morning a child is going to tear that box apart to get to that toy and start playing with it.” Judge McClain pointed out.

Toys for Tots decided to make Operation Christmas the sole distributor in Douglas County. Operation Christmas wound up with plenty of toys, even more for the younger children.

“Kids from six down to infant are going to be amazed by what they wake up and see under the Christmas Tree on December 25. God showed up with incredible abundance and we have more than enough for everyone.”

Thanks to Judge McClain and all who gave their gifts, their time, and their treasure to make this happen.

On Friday morning at the Georgia State Capitol, Senator JaNice Van Ness was cermonially sworn-in to the state’s Senior chamber as the newest Senator, representing DeKalb, Newton, and Rockdale Counties. JaNice Van Ness Podium

Sen. Van Ness also recorded a brief video message for her constituents.

Larry Walker Ross Tolleson

Larry Walker, III was also at the Capitol and sworn-in as the new State Senator from District 20, succeeding Sen. Ross Tolleson, with whom he is pictured above.

Ted Cruz came to Georgia this weekend with stops in Kennesaw and Bloomingdale.

Cruz Inside 2

Cruz was accompanied by his wife, Heidi, and his two daughters.

Cruz Portrait Backdrop

Herman Cain was among the introductory speakers.

Herman Cain at Ted Cruz

Jon Gillooly of the Marietta Daily Journal covered the Cruz appearance in Kennesaw.

With his wife and two daughters at his side, Cruz, decked out in a brown leather jacket, blue jeans and cowboy boots, spoke to a crowd estimated at 2,000, according to Scott Johnson of east Cobb, the campaign’s state grassroots co-chair.

Cruz spoke to reporters before he was introduced to the crowd by radio host Herman Cain, a former GOP presidential candidate.

“Our team we’ve got here in the great state of Georgia is incredible,” Cruz said. “And what we’re seeing here, what we’re seeing in the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada and what we’re seeing all across the country is the old Reagan coalition coming back together.”

[Cobb GOP Chair Rose Wing said,] “It confirms the fact that Cobb County is the strongest Republican county in the state of Georgia, and our candidates are coming here to talk to, particularly in these rallies, to the grassroots and to get the support of those voters here in Cobb County. They know this is where the base is.”

On Saturday Morning, the Cruz campaign held a rally at Ottawa Farms in Bloomingdale, which is in Chatham County.

Attendees included Savannah mayor-elect Eddie DeLoach, U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, and former U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, who introduced Cruz.

The Texas senator began his town hall by listing the five things he plans to do on his first day in office and why his stop here is so important.

“Georgia is going to play a critical role in Super Tuesday and the so called SEC primary,” he said. “Georgia is going to help ensure that we as Republicans nominate a real conservative, a strong principled conservative to be president. …Our constitutional rights are under assault each and every day and America has receded from leadership. It has made the world a much more dangerous place.

“And yet I’m here with a word of hope, encouragement and exaltation. … The first thing I intend to do is rescind every illegal and unconstitutional executive action taken by this president. President Obama is fond of saying he’s got a phone and he’s got a pen. You live by the pen. You die by the pen. And my pen has got an eraser.”

Cruz said he would move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, launch an investigation into Planned Parenthood, end the country’s nuclear deal with Iran and end federal persecution of religious liberty.

Cruz said during a small news conference after his speech that he could see a role for fellow Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio in his administration, but he failed to elaborate what the role would be.

“Marco is a very talented leader,” he said. “Any Republican president would be a fool for the men and women standing on that debate stage not to comprise a substantial portion of their candidate, and I look forward to hopefully winning the nomination, winning the election and continuing to work with these extraordinary leaders from across the country.”

Greg Bluestein of the AJC puts the Cruz campaign swing through Southern states in the larger context of the Presidential campaign’s race for delegates to the Republican National Convention.

As he tries to position himself as the alternative to Donald Trump over the likes of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and other establishment favorites, the regional March 1 vote — known in these parts as the SEC primary — is the cornerstone of his strategy.

“I don’t know who did the calendar,” said Rick Tyler, a Cruz spokesman, “but it certainly benefits us.”

There are 565 delegates up for grabs March 1 in the first wave of primaries and caucuses held after the four early-voting contests in February: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Cruz’s home state of Texas has the most delegates at stake that day. The delegates are awarded proportionally instead of on a winner-takes-all basis, which means no candidate is likely to land a knockout blow.

But Cruz hopes to emerge from the vote as one of the last contenders standing. And his visit to Kennesaw on Friday — the third stop in a weeklong tour of cities voting March 1 — is aimed at consolidating his support in Georgia.

“We are so encouraged by what we’re seeing. The energy, the passion, the excitement we’re seeing on the ground is breathtaking,” said Cruz. “We’re seeing conservatives uniting, and that’s what it will take to win.”

To answer Rick Tyler’s question, credit for the prominence of Georgia and the South in this year’s presidential campaign goes largely to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

Politico.com also ran a piece on Ted Cruz and his southern strategy for the GOP nomination.

He jets between stops in a charter plane, the crowds at his events line up in advance outside the doors and young attendees are treated to peppermint sticks and pictures with Santa.

It’s not quite the spectacle of the Donald Trump show, but as Ted Cruz barnstorms through his 12-day Southern swing he is producing his own series of campaign extravaganzas that befit his newfound status as Trump’s closest rival.

The differences between this tour and Cruz’s first major trip through the South — a summer bus tour in August — are manifest. The crowds are bigger this time and the events come with more bells and whistles, ranging from videos that feature endorsements from prominent conservative leaders to the heightened presence of lawmakers and party officials.

Back in August, as a middle-of-the-packer, Cruz’s stops at restaurants and in parking lots had an informal feel. Now, firmly ensconced in second place after Trump in national polls and leading in Iowa, Cruz holds elaborate and orderly gatherings marked by single-file lines to enter the venues, VIP lists and a robust security presence.

The Texas senator is now halfway through his 12-cities-in-12-days tour through many of the Southern states that vote on March 1 — states that Cruz is counting on to serve as a firewall. But looming large over Cruz’s splashy efforts is Trump, whose own rallies — particularly here in Alabama — have drawn huge crowds.

Cruz’s events this weekend were hardly on Trump’s scale. He had 1,300 at a Saturday event near Mobile, and around 1,500 packed into a civic center here, in this small town near Birmingham, on Sunday — large crowds for any candidate other than Trump, who drew roughly 20,000 people to Mobile in August.

Many of those in attendance at Cruz’s rallies were hopeful that the senator’s field organization and debate performances will keep him competitive in the region despite widespread interest in Trump, at least some of which, they contend, is due to the novelty factor of his candidacy rather than genuine support.

In Alabama and elsewhere in the South, Cruz has brought on board leading conservative activists and is organizing intensively on the ground, aggressively list-building at his rallies by encouraging attendees to text the word “liberty” to a number he provided.

Georgia Democrats were quick to link a single line in a 30-minute stump speech by Cruz to the spectre of racial segregation.

Party spokesman Michael Smith said the Republican presidential candidate’s remarks in Kennesaw Friday, in which he vowed to oppose granting illegal immigrants U.S. citizenship “today, tomorrow, forever,” is alarming and inexcusable.

“But to trot out that line in Georgia — the cradle of the civil rights movement — is downright detestable,” said Smith. “This kind of ugly, xenophobic throwback to a much darker time in Southern politics has no place in our discourse and certainly has no place in the state of Georgia.”

Of course, the whitest place in America on Saturday night was the debate stage for the Democratic Presidential nomination. And never mind that Cruz, along with Marco Rubio, is Hispanic, or that an African-American named Ben Carson and an Asian-American named Bobby Jindal were part of the GOP field.

If you’re a campaign enthusiast, the Washington Post has a great explainer on the issue between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton over campaign data.

Congratulations to Gwinnett County native Mike Royal on being elected Chair of the Georgia State Board of Education. In Cherokee County, Dr. Brian Hightower will take over as the next Superintendent, replacing Dr. Frank Petruzielo beginning February 1, 2016.

18
Dec

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for December 18, 2015

Luke Manchester

Luke is a 14-year old Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from Manchester Animal Control in Manchester, GA.

Luke was turned into the shelter because his owners said they didn’t have time for him anymore. He has been around small children and likes to play fetch. Luke lived his previous life on a chain and is ready to break free of that lifestyle!!

Golden Luke

Golden Luke is a 6-year old Golden/Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Ginny Millner Rescue Group in Atlanta, GA.

I’m a little shy, but all I need is a little love and some time.

I’d love your whole attention, but I’d be ok with another dog.

I was rescued off the streets where I lived for a long time. I’m still growing hair back from the mange I had really bad. I walk excellent on the lead, calm and would be great for someone who is less active.

LukeChi

Luke is a 1-year old, 4-pound Chihuahua who is available for adoption from Your New Best Friend Pet Rescue in Powder Springs, GA.

I’m full grown, crate trained, and ready for my foreverhome. It seems like it’s taking forever to find my forever home, and no one can believe it because I’m such a handsome guy, who loves to play.

I get along great with my other furry friends and I enjoy kids that are gentle with me. I can’t wait to find someone who will play with me and love me forever!

18
Dec

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 18, 2015

The British ship Mayflower landed at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts on December 18, 1620.

MayflowerHarbor

Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley who founded Methodism, and one of the great hymn-writers, was born on December 18, 1707. Wesley accompanied James Oglethorpe to Georgia in 1736.

The first national day of thanksgiving was observed on December 18, 1777 commemorating the American victory over the British at Saratoga the previous month.

Congress wrote, “It is therefore recommended to the Legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES, to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for solemn THANKSGIVING and PRAISE; That at one Time and with one Voice the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor”.

On December 18, 1834, Governor William Lumpkin signed legislation chartering the Georgia Methodists Conference Manual Labor School at Oxford, Georgia, which would later become Emory College in 1836 and Emory University in 1915.

On December 18, 1865, U.S. Secretary of State William Seward issued a statement verifying the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which outlawed slavery in the United States.

The office of Superintendent of Public Education and Georgia Schools was created on December 18, 1866 when Gov. Charles Jenkins signed legislation passed by the General Assembly; on December 18, 1894, Gov. William Atkinson approved a resolution for a Constitutional Amendment to make the State School Commissioner elected statewide.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

If you’re heading to the Ted Cruz rally in Cobb County tonight, the time has changed – doors will now open at 6 PM and the program starts at 7 PM. Times for the Cruz event on Saturday in Bloomingdale, GA are unchanged.

Former Donald Trump staffer Seth Weathers has started a SuperPAC to support Trump turn out crazy unconventional voters.

Voters in Sumter County will decide whether to allow Sunday sales of alcohol at the same time they vote for President on March 1, 2016.

This morning at 10 AM, JaNice Van Ness will be sworn-in ceremonially at the Georgia State Capitol. Newsmax takes a look at the race, the first national media mention I’ve seen of it.

Republican JaNice Van Ness won a special election for the Georgia state Senate on Dec. 1. What’s remarkable is the district is heavily Democratic and gave Barack Obama 72 percent of its vote in 2012.

Coming in a district that is also roughly 56 percent black, the win of Rockdale County Commissioner Van Ness (who is white) was not only surprising but unique and even historic.

“If there is any national message here, I hope it will be that if people educate themselves on the issues, you can achieve change — and every vote counts,” said Van Ness, who won by a mere 84 votes out of more than 7,400 cast.

Van Ness (who was formerly Rockdale County GOP chairman) told me how she believed “if ever we had an chance to elect a conservative [to the Senate], it was in a special election. I also felt my involvement in the community with a diverse group of people would provide the outreach we needed to win.”

A small business owner and member of the Rockdale Baptist Church, Van Ness is unabashedly pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, and pro-Second Amendment.

“And, as a 25-year member of our local Chamber of Commerce, I stressed how the unaffordable Affordable Care Act [the official name for Obamacare] was putting some serious challenges to the work of small business owners like me,” she added.

The Republican State Leadership Committee weighed in strongly for her.

“JaNice Van Ness’ special election win this month was the embodiment of the RSLC’s philosophy that a candidate makes a district competitive, not the other way around,” RSLC spokesperson Ellie Wallace told me, “Her victory in a district President Obama carried with 72 per cent of the vote proves that the candidate who shows voters the right ideas with the right experience to move that district in the right direction is the one who will prevail.”

17
Dec

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for December 17, 2015

Libby

Libby is an adult female German Shepherd who is available for adoption from the Habersham County Animal Shelter in Clarkesville, GA.

Hulk

Hulk is an adult male Rottweiler mix who is available for adoption from the Habersham County Animal Shelter in Clarkesville, GA.

BB_Hab

B.B. is a young male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Habersham County Animal Shelter in Clarkesville, GA.

17
Dec

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 17, 2015

France formally recognized the United States as an independent nation on December 17, 1777.

General Ulysses S. Grant expelled all Jews from his military district, which covered parts of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky on December 17, 1862. President Lincoln ordered Grant to rescind the order.

President William McKinley visited Savannah, Georgia on December 17, 1898. While there, McKinley attended church at Wesley Monumental Methodist Church and visited Georgia Agricultural and Medical College (now Savannah State University) and the Seventh Army.

On December 17, 1902, legislation changed Georgia’s state flag changed to include the coat of arms on the blue band.

Flag_of_the_State_of_Georgia_(1902-1906).svg copy

On December 17, 1944, Major General Henry C. Pratt ordered the end of the imprisonment of American citizens of Japanese descent in prison camps.

WTBS began broadcasting under new call letters on December 17, 1976 and uplinked its programming to satellite to become “America’s Super Station.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Butch Teresa Miller FR

State Senator Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) will continue to serve as Senior Floor Leader for Governor Nathan Deal, who is a constituent of Miller’s.

As a senior floor leader, Miller helps carry Deal’s legislative priorities through the Senate, sometimes presenting and defending the governor’s agenda as a kind of right-hand man.

Miller also is there to push back on legislation that Deal does not support.

Miller said that his role allows him to “peek behind the curtains” and better understand the political maneuverings and policy proposals that shape legislation.

Republican lawmakers are expected to push for lowering state income tax rates in favor of higher sales taxes; to consider changes to the funding formula for transportation projects; to debate whether to allow the in-state cultivation of medical cannabis oil; and how to reform public schools and boost the technical college system.

“Sen. Miller represents his constituents, of which the governor is one, with honesty and integrity,” Chris Riley, Deal’s chief of staff, said. “His conservative values and work ethic are well-known and admired by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. The senator is a doer, not a follower, a characteristic that embodies the governor’s term in office.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has arranged free credit monitoring services for Georgia voters who were registered on October 13, 2015 or earlier. Full information on the range of services for voters whose data was inadvertently released may be found on the SOS website.

Linda Meigs, Mayor of Meigs, Georgia, may face a recall election.

Since Harris has been in office, she has been arrested for theft from the city and reportedly told police officers not to respond to certain calls after the city lost its insurance.

According to the city’s police chief, the elections commissioner in Meigs has received a petition for a mayoral recall with 165 signatures.

Only 116 were needed to hold the election. If the signatures are all verified, the election would be held May of 2016.

The Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission had a busy week, issuing decisions in an investigation against former Insurance Commissioner and 2010 Gubernatorial candidate John Oxendine.

The state ethics commission handed colorful former Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine a split decision Wednesday in his case alleging that he raised illegal contributions during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign and spent money on races he never ran.

Citing the state’s statute of limitations, the panel dismissed complaints that Oxendine took 19 contributions that were over the legal limit during his 2010 race.

But the commission also decided to move ahead on charges that Oxendine spent more than $200,000 in 2010 runoff and general election contributions, despite the fact that he never ran those races. That keeps the complaint against Oxendine’s handling of his 2010 gubernatorial race alive and means it won’t be decided until 2016, at the earliest.

“It was kind of a mixed bag,” said Douglas Chalmers, Oxendine’s lawyer. Chalmers said Oxendine may appeal the commission’s ruling in Superior Court.

The Commission also took action in two other cases against elected officials.

The state’s ethics commission, formally known as the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, on Wednesday found probable cause that state Rep. Earnest G. Smith, an Augusta Democrat, violated various state laws in his handling of campaign cash.

A commission investigation found Smith committed 88 violations of campaign finance laws. Among them: Smith allegedly failed to disclose property he owned on personal financial disclosure reports and failed to report $7,503 in campaign contributions and $25,297 in campaign expenditures since December 2010.

Commission attorney Robert Lane said $19,256 of the unreported expenditures were checks made out to “cash,” and Smith has provided no receipts showing how the money was spent. Lane said the Attorney General’s Office should investigate to determine whether Smith used the money for personal instead of campaign purposes — a move that would amount to theft.

In a separate case, former Clayton County Commissioner Wole Ralph also could face a criminal investigation.

A commission investigation found 17 violations by Ralph, who left office in 2012. Among other things, the investigation found he deposited 107 campaign contributions totaling $68,025 into his personal bank accounts, failed to report or itemize $109,200 in contributions, and spent $88,000 on expenses that were not “ordinary and necessary” campaign costs.

For the record, making campaign checks out to cash is not a best practice for ethics reporting.

Hall Booth Smith will be the first new law firm to represent the Muscogee County School Board in 65 years.

It is one of the firms where lawyers from the school district’s current legal counsel, Hatcher, Stubbs, Land, Hollis & Rothschild, will work as of Jan. 1, when Hatcher Stubbs officially breaks up.

Hatcher Stubbs has been MCSD’s lone legal counsel in the 65-year history of the school district. The Hatcher Stubbs lawyers who have been doing the bulk of the legal work for MCSD, Greg Ellington, Melanie Slaton and Chuck Staples, are among those moving to Hall Booth.

Myers cited a board policy that says “legal counsel shall be appointed by the board,” but Lewis cited another board policy that says the appointment shall come “upon the recommendation of the superintendent.”

“Tonight, we finally have the chance to end the string of nearly seven decades of no-bid contracts when it comes to legal counsel,” Myers said. “I’m sorry for all you folks who thought I had a problem with Hatcher Stubbs. Tonight, you get to find out I didn’t. I have a problem with no-bid contracts generally, and I certainly have a problem with no-bid legal contracts. Back to this process, how can you come up with any other conclusion but that this was a rigged system, a rigged pick?”

Columbus City Council approved its first Tax Allocation District this week.

Columbus Council unanimously approved creating the city’s first Tax Allocation District. It will facilitate the creation of a Fort Benning Technology Park, in the hope of luring defense contractors, among others, to otherwise unused land near the main gate of the post.

A decision on three other TADS, one around the Liberty District, one in Uptown and one in the area between TSYS and Bibb City for the creation City Village, was put off until January.

Voting 9-0, with Mayor Pro Tem Evelyn Turner-Pugh yet to arrive, councilors approved creating the district, but the resolution does not give the go-ahead to any development within it. That will have to be done by council later.

DeKalb County’s Good, Bad and Ugly

The City of Brookhaven celebrates its third birthday today, and next month will swear-in its third Mayor since incorporation on December 17, 2012.

CBS46 is reporting that former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones is considering a comeback bid.

Former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones attended the final county commission meeting of the year Tuesday, while interim CEO Lee May did not.

“I don’t know why the iCEO was not here. I can tell you this, that’s a big job. When I was here because of our form of government, I presided over the meetings so I had to be here. In fact, I went eight years and never missed a meeting,” Jones said.

While in office, Jones stirred up some controversy of his own. He was accused of excessive spending and was sued for racial discrimination. Still, the former CEO didn’t rule out the possibility of a return to politics and running for DeKalb County CEO.

“I think if Vernon wants to run again and he feels he has something to offer this county then he should do it,” DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton said.

Commissioner Nancy Jester opposes the idea and said Jones put a down payment on some of the problems the county is facing today.

“I don’t think that he’s the right fit,” Jester said. “The cityhood movement was also something that I think people often times will say came from frustration in dealing with his administration.”

The DeKalb County Commission approved the creation of a Tax Allocation District related to the former GM Plant in Doraville, according to a report by the AJC’s Mark Niesse.

The DeKalb County Commission unanimously approved an agreement Tuesday to invest in the redevelopment of the shuttered General Motors factory in Doraville.

The commission’s action obligates a portion of future property tax growth to help pay for infastructure improvements, including a tunnel to the Doraville MARTA station and a street grid on the property.

Developers hope to transform the vacant 165-acre site, known as Assembly, into a vibrant mixed-use area that includes businesses, residential housing and parks.

DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester released a video report on the Commission’s action and addresses the TAD approval.

At a recent event, Senator Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) said that the success or failure of the GM site is the biggest economic development issue in DeKalb County. Millar cited the site as one of the most valuable development sites in the Southeast and said that the County government’s actions will determine whether DeKalb County has any major economic development going forward. I agree.

Peach State Presidential Politics

Texas Senator Ted Cruz opened what I believe is the first Georgia field office for a 2016 Presidential campaign yesterday.

His highly organized grassroots efforts are spreading in Georgia like wildfire, and he is now the first presidential candidate with a campaign headquarters established in Lowndes County. The office will open with a ribbon cutting Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 3 pm.

County Chairman Trey Taylor says, “Our nation is at a political crossroads. We cannot continue down the road we have traveled over the last several years. Leadership is what this nation needs, the kind of leadership Ted Cruz has shown his entire career. Championing conservative causes, fighting for religious liberty, our Second Amendment rights, preventing government overreach, and providing for a stronger, safer America. It is clear that Ted Cruz is a man called for this time in our history. We welcome all committed, compassionate conservatives to our cause.”

He views Georgia as essential in his effort to be named the GOP nominee in the coming election, and has made his presence known here, as has his wife, Heidi, who has spoken around the state just this month.

Cruz said recently, “Georgia is a crucial state to the 2016 election and I am looking forward to working alongside the stronghold of courageous conservatives who work tirelessly to defend conservative principles across the state.”

He spoke confidently of his leaders, saying, “The team we have put together has unparalleled experience running and winning campaigns at the grassroots level. I am honored and excited to have their enthusiastic support as we spread our message in Georgia and across the region.”

For signage or to find out how you can get involved at the local level, visit the campaign office at 2110 N. Patterson St. Stay up to date on local efforts by liking the Lowndes County for Ted Cruz, 2016 page on Facebook.

Campaigns & Elections magazine has an article suggesting that asking whether Republican campaigns in Iowa are not putting forth sufficient efforts in field work.

Consultants from both sides of the aisle are scratching their heads over the Republican presidential contenders’ field operations in Iowa.

Field organizing in the lead off caucuses is the industry’s gold standard, but Republicans this cycle are putting GRPs ahead of phone banks and canvassing. Some GOP consultants shrugged this off as a continuing trend while their Democratic counterparts believe it could be another edge they have in the race for the White House.

By stymying the development of well-rounded campaign staffers, the eventual nominee could be shorthanded when it comes to the general, argues Jeremy Bird, co-founder of 270 Strategies.

“The fact that none of them are serious about running a field organizing program in a race that’s wide open is very surprising to those of us who’ve seen how important that is — especially in a caucus state,” said Bird, who was the national field director for President Obama’s reelection campaign.

“You get a long-term reward from that early investment. But they’re not focused on building leadership, developing relationships and doing the hard, nitty-gritty work.”

Republican campaigns neglecting field in favor of TV is nothing new, according to Chris Turner, CEO of Stampede Consulting.

“Emphasis on television, it’s like, is the sky blue?,” said Turner. “A lot of consultants are good at television; they know television. They’re going to default to that business. There’s a lot of pain in our business for taking risks.”

The first negative political direct mail in the Presidential campaign is appearing in Hawkeye State mailboxes, according to Jonathan Martin of the New York Times.

https://mobile.twitter.com/jmartNYT/status/677184604374077440

The Cruz-Rubio dynamic appears to be growing more confrontational beyond the debate stage and campaign trail. Republicans in Iowa this week received their first piece of mail from a group run by backers of Mr. Rubio, criticizing Mr. Cruz for his vote to limit the National Security Agency’s metadata program. (Mr. Cruz has said an alternative program strengthened the country’s capacity to fight terrorism.)

“These men undermined our intelligence agencies’ ability to stop terrorist attacks,” the mailer read, below a photo of Mr. Cruz, Mr. Paul, President Obama and Senator Harry Reid.

Negative Mail Iowa Rubio copy

Peach State Economy

Yesterday, Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler reported that unemployment declined in Georgia for November.

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November was 5.6 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from 5.7 percent in October. The rate was 6.7 percent in November 2014.

“Our employers created 3,700 jobs in November, which helped push the unemployment rate down to its lowest point since March 2008,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

The number of jobs increased to 4,309,100, or 0.1 percent, from 4,305,400 in October. Much of the job growth came in professional and business services, 2,300; construction, 2,100; education and health services, 1,800; leisure and hospitality, 1,700; and manufacturing, 1,400. These gains were somewhat offset by losses in information services, government, financial activities, and trade, transportation and warehousing.

“Over the year, we added 92,900 jobs, which is a respectable 2.2 percent growth rate,” said Butler. “Georgia continues to grow jobs faster than the nation, which has a 1.9 percent growth rate.”

 

16
Dec

Former DeKalb County CEO considers a return to politics – CBS46 News

Former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones attended the final county commission meeting of the year Tuesday, while interim CEO Lee May did not.

“I don’t know why the iCEO was not here. I can tell you this, that’s a big job. When I was here because of our form of government, I presided over the meetings so I had to be here. In fact, I went eight years and never missed a meeting,” Jones said.

Still, the former CEO didn’t rule out the possibility of a return to politics and running for DeKalb County CEO.

“I think if Vernon wants to run again and he feels he has something to offer this county then he should do it,” DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton said.

Commissioner Nancy Jester opposes the idea and said Jones put a down payment on some of the problems the county is facing today.

“I don’t think that he’s the right fit,” Jester said. “The cityhood movement was also something that I think people often times will say came from frustration in dealing with his administration.”

via Former DeKalb County CEO considers a return to politics – CBS46 News.

16
Dec

Ted Cruz in Valdosta today?

I just received the following email from the Lowndes County Republican Party:

United States Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz will be opening his Valdosta head quarters today at 3pm. The ribbon cutting will take place at 2110 N. Patterson Street. There will be food, drink, and a surprise “guest”. The public is invited to attend.

It’s not clear to me whether that means Cruz will be at the HQ opening, or whether it means the Cruz campaign will be opening the Valdosta headquarters. I’m seeking clarification.

16
Dec

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for December 16, 2015

Gwinnett Urgent Shepherd

This sweet, 6-year old German Shepherd male is begging for his last chance. He’s already been given one reprieve and is likely to be euthanized unless he finds a home immediately. Here’s his story:

THIS BOY IS VERY SWEET AND WONDERFUL AROUND PEOPLE BUT HAS BEEN HERE SINCE 10-29-15 AND HIS MENTAL HEALTH IS SLIPPING. HE KNOWS OBEDIENCE AND LOVES TO BE LOVED. HE DOES NOT LIKE OTHER DOGS AND WOULD NOT BE A GOOD FIT FOR FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN. HE NEEDS A RESCUE WHO IS FAMILIAR WITH THE BREED AND COULD WORK WITH HIM. HE HAS UNTIL MONDAY 12-14-15 AT 4PM TO BE PICKED UP BY A RESCUE. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN HELPING THIS SWEET BOY PLEASE CONTACT THE RESCUE PHONE OR EMAIL. HE IS RESCUE ONLY.
Yes, he’s rescue only, but often rescues will work with someone who is willing to foster a dog. If you’re interested in helping this boy, despite the odds against him, email [email protected] His pen is SD-09 and his ID# 47843.

 

47843v2

48435

Pen number 48435 is a small male Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Gwinnett25871

Number 25871 is a young female Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

16
Dec

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 16, 2015

While not the most famous signer of the Declaration of Independence, Button Gwinnett’s is generally the most expensive. In 2010, an example sold at auction for $772,500, while an offering earlier this year failed to cross the block at an estimated £600k-800k.

Today, you could bid on a document signed by Lachlan McIntosh, who actually shot Button Gwinnett in a duel, for $3500 on Ebay.

On December 16, 1773, the Sons of Liberty, led by Patriot Sam Adams, boarded three British ships in Boston harbor and threw tea worth $700,000 to $1 million in today’s money into the water in what came to be known as the Boston Tea Party.

Boston Tea Party

Governor George Towns signed legislation on December 16, 1847 to build a State School for the Deaf and Dumb. The institution now known as the Georgia School for the Deaf was begun with a log cabin, $5000 from the legislature and four students and is still in operation in Cave Spring, Georgia.

On December 16, 1897, Gov. William Atkinson signed legislation recognizing June 3, the birthday of Jefferson Davis, as a state holiday.

On December 16, 1944, a German counterattack in the Ardennes region of Belgium created a “bulge” in Allied lines with particularly difficult fighting near the town of Bastogne. During the Battle of the Bulge, 89,000 Americans were wounded and 19,000 killed in the bloodiest battle fought by the U.S. in World War II. National Geographic has an interesting article published for the 70th Anniversary of the Battle.

President Jimmy Carter announced on December 16, 1976, that he would name Andrew Young, then serving as Congressman from Georgia’s Fifth District, as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today we begin with two Star Wars: The Force Awakens political mashups.

The biggest local news in Brookhaven is that Google is hard at work building out its fiber network, with construction of a Fiber Hut at Blackburn Park. Google Fiber can’t get here quickly enough. If they’re having trouble siting their hut closest to me, I have a suggestion for a parcel owned by a utility company.Continue Reading..

15
Dec

Governor Nathan Deal Receives 2015 Champion of Justice Award from the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association

Atlanta, GA – The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association is pleased to announce that Governor Nathan Deal has been named the recipient of the 2015 Champion of Justice Award. This award, which is given at the direction of the GTLA President, recognizes an individual’s tireless and often-historic work to advance the cause of justice in Georgia.

“On behalf of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association’s 2,000 members across the state, I’d like to congratulate Governor Nathan Deal on his receipt of this well-deserved honor,” remarked GTLA President Darren Penn. “Since taking office in 2011, Governor Deal has exhibited a unique understanding of the vital role that the justice system plays in our society. As a lawyer, a former judge and a proud father of a judge, he brings a perspective to the Governor’s Office that has guided him through many tough decisions affecting our state’s legal system.”Continue Reading..