The blog.

13
Dec

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 13, 2019

On December 13, 1636, the Massachusetts Bay Colony General Court organized three regiments of militia to guard against attacks by the Pequot Indians. That day is recognized as the birth of the National Guard.

Solomon’s Masonic Lodge, the first in Georgia, was organized on December 10, 1735. Upon his return to the colony, James Oglethorpe would join the group.

Patriots captured liberated Virginia on December 9, 1775 as militias from Virginia and North Carolina defeated the redcoats at Great Bridge.

On December 11, 1777, during their movement to Valley Forge for the winter, Washington’s colonial forces engaged British troops under General Cornwallis as the Americans were crossing the Schuylkill River.

John Jay was elected President of the Continental Congress on December 10, 1778.

Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the Constitution on December 12, 1787.

On December 15, 1791, Virginia ratified the Bill of Rights, giving the first ten Amendments a three-quarter majority required to become law.

President George Washington died at Mount Vernon on December 14, 1799. Here’s an article about the nation’s mourning for our first President.

The Congress, in session at the capital of Philadelphia when Washington’s death was announced, immediately adjourned. The House of Representatives assembled the next day and resolved to shroud the Speaker’s chair in black and have members wear black during the remainder of the session. On December 23, John Marshall speaking for the joint committee of both houses, presented five points that became the foundation for the United States’ first “state” funeral. Resolutions structured mourning events around public commemorations that fostered unity and a sense of national identity among grieving Americans.

Indiana became the 19th State on December 11, 1816.

Emory College was incorporated on December 10, 1836, as Governor William Schley signed legislation chartering the school.

Governor Charles McDonald signed legislation on December 11, 1841 to prevent a person from having his or her testimony excluded in court because of the individual’s religious beliefs.

The first use of nitrous oxide as a dental anesthetic took place on December 11, 1844.

On December 10, 1850, a special convention met in Milledgeville to determine the state’s reaction to the Compromise of 1850, a series of five bills passed in Congress attempting to deal with issues between slave states and free states.

The [Georgia] platform established Georgia’s conditional acceptance of the Compromise of 1850. Much of the document followed a draft written by Charles Jones Jenkins and represented a collaboration between Georgia Whigs and moderate Democrats dedicated to preserving the Union. In effect, the proclamation accepted the measures of the compromise so long as the North complied with the Fugitive Slave Act and would no longer attempt to ban the expansion of slavery into new territories and states. Northern contempt for these conditions, the platform warned, would make secession inevitable.

This qualified endorsement of the Compromise of 1850 essentially undermined the movement for immediate secession throughout the South. Newspapers across the nation credited Georgia with saving the Union.

Echols County, Georgia was created by the Georgia General Assembly on December 13, 1858.

On December 15, 1859, Georgia Governor Joseph Brown signed legislation outlawing public execution of criminals. The previous day he signed legislation prohibiting slave owners from freeing their slaves on the owner’s death.

On December 9, 1867, a Constitutional Convention to draft a new state document convened in Atlanta. Among the 166 to 169 delegates elected to the Constitutional Convention were 33 or 37 African-American members – accounts vary.

The Atlanta City Council appointed the first Board of Education on December 10, 1869.

On December 11, 1872, Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback took office in Louisiana as the first black Governor in the United States.

A memorial service for Jefferson Davis, former President of the Confederate States of America, was held in the Georgia State Capitol on December 11, 1889 while his funeral was that day in New Orleans.

The Spanish-American War was ended on December 10, 1898, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

President William McKinley addressed the Georgia General Assembly on December 14, 1898.

McKinley_at_Atlanta2

McKinley Atlanta SM

Guglielmo Marconi completed the first transatlantic radio transmission from Cornwall, England to Newfoundland on December 12, 1901.

On December 14, 1939, a parade was held through downtown Atlanta with stars from Gone With the Wind and the Junior League held a ball that night. The next day, December 15, 1939, Gone With the Wind held its world premiere at Loew’s Grand Theater in Atlanta.

On December 11, 1941, Germany declared war on the United States.

Dickey Betts, guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band, was born on December 12, 1943.

On December 11, 1960, a civil rights demonstration including 8000 African-American citizens was held in Atlanta as part of the movement to boycott stores that remained segregated.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1964 in Oslo, Norway, becoming the youngest recipient of the award.

The Libertarian Party was founded on December 11, 1971 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Jimmy Carter announced he would run for President of the United States on December 12, 1974.

Former Georgia Governor Ellis Arnall died on December 13, 1992. Arnall served in the State House, as Speaker, Attorney General, and in 1942 at the age of 35, was elected Governor.

Arnall also led the fight to outlaw the poll tax and the white primary, and is noted for making Georgia the first state to allow 18-year-olds to vote. He is further remembered for his role in obtaining a new state constitution for Georgia in 1945.

The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee released a report on December 15, 1998 that recommended impeachment against President Bill Clinton and introduced H.Res. 611.

The United States Supreme Court released its decision in Bush v. Gore on December 12, 2000, stopping manual recounts of contested ballots in Florida.

Al Gore conceded the presidential election to George W. Bush on December 13, 2000.

Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 2002.

On December 15, 2016, Republican Tim Echols was sworn in by Gov. Nathan Deal to a second term on the Georgia Public Service Commission.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency for Fulton County due to flooding at Grady.  Click here to read the Executive Order.

The AJC reports this morning that Grady will start accepting some emergency patients today after having gone on diversion because of the flooding.

Grady will admit trauma, stroke and burn patients starting at 7 a.m., hospital spokeswoman Denise Simpson said in a statement.

Emergency patients have been diverted to other hospitals since a 2-foot water pipe burst Saturday afternoon, flooding several floors of the building.

“By phasing off diversion and opening our doors to trauma, stroke and burn patients, Grady will again be able to provide the critical services other hospitals and the community rely on Grady for,” Simpson said. “We hope to relieve some of the burden experienced by other metro Atlanta hospitals during our current facility crisis.”

Grady advertises itself as the busiest trauma center on the East Coast, and the influx of emergency patients to other hospitals has put a strain on the resources of such facilities as Emory and Piedmont.

Emory Healthcare said Tuesday that its Midtown location went into diversion mode because of the high volume of patients from Grady.

Governor Kemp also issued a Writ of Election ordering a January 28, 2020 Special Election for House District 171, which was vacated by the death of State Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla). From the Dalton Daily Citizen News:

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced the special election will be held on Jan. 28 for the district. If needed, a runoff will be held on Feb. 25. House District 171 includes parts of Colquitt, Decatur and Mitchell counties.

To qualify for the special election, candidates must pay a $400 fee to the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s Office in Atlanta. Qualifying is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 16 and 17 and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 18.

Dec. 30 is the last day to register to vote in the special election, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Gov. Kemp will be deposed by Stacey Abrams-backed Fair Fight Action over the 2018 elections, according to 11Alive.

Gov. Brian Kemp will face questioning under oath by lawyers linked to his 2018 Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams. A federal judge issued the ruling as part of a lawsuit filed by a voting rights group.

The lawsuit claimed Kemp, as Secretary of State, violated the constitution by purging the names of inactive voters, making them ineligible to vote.

The court quotes Kemp in 2014 saying “you know the Democrats are working hard, and all these stories about them, you know, registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines, if they can do that they can win these elections in November. But we’ve got to do the exact same thing.”

The ruling allows Fair Fight’s attorneys to question Kemp about what he meant by saying that, and whether he intended to suppress minority voters as the suit alleges.

Former Democratic candidate for Governor Stacey Evans will run to return to the State House, this time in a different district than she previously represented. From Facebook:

Stacey Evans State House

From the AJC:

Democrat Stacey Evans will run for an open seat in the Georgia Legislature a year after she waged an unsuccessful campaign for governor, saying the Republican push for anti-abortion restrictions helped convince her to return to elected politics.

Evans told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she’ll seek the seat held by retiring state Rep. Pat Gardner, a heavily Democratic-district in Atlanta. Evans moved from Smyrna to Atlanta shortly after Stacey Abrams defeated her in the 2018 gubernatorial primary.

“I have been watching what’s going on in the state and around the country and I have too much experience to sit on the sidelines during this critical time,” said Evans, an attorney. “And the heartbeat bill was the No. 1 factor. That was the worst thing that’s happened under the Gold Dome since I left.”

She has no known primary opponent for the seat held since 2001 by Gardner, who told supporters last week that “after the 2018 campaign and especially after the contentious 2019 session, I knew it was time to move on to new endeavors.”

Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene might switch her Congressional campaign to the 14th Congressional District, according to the AJC:

Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene appears on the verge of dropping out of the race for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District – and competing instead for the soon-to-be-vacated seat two districts over.

The political newcomer told grassroots activists at a GOP breakfast over the weekend that her “phone started ringing off the hook” after U.S. Rep. Tom Graves abruptly announced last week that he wouldn’t stand for another term.

“Then I started getting phone calls from the most conservative members in the House Freedom Caucus. Debbie Meadows – Mark Meadows’ wife — Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs,” she said, invoking members of that conservative group.

Greene, an executive with a construction company who lives in north Fulton, was a longshot contender to challenge Democrat Lucy McBath in the 6th District, which stretches from east Cobb to north DeKalb counties.

From the Rome News Tribune:

Local Republicans are not ready to jump on the bandwagon just yet.

“We think Ms. Greene is a good candidate. We just prefer someone from Floyd County, or at least the 14th District,” said Luke Martin, who chairs the Floyd County Republican Party.

Martin said Monday he’s talked to several other party chairs in the counties that make up the heavily Republican district and they’ve expressed the same reservations.

“We like her as a candidate. We just like her in the district where she lives,” Martin said.

Democrat Sara Tindall Ghazal will run for House District 45, currently held by Republican Matt Dollar, according to the AJC.

The head of the state Democratic Party’s voter protection initiative is seeking elected office for the first time, running for a Marietta-based Georgia House seat long held by a Republican lawmaker.

Sara Tindall Ghazal said Thursday she’ll put voting rights at the center of her campaign against state Rep. Matt Dollar, arguing that “we need to fix our elections so we can fix our government.”

But she’ll also emphasize support for new school funding, a call to expand Medicaid and opposition to a stalled push by Dollar to create a city of East Cobb, which she casts as an unpopular effort plugged by local developers.

The state Democratic party was the only in the nation to hire a full-time “voter protection” director when it hired Ghazal in 2018. She was deeply involved in the party’s voting rights initiatives last year, including litigation challenging then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s policies.

Henry County Commissioner Johnny Wilson announced he will run for reelection in 2020, according to MovingHenryForward.org.

Commissioner Wilson was first elected in 2016 after retiring as a Henry County firefighter. Johnny described first deciding to run when some of his colleagues from the fire department knocked on his front door encouraging him to do so.

The commissioner’s platform in 2016 included improving public safety, addressing what he calls priority spending, and relieving traffic congestion through roadway improvements. If re-elected, he looks to continue many of the same initiatives.

Commissioner Wilson spoke about the class and compensation study, raising salaries of county employees to remain competitive with surrounding communities, and equipment investments. “We have bought in the neighborhood of ten to fifteen million dollars in equipment,” said Johnny, “a couple months back, we purchased seventy police cars.”

Wilson continued, “we have done this without raising the millage rate. The millage rate remains 12.733.” Henry County was recently named one of six counties in the state with a AAA bond rating, a testament to the county’s stability and healthy financial position.

Columbus area businessman Bob Wright still wants to build a $200 million dollar casino, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Bob Wright told a state committee he still intends to develop an “upscale destination resort” along the Chattahoochee River in south Columbus.

In 2016, Wright told the Ledger-Enquirer he wanted to bring a $200 million resort casino to the city should gambling be legalized. Legislation that would have started that process did not make it through the Georgia General Assembly in 2017, and efforts to revive the bill are likely to continue into 2020.

His announcement came as the Georgia House Special Committee on Economic Growth held a public hearing Wednesday at the City Services Center on Macon Road as part of a statewide listening tour to gather input from constituents.

Wright said he wants to bring the casino to south Columbus because it is an area that “needs a lot of help” in terms of housing and jobs.

“It really needs an economic catalyst to really turn that part of our city around,” Wright said. “We think the economic impact of a destination resort will have a tremendous effect on Columbus and our city as well as contribute to the HOPE Scholarship and other needs…”

The Center Square writes more about the Georgia House Special Committee on Economic Growth hearings.

The members of the Special Committee on Economic Growth have been deliberating over the financial benefits if gambling is legalized in Georgia.

About 21 states have taken legislative action since the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2018 lifted a federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada. The 11-member committee was created in the 2019 legislative session to offer recommendations during the next session, which starts in January 2020.

A constitutional amendment would have to be approved by voters before any plans could be initiated.

Some residents want to make sure that their communities would not be left out of the economic benefits. Those opposed to gambling called the plans “immoral.” Other residents fear gentrification.

From WABE:

The promise of increased revenue has led state lawmakers to consider again making gambling legal in the state of Georgia.

Casino owners and even Atlanta’s pro sports teams are among those in support. Gaming that includes resort casinos, horse tracks and sports betting could, by some studies, bring in billions of dollars in revenue for the state.

Mike Griffin is with Georgia Baptist Mission Board. He says supporters of gambling are using “smoke and mirrors” to make it more palatable.

“We’ve got to call it, you know, some kind of rural development economic plan, we’ve got to call it ‘destination resort,’” Griffin said, referring to casinos that have hotels and entertainment venues connected to them.

The State House Health & Human Services Committee heard information about vaping, according to the Center Square.

After a string of vaping-related deaths and illnesses, the Trump Administration announced a plan in September to ban flavored vaping products because of their appeal to teenagers. The White House later rolled back the proposal after health officials determined most of the deaths were caused by tainted vapes with THC obtained on the black market.

But Georgia lawmakers have considered implementing a statewide ban.

Many presenters in Wednesday’s meeting said that tougher vaping regulations could reverse the positive impacts of the alternative to cigarette smoking.

At least 48 vaping-related or e-cigarette deaths have been reported in the U.S. this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s December report. Three of those deaths occurred in Georgia. In addition, 16 percent of vaping-related illnesses nationwide have been found in patients between 13 and 17 years old.

A State House Study Committee is looking at statewide preemption of local building requirements, according to the Georgia Recorder.

The workforce housing committee’s final report essentially revives a controversial bill that earlier this year pitted many cities and county governments against home builders, realtors and the construction industry.

The committee approved a report Thursday that says developers are more likely to build homes that attract people who might be priced out of most houses in that area if local governments prohibit the use of lower cost materials.

At play is whether a local government can regulate everything from a home’s exterior color, the amount of square footage, the amount of vinyl siding, or whether a home can be built on a concrete slab.

While this year’s legislation had bipartisan support, it also drew strong opposition from legislators. Opponents are again expected to try to fend off House Bill 302, which remains alive for the 2020 legislative session.

Jim Cleveland resigned his seat on Hoschton City Council while facing a recall election, according to the AJC.

Embattled Hoschton City Councilman Jim Cleveland resigned Tuesday, telling The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he‘d rather leave office on his own terms than face voters in a recall election next month.

“I’m not going to give them the pleasure of saying they recalled Mr. Cleveland,” he said in an exclusive interview.

Cleveland repeated his racial beliefs as one resident recorded the exchange on her phone.

“I’m not racist, but I do not believe in interracial marriage,” he said.

Oil removal from the capsized M/V Golden Ray has been finished, according to The Brunswick News.

Two and half months and some 320,000 gallons later, officials on Thursday expressed confidence that they have removed every drop possible of oil and gas pollutants from the shipwrecked Golden Ray in the St. Simons Sound.

After pumping all oil from the tanks, workers went inside the tanks and steam-cleaned the interiors. Residual fuel from this process was collected and removed as well. The process addressed 26 tanks, containing heavy bunker oil, marine diesel gas and marine gas oil.

Two tanks, one containing heavy bunker oil and another containing diesel fuel, could not be completely cleaned because they lay under water on the ship’s submerged port side, said Coast Guard Lt. Commander Matt Waller. Workers used skimmers to remove the fuel that floated atop the water in those tanks, he said.

Unified Command is still working to complete plans to build an environmental protection barrier around the ship, in preparation of cutting it into pieces for removal. Those plans will be made public as soon as they are finalized, Unified Command said. Thursday marked the 96th day the gargantuan ship has sat half-submerged in the sound, just south of the federal shipping channel that serves the Port of Brunswick.

Right whales have been spotted off the coast of Georgia again this year, according to The Brunswick News.

[R]esearchers saw Naevus off Georgia. She’s nearly 30 years old, first spotted as a calf back up north in Cape Cod Bay in May 1990. She’s also been photographed with her own calves at least four times — once in December 2004, then in January 2011 and December 2013 and again with that same third calf in June 2014.

Her last sighting in the southern calving waters was in the 2013-14 season, as she arrived off Georgia around Dec. 17, 2013, and last seen off Florida on Feb. 16, 2014. The whales’ arrivals come during a critical series of years for the species.

Researchers found three of the whales spotted recently — Arpeggio, Harmony and Slalom — off South Carolina, so they could be nearby at any time.

Arpeggio is 22 years old, first seen off Georgia in February 1997. Harmony is 18, seen first around Florida in January 2001, and Slalom is the oldest right whale spotted so far, as she’s 37 years old and first recorded as a calf in the Bay of Fundy in August 1982.

6
Dec

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for December 6, 2019

Bones Paws Angel

Bones is a young male Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from Paws Angels in Ranger, GA.

Baily Paws Angel

Baily is a young female Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from Paws Angels in Ranger, GA.

Nadine Paws Angel

Nadine is a young female mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Paws Angels in Ranger, GA.

6
Dec

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 6, 2019

On December 7, 1801, Georgia’s United States Senator Abraham Baldwin was elected President Pro Tem of the Senate.

On December 6, 1847, Dr. William White spoke to a group of Atlanta residents about a proposal to move the state capital to Atlanta and was met with cheers.

President Abraham Lincoln issued his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction on December 8, 1863.

First, it allowed for a full pardon for and restoration of property to all engaged in the rebellion with the exception of the highest Confederate officials and military leaders.

Second, it allowed for a new state government to be formed when 10 percent of the eligible voters had taken an oath of allegiance to the United States.

Third, the Southern states admitted in this fashion were encouraged to enact plans to deal with the freed slaves so long as their freedom was not compromised.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified on December 6, 1865, when Georgia ratified the Amendment outlawing slavery.

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

The Washington Monument was completed on December 6, 1884.

On December 8, 1899, Georgia Governor Allen Candler signed legislation to levy a tax on all dogs older than four months.

On December 6, 1932, the legislation repealing Prohibition was introduced by Senator John Blaine of Wisconsin. It was ratified on December 5, 1933. Georgia never took action on the Amendment.

Saturday is the 78th anniversary of the Japanese bombing attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

GeorgiaInfo has the reactions of Georgia leaders to the Pearl Harbor attack,

U.S. Sen. Walter F. George stated: “Japan’s deed is an act of desperation by a war-mad people. The attack on Hawaii is a deliberate act of the Japanese government. I am utterly amazed. It is unthinkable… . An open declaration of war will give us greater freedom of action.” Noting the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, George optimistically predicted that “it may take two or three years to fight this war to the end.”

U.S. Sen. Richard B. Russell responded to the attack by stating: “Japan has committed national hari-kari. I cannot conceive of any member of Congress voting against a declaration of war in view of the unpardonable, unprovoked attack on us. I am utterly astounded.”

U.S. Rep. Carl Vinson, chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee, added: “Of course we will have to declare war. There is nothing else for Congress to do. This is a concerted action by the Axis Powers, but I am confident our Navy is ready and will render a glorious account of itself. It probably means we will be drawn into the world conflict on both oceans.”

In 2017, Chief Boatswain’s Mate Joseph L. George, a Georgian, was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with V device for valor for his actions aboard USS Vestal at Pearl Harbor.

George, a second class petty officer at the time, saved the lives of several sailors from the battleship USS Arizona. He survived the war and retired from the Navy in 1955 but passed away in 1996.

The Bronze Star Medal will be presented by Rear Adm. Matthew J. Carter, deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, to George’s daughter, Joe Ann Taylor, today during a 4:30 p.m. (Hawaii-Aleutian time) ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor.

“The presentation of the medals is not only appropriate but simply the right thing to do,” Spencer said in a release sent out by the Navy. “One of my highest priorities is to honor the service and sacrifice of our sailors, Marines, civilians, and family members. It is clear that Lt. (Aloysious H.) Schmitt and Chief George are heroes whose service and sacrifice will stand as an example for current and future service members.”

In addition to George’s Bronze Star, the secretary also awarded the Silver Star Medal to Lt. j.g. Schmitt for action at Pearl Harbor while serving on the battleship USS Oklahoma.

The United States declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941. Montana Congresswoman Jeanette Rankin, the first female elected to the United States House of Representatives, cast the sole dissenting vote.

On December 7, 1946, the Winecoff Hotel in downtown Atlanta, previously considered fireproof, burned in the worst hotel fire to date.

Gregg Allman was born December 8, 1947 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The first time I ever saw Kelly Loeffler, now known as Governor Brian Kemp’s appointee to the United States Senate, was December 17, 2012 in the Georgia State Capitol, where Republican Presidential Electors gathered to formally cast Georgia’s electoral votes for Mitt Romney for President.

sm_editedDSC_6181

I remember her, because she was the only Presidential Elector I didn’t know personally or at least recognize. Several weeks later, I met her and her husband, who introduced himself as “Jeff” at an event hosted by the Fulton County Republican Party. Here are a couple of other photos from that day.

Electors Badges 2012

For a political nerd, seeing people I know, duly elected as members of the Electoral College and casting their vote for the Republican candidate, just like we learned about in civics was an experience I’ll never forget.

Electors Desk 2012

For those who are criticizing Kelly Loeffler for not having been involved in the GOP or for having supported Mitt Romney for President, take another look at that slate of electors. I think that all factions of the Georgia GOP were represented, including the Tea Party movement, and I’m not aware of any of them having been disappointed to be casting their votes for Mitt Romney.

Congressman Tom Graves (R-Ranger) yesterday announced he will not run for reelection, according to Politico.

Rep. Tom Graves announced Thursday he will not seek reelection in 2020, joining the growing ranks of House Republicans heading for the exits in the current election cycle.

Citing “a new season in life,” Graves said he will join his family members “in their new and unique journeys” as his wife nears retirement and his three children enter adulthood.

The 49-year-old Georgian will have served in Congress for more than a decade once he finishes his current term and becomes the 21st House Republican to announce intentions to depart this Congress, in contrast to nine House Democrats.

Graves was considered as a pick for filling the Senate seat Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) is vacating midterm this month. While Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp formally chose businesswoman Kelly Loeffler this week for that post, Graves could be a contender for the Senate seat in the years to come.

While President Donald Trump handily won Graves’ district in 2016, the congressman snubbed the now-president as Trump aspired to become the Republican Party’s nominee.

“I have trouble seeing how he lines up with the great tradition of Lincoln and Reagan, and I’m concerned that many of his statements run afoul of the Constitution, my values and my beliefs,” Graves said in a letter to his supporters during the Georgia Republican presidential primary in 2016. “Then there’s a simpler test: would I be comfortable if my three children acted like Trump? Certainly not.”

From the Dalton Daily Citizen News:

The 14th Congressional District “is a very conservative district, and we want to keep it that way, (so) we’ll be looking for those conservative qualities” in a successor for Graves, [Whitfield County Republican Party Chair Diane] Putnam said. She expects several candidates to come forward, but she already has one name in mind, and he’ll be the keynote speaker at the Whitfield County GOP’s Christmas dinner meeting Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Dalton Convention Center.

Allen Poole, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, is a former state trooper, and he was the Haralson County Commission chairman and chief executive officer in Haralson County, Putnam said. “He’s come up through the party ranks the right way.”

Those interested in hearing Poole speak can RSVP to Tuesday’s event by contacting Putnam at (706) 217-5929, she said. ““We want the grassroots people to get out and be excited, because (2020) is going to be a very busy campaign year, and we need to get started.”

Indeed, “getting started early is important,” [Dalton State College Political Science senior lecturer David] Veve said, which is why he believes potential successors for Graves will begin to emerge as soon as next month.

Chuck Payne, who represents the 54th District in the state Senate and resides in Dalton, “is well-liked in the community,” Chickamauga’s Jeff Mullis, who represents the 53rd District in the state Senate, “is well-connected in north Georgia and has a pretty impressive resume,” and “a lot of people in the community speak highly of” Carpenter, Veve said. “I think the Republican primary will be the real race.”

Republican strategist Chip Lake also announced he’s leaving government service to spend more time on the golf course return to the private sector. From the AJC:

Veteran Republican strategist Chip Lake abruptly announced Wednesday he was leaving his post as Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan’s top adviser to return to the private sector.

The details of his departure are murky, but his announcement caught many at the statehouse off guard. Several senators were under the impression that he agreed to stay on through the next legislative session.

[Lt. Gov. Geoff] Duncan called Lake a “once in a generation political mind” and thanked him for counsel that helped him win an underdog campaign for Georgia’s No. 2 job.

“As his work of establishing a strong organizational foundation in the office concludes, I have no doubt he will continue to be enormously successful in the private sector and wish him and his family all the best,” he said.

In a statement, Lake said it was the “honor of a lifetime” to serve as Duncan’s chief of staff, but he didn’t respond to requests for more comment.

5
Dec

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for December 5, 2019

Giselle Monticello

Giselle is a young female Chihuahua and Dachshund mix (Chiweenie) puppy who is available for adoption from Atlanta Canine Adoption Project in Monticello, GA.

Henry Monticello

Henry is a young male Jack Russell Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Atlanta Canine Adoption Project in Monticello, GA.

Jethro Monticello

Jethro is a young male Bluetick Coonhound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Atlanta Canine Adoption Project in Monticello, GA.

Willie Monticello

Willie is a young male Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Atlanta Canine Adoption Project in Monticello, GA.

5
Dec

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 5, 2019

On December 5, 1887, Georgia voters approved a new State Constitution and voted to keep the state capital in Atlanta instead of moving it back to Milledgeville.

On December 5, 1933, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment, repealing the 18th Amendment and ending prohibition. Earlier that day, Pennsylvania and Ohio had ratified the Amendment.

On December 5, 2000, the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou was released.

On December 5, 2006, Republican Chuck Eaton won the General Election Runoff for Public Service Commission District 3, beating incumbent Democrat David Burgess. Total votes cast: 215,092.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Click here for the statements of statewide elected officials and members of Congress in support of Kelly Loeffler’s appointment to the United States Senate.

The AJC has more reactions.

Politico reports that Senator-designate Loeffler will spend up to $20 million dollars of her own money.

Soon-to-be Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler plans to spend $20 million of her own money on her 2020 Senate campaign in Georgia — a massive sum that could give potential rivals pause about trying to unseat her.

She has told advisers in recent days of her intentions to tap her vast fortune to win next year’s special election to complete Isakson’s term, according to a person with direct knowledge of the decision.

Loeffler will not solely rely on self-financing, however. Those close to her say she also intends to raise money from donors.

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) has said he would consider a Senate bid in the event Gov. Brian Kemp passed him over for the appointment. But Loeffer’s personal investment could factor significantly into his decision — as well as those of Democrats considering challenging her.

Loeffler’s $20 million injection also takes financial pressure off the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is supporting her. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said Tuesday that Loeffler would have the full backing of the party infrastructure, and he expected her to enjoy “total support from the Republican conference.”

From WSB-TV:

Loeffler will have to run in 2020 to fill out the remainder of Isakson’s term. If Collins decides to run against her, Democrats think it could split the Republican vote and make it easier for their candidate to win.

“I think it’s an absolutely great opportunity for one strong Democratic candidate to come through and win the election in 2020, possibly without a runoff,” said South Fulton Lawmaker William Boddie.

Boddie and Cobb County Senator Jen Jordan both point out that 2020 will be what’s called a “jungle election,” meaning Republicans and Democrats will all run together in one primary.

They think that if Collins and Loeffler split the Republican vote, then a strong Democratic candidate could win the senate seat.

“And I think all it’s going to do for us is open up an opportunity to show people that we care about the issues, and they can take their side battles and their fight on Twitter to the side while we try and get things done,” Jordan said.

Sally Quillian Yates, former Former Acting U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, repeated her assertion that she will not run for the Senate in 2020, according to the AJC.

“Why won’t you run? They love you, they need you, you’re a person of high integrity, you’re a great public servant, you would easily win,” he said, prodding her once more. “Why won’t you just do it?”

Said Yates: “Running for Senate, that’s just not something that’s ever really felt like me. I really am incredibly flattered by your support. We’ve got some great people that are running …

Bharara: “But they’re not you.”

Yates: “Well, but they’re terrific folks. I just don’t think that’s the thing for me.”

One of the best statements I’ve read was posted on Facebook by State Rep. Susan Holmes (R-Monticello).

Please get to know Kelly Loeffler. Yesterday I was with her and heard her make her acceptance speech and then take random questions from the press. Kelly grew up on a farm in Illinois, was very active in 4-H, worked her way through college, worked hard and is now living the American Dream. She is a devout Christian, active Republican, huge pro-life advocate and arch conservative.

Because of her appointment, we are fortunate to have both Doug Collins and Kelly Loeffler representing us in DC. Neither President Trump nor Senator David Purdue had any political experience and they have done a fine job. Please reserve your opinions until you get to know the real Kelly Loeffler.

So, for all of my friends, I’d invite you to join me in the group of rational adults who is willing to give Kelly Loeffler a chance to prove herself, and give Governor Brian Kemp the benefit of the doubt.

When you read headlines about Gov. Kemp “defying” President Trump, take it with a grain of salt and with the understanding that many in the leftist mainstream media see this as a two-fer. They get to write headlines about how a Republican Governor is defying the President, and also sow seeds of discord withing the Georgia Republican electorate.

David Emadi, head of the Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, discussed allegations against a Stacey Abrams-connected organization, according to the AJC.

The state ethics commission’s director told the panel Wednesday that a voting advocacy nonprofit connected to Stacey Abrams acted as a political committee during the 2018 elections and should have both registered with the state and reported how much it raised and spent.

David Emadi, the executive director of the commission, also raised questions about whether the New Georgia Project Action Fund — which is affiliated with another nonprofit Abrams founded but no longer leads, the New Georgia Project — illegally coordinated with her campaign.

Emadi said the investigation of Abrams’ campaign and groups that backed her unsuccessful bid for governor in 2018 is ongoing and that he had not yet determined whether coordination between the organizations occurred. Under state law, so-called “independent” committees can work to help get people elected but are not allowed to coordinate their activities with a candidate.

The new details about Emadi’s investigation became public during a commission meeting in which lawyers for the New Georgia Project and the New Georgia Project Action Fund asked the panel to quash subpoenas for records including insurance policies, bank statements and campaign materials.

The commissioners rejected the request, and the commission’s chairman, Jake Evans, said there was enough evidence to suggest the groups may have violated campaign finance laws.

The Commission also declined to quash subpoenas related to the Cobb County Sheriff, according to the AJC.

Albany‘s municipal leadership will look different when newly-elected officials take office, according to the Albany Herald.

With the settling of the dust from three Albany municipal elections, the end result is that nearly half of the city’s government will be composed of new faces next year.

One of those was settled in November, with the victory of Chad Warbington in the Albany City Commission Ward IV race over incumbent Roger Marietta. In Ward VI, voters knew there would be a new city commissioner as incumbent Tommie Postell elected not to seek another term.

But on Tuesday, the third of those new players emerged when Albany attorney Kermit “Bo” Dorough won a runoff election against incumbent Mayor Dorothy Hubbard.

Doraville elected Joseph Geierman as the new Mayor, according to Project Q.

Joseph Geierman beat incumbent Mayor Donna Pittman by 30 points in Doraville, according to the DeKalb County Elections Office. Geierman beat Pittman by 11 points in the November general election but did not get at least 50 percent of the vote, forcing Tuesday’s runoff.

“Ultimately what I think it says is the people of Doraville were ready for change and I’m glad that they believed in my vision for the city,” Geierman said.

Joy Peterson won election to the Warner Robins City Council, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Statesboro City Council adopted an ordinance creating a tax on blighted properties, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Statesboro City Council unanimously adopted a “blight tax” ordinance Tuesday. But its future was immediately placed in doubt when Mayor Jonathan McCollar announced he would reduce the penalty portion of the program from a seven-fold tax to 1% of the regular millage rate.

The penalty tax would be the first phase of a tax incentive program that also includes a later, reduced tax rate for owners who repair or remove dilapidated buildings or otherwise clean up their properties to city standards.

The Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce unveiled its 2020 agenda for local elected officials, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Securing state funding for the expansion of the Savannah Convention Center topped the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 State Legislative Agenda, which was presented on Wednesday during the organization’s annual Eggs and Issues Legislative Breakfast at the Marriott Savannah Riverfront.

“Our goal is to always work with our business community, our delegation and other chambers of commerce to help keep Georgia as the No. 1 state to do business,” said Jon Pannell, the chamber’s Governmental Affairs Council chairman.

State Rep. Ron Stephens said along with fully funding the HOPE Scholarship, the center’s expansion remains of the utmost importance to him as the session approaches.

“It’s been a priority now for a while, but this will be the largest funded project that the state, as far as I know, has ever done if we can get it done,” he said.

The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce also heard from local legislators, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

State tax revenue is flatlining, state Sen. Bill Cowsert, told Athens Area Chamber of Commerce members on Wednesday.

“We’re not certain where that is coming from,” Cowsert said, noting the economy remains strong.

That’s why Gov. Brian Kemp is calling for spending cuts next year, likely to be one of the main themes when Georgia’s Legislature convenes in Atlanta next month.

Four other legislators who represent portions of Clarke County joined Cowsert at the annual event. They were Sen. Frank Ginn, R-Danielsville, whose District 47 includes a small part of Clarke County; Rep. Marcus Wiedower, R-Watkinsville; Rep. Houston Gaines, R-Athens; and Rep. Spencer Frye, D-Athens.

Chatham County will shoulder $1.6 million dollars in expenses for cleanup from Hurricane Dorian, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Chatham County Commissioners will consider how to pay for over $1.6 million in evacuation expenses left over from Hurricane Dorian in September now that Georgia and federal agencies have denied payment.

“On September 1, 2019, Chatham County was under a Hurricane Watch and a mandatory evacuation order was issued by the Governor of Georgia,” the finance director memo states. “CEMA [Chatham Emergency Management Agency] enacted related emergency preparation activities and evacuation protocols for Chatham County resulting in expenditures of $1,662,226.”

During the commissioners’ Sept. 13 meeting, Chairman Al Scott mentioned the possibility that state and federal officials might not reimburse Chatham County coffers for Dorian-related expenses.

According to the memo from Davis, state and federal officials have indeed left Chatham County taxpayers to foot the bill for all hurricane-related expenses.

“No federal or state funds have been allocated to cover costs of these emergency operations,” the memo states. “The finance director therefore requests board approval to appropriate fund balance/net assets to cover the cost of these operations.”

State Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Cobb) proposes expanding Medicaid coverage to some Georgia women, according to the Georgia Recorder.

State Rep. Sharon Cooper, a Marietta Republican, said Tuesday that she has been “battering” the governor’s office and other state leaders about allowing women to retain Medicaid coverage for as long as one year after giving birth. Currently, coverage is cut off two months after the pregnancy ends.

“We are trying to get that extension,” Cooper said at a meeting of a House study panel focused on Georgia’s high rates of maternal deaths. “I feel like I’m making some progress … but you have people pulling for 50,000 other things – for children, for people who have brain injuries and everything else.”

Cooper called the proposal a priority for her. Her study committee hasn’t yet drafted recommendations ahead of the new legislative session, but she said afterwards that extending Medicaid could be among them.

The chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee said afterwards that she thought the cost of stretching out coverage to six months or as long as a year after delivery would be minimal in the big picture. But adding any new expense may prove a tough sell at a time when the governor is ordering nearly all departments to cut spending.

4
Dec

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for December 4, 2019

Peaches Augusta Animal Services

Peaches is a three-month old female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Augusta Animal Services in Augusta, GA.

Peaches loves chew toys and sticks. She is working on becoming housebroken but still has accidents sometimes. Peaches is a house pup who enjoys time outside running and playing. She will sit for a treat.

Buttercup Augusta Animal Services

Buttercup is a young female mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from Augusta Animal Services in Augusta, GA.

Buttercup spent the holiday with a family and two other 4 legged siblings and one of those purred! They stated she was an absolute blast! She is so sweet and goofy. She got along great with my dog and cats. She has lots of puppy energy but also liked to cuddle on the couch. She made really great progress learning to sit, lay down, potty and crate training. ONLY 1 accident all weekend!!! She would do great in a fenced in yard with lots of room to run around. She is an absolute lover and deserves a family who will love her back!

Linus Augusta Animal Services

Linus is a male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Augusta Animal Services in Augusta, GA.

Linus was surrendered to the shelter when his two legged parents had twins and no longer had time for him. Linus is housebroken and gets along great with other dogs. He is great with kids. Loyal. He needs a little training. He may not do well with cats. He chases them and we don’t know what he would do if he caught one. Walks good on a leash. He takes treats gently. He does not bark much but barks appropriately.

4
Dec

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 4, 2019

On December 4, 1783, General George Washington told his officers he would resign his commission and return to his life at Mount Vernon.

The Battle of Waynesboro, Georgia was fought between Wheeler’s Confederate cavalry and Kilpatrick’s federal troops on December 4, 1864.

Governor William Northen signed legislation placing on the statewide ballot a constitutional amendment to increase the number of Georgia Supreme Court Justices from 3 to 5 on December 4, 1893.

On December 4, 1932, a 12-foot tall statue of Tom Watson, former state legislator, Congressman, and United States Senator from Georgia, was placed on the State Capitol Grounds.

On December 4, 1945, the United States Senate voted to approve full U.S. participation in the United Nations. Georgia’s Senators voted in favor.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp is expected to name Kelly Loeffler as his appointee to the United States Senate. From the Associated Press:

Georgia’s governor is expected to appoint a wealthy business executive to replace an outgoing U.S. senator, according to a GOP political consultant, bypassing President Donald Trump’s preferred pick and betting instead that a moderate woman can garner enough support to hold onto the seat next year.

Brian Kemp’s choice of Kelly Loeffler, a political newcomer, defies fellow Republicans who had pushed him to choose Rep. Doug Collins, one of Trump’s staunchest defenders in Congress. Loeffler will fill the seat of retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson, who is stepping down because of health issues.

Trump made clear that he preferred Collins to Loeffler but he has resigned himself to the pick, according to a person familiar with his thinking who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Senate seat will be up for grabs again in November 2020 in an open-to-all special election for the final two years of Isakson’s term. Also on the ballot will be Republican Sen. David Perdue, another vocal Trump defender. With both of Georgia’s GOP-held Senate seats on the ballot alongside Trump in 2020, the race is raising the state’s profile as a political battleground where Republicans still dominate but Democrats have made substantial inroads in recent elections.

From the AJC:

In prepared remarks obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the financial executive will introduce herself to Georgia voters as an outsider who will fight the “socialist gang” in Washington bent on defeating the president.

“I haven’t spent my life trying to get to Washington. But here’s what folks are going to find out about me: I’m a lifelong conservative. Pro-Second Amendment. Pro-military. Pro-wall. And pro-Trump,” she will say. “I make no apologies for my conservative values, and will proudly support President Trump’s conservative judges.”

Loeffler is set to be appointed Wednesday by Gov. Brian Kemp to succeed U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who is retiring at year’s end due to health concerns. The event is to be attended by several high-ranking Republican officials, intended to be a show of support for Kemp’s pick.

In her remarks, Loeffler tries to temper the critiques. She will say she believes the “abortion-on-demand agenda is immoral” and that she would vote for legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“When it comes to protecting innocent life, I look to God because every life is a blessing,” according to her prepared remarks.

“Contrary to what you see in the media, not every strong woman in America is a liberal,” she will say. “Many of us are conservatives, and proud of it.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that Senate Republicans will welcome and support Gov. Kemp’s appointee, according to Politico.

Kemp, a Republican, is expected to appoint Loeffler on Wednesday to replace retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), a highly divisive move in the Republican Party. President Donald Trump was pushing for Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), and conservative groups lambasted Loeffler as wobbly on social issues. Collins has declined to rule out running in the primary for the seat in next year’s special election.

“It seems to me like the governor of Georgia made a terrific appointment,” McConnell said. “She will be an incumbent Republican senator. We will all be behind her. Sen. [Todd] Young has already made it clear the NRSC is going to be behind her. I’m going to be behind her, and I’m confident that someone we’re working with every day will enjoy total support from the Republican conference.”

Georgia has two Senate elections in 2020: one to replace Isakson, and the other in which Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) is running for reelection. Isakson gave his farewell speech on Tuesday and was feted at a bipartisan lunch for his long Senate career.

WALB has some more from the funeral for the late State Rep. Jay Powell.

Funeral services for Rep. Jay Powell were held Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Camilla.

Baconton Mayor Annett Morman said that she and Powell’s love for Mitchell County brought them closer as colleagues and as friends.

“I am so saddened with his death,” Morman said. “He was a dear friend of mine. As a matter of fact, he was at two events in the city of Baconton (on) Oct. 3 and Oct. 10.”

Mitchell County Sheriff W.E. Bozeman said that Powell represented the county well.

“He was our state representative for Mitchell, part of Decatur, part of Colquitt County. He was pretty strong and he was a really good representative to Mitchell County and the other two counties,” Bozeman said.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is still investigating the exact cause of Powell’s death.

Republican Bill Yearta was elected to the State House of Representatives for District 152, according to the AJC.

Bill Yearta, a jeweler and former mayor of Sylvester, received about 115 more votes than his opponent Jim Quinn, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s office.

The two Republicans — both former mayors — faced off Tuesday to replace former state Rep. Ed Rynders, R-Albany, who resigned earlier this year. They were the top two vote-getters in a four-way special election last month.

Yearta, served as mayor of Sylvester for 17 years and resigned earlier this year for his House run, pulled ahead after a second-place finish in November to win Tuesday’s election.

Quinn, a journalist and former mayor of Leesburg, had secured the most votes in the four-way November race, receiving about 41.6% of the nearly 9,300 ballots cast. Yearta secured 34.3% of votes cast last month.

Yearta will represent voters in House District 152 in Lee, Sumter and Worth counties.

Van Johnson was elected Mayor of Savannah in the runoff, according to WSAV.

Alderman Van Johnson defeated incumbent Mayor Eddie DeLoach in Tuesday’s runoff. Unofficial results from the Chatham County Board of Elections are as follows:

Johnson – 62% or 14,884 votes
DeLoach – 38% or 9,291 votes

Back on Election Day, Nov. 5, Johnson got 46 percent to DeLoach’s 40 percent.

Just over a week ago, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams endorsed him. On Monday, she visited Savannah to attend Johnson’s final rally.

That’s also when New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Democratic candidate for president, showed his support.

“Good mayors don’t just have big ideas, they have big hearts. [Johnson] has both,” Booker tweeted, adding, “Savannah you know what to do.”

From the Savannah Morning News:

Johnson received 14,884 votes to incumbent Eddie DeLoach’s 9,291 votes.

Johnson has served as the First District Alderman for four terms.

Johnson said the win means Savannah has smart voters.

“It means our citizens were smart enough to look beyond negative campaigning,” Johnson said. “Negative campaigning does not work — people don’t like that kind of stuff. Because at the end of the day we all have to live here as neighbors.”

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams campaigned in Savannah with Johnson on Dec. 2. U.S. Senator Corey Booker also endorsed Johnson. Johnson has known both Abrams and Booker for a number of years.

Bo Dorough beat incumbent Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard in yesterday’s runoff, according to the Albany Herald.

In a stunning upset, attorney and former Albany City Commissioner Bo Dorough edged incumbent two-term Mayor Dorothy Hubbard 4,656 votes to 4,366 in Tuesday’s mayoral runoff election to unseat Hubbard.

Completing a sweeping change that will see the Albany city government with three new members, Demetrius Young edged John Hawthorne 662 votes to 609 to claim the Ward VI seat currently held by Tommie Postell, who chose not to run for health reasons.

With Chad Warbington’s victory over incumbent Ward IV Commissioner Roger Marietta during the Nov. 5 municipal election, the commission will take on a new tenor come January.

Scott James Matheson has a 123-vote lead in the race for Mayor of Valdosta, with enough provisional ballots to change the result, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Matheson, with 2,861 votes, currently leads Rice, with 2,738 votes, by 123 votes.

The winner will be determined by provisional ballots.

Precincts delivered provisional ballots to the board of elections late Tuesday. The 130 provisional ballots and three mail-in ballots will be counted at 4 p.m. Friday at the board of elections office. The process will be open to the public.

Incumbent Ben Norton appears to have defeated challenger Adrian Rivers in the Valdosta City Council at-large race.

Norton received 3,045 votes (55.50%) and defeated challenger Adrian Rivers, who received 2,441 votes (44.50%).

The five-person race for mayor narrowed to Rice and Matheson after Election Day Nov. 5. Rice received the largest share of votes at 34.84%, while Matheson edged out David Sumner by three points to finish second with 24.65%.

For the at-large seat, Norton’s opponent remained unknown in the Nov. 5 election until more than 100 provisional ballots were counted Nov. 8. Rivers ended up defeating Edgar “Nicky” Tooley by merely 18 votes with 22.26% of the total ballots cast.

The Democratic Party of Georgia coordinated canvassing in the Valdosta runoffs, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The Democratic Party of Georgia strolled down Interstate 75 to help coordinate a Get Out The Vote effort for the nonpartisan runoff races for Valdosta mayor and the Valdosta City Council at-large seat.

Volunteers walked house to house with literature about why J.D. Rice and Adrian Rivers should receive residents’ votes. The mayoral race pit J.D. Rice against Scott James Matheson, while Adrian Rivers challenged incumbent at-large Councilman Ben Norton. The effort is part of a statewide effort to focus on municipal runoffs in Valdosta, Savannah and metro Atlanta, said Scott Hogan, executive director of the DPG.

With shifts from 10 a.m.-2 p.m and 3-7 p.m. Tuesday, 20 Democratic Party of Georgia volunteers knocked on doors in hopes of convincing residents to head to the polls in favor of Rice and Rivers.

The DPG is not coordinating with the Rice or Rivers campaigns because state party efforts are independent expenditures to comply with campaign finance law, said Justin Pitts, director of organizing and outreach of the DPG.

Charlie Bibb took the runoff election for Warner Robins City Council, according to Fox24.

Charlie Bibb earned 59 percent of the vote with Eric Langston earning 41 percent of the vote.

On Election Day in November, Langston beat Bibb. After his arrest for forgery and false statements on Monday, Langston now says he believes that contributed to the runoff’s final results, but thanked those who have supported him.

“I’m sure it did. There is nothing we can do about it now. Move forward and handle these issues later on down the road,” he says.

From the Macon Telegraph:

Langston is accused of forging a document that indicated that he didn’t owe any back taxes. He said he’s not guilty.

Bibb was not unscathed during the runoff.

He came under scrutiny during the runoff when WMAZ-TV aired a story about a decades-old arrest for burglary in which he received probation and first offender status, which means he doesn’t have a record because he successfully completed his probation.

Bibb, who noted that he surrendered his life to Jesus, said he’s always been open about his past.

“If the Lord can change me, he could change anybody,” Bibb said. “That’s how I live my life.”

Kurtis Purtee won the runoff for Savannah Board of Aldermen District 6 over 20-year incumbent Tony Thomas, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Purtee triumphed over incumbent Tony Thomas — who held this aldermanic post since 1999 — by garnering 2,529 out of 4,747 ballots cast in Tuesday’s District 6 runoff with all nine precincts counted, giving him 53.28% of the total turnout.

“I’m so grateful and humbled by the support,” said Purtee. “For those that didn’t support me … I’m still going to be a voice for them.”

Purtee’s victory continues the trend of this year’s Savannah elections favoring fresh faces, as every other aldermanic seat but one — the District 5 post held by Estella Shabazz, who ran for reelection unopposed — will also be held by first-time city-council members in the new administration. Despite his lack of experience in municipal politics, Purtee believes that his public service with police agencies helped give him the edge in Tuesday’s runoff.

Purtee’s campaign received a boost with the endorsement of Antonio Hunter, a former substitute teacher who also ran for the seat held by Thomas in the main election on Nov. 5. Hunter finished third with over 14% of the total 4,550 ballots cast in District 6 during the first round, leaving both Purtee and Thomas with less than 50% of the vote share to force Tuesday’s runoff.

Congratulations and condolences to Derek Norton, who was elected Mayor of Smyrna, according to Patch.com.

The runoff mayoral election in Smyrna took place on Dec. 3 with Derek Norton winning with his 3,764 votes. Ryan Campbell followed behind with 3,605.

In Ward 2 race, Austin Wagner won the most votes with 391 against incumbent Andrea Blustein, who tallied 284.

Brunswick City Commissioner Johnny Cason won reelection in yesterday’s runoff, according to The Brunswick News.

Cason defeated challenger John Davis Perry II by 12 votes in Tuesday’s runoff to determine the winner of the North Ward seat.

The runoff was necessary after none of the four candidates was able to garner more than 50 percent of the vote. The top two vote recipients were Cason with 46 percent of the vote and Perry with 24 percent of the vote in the Nov. 5 general election.

Cason earned 304 votes or 51 percent to Perry’s 292 votes or 49 percent. Only 6.1 percent of the city’s 9,761 registered voters showed up to cast their votes in the runoff.

Braselton, Norcross, and Snellville elected municipal leaders in runoff elections, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

In the only runoff that featured an incumbent, Braselton Councilwoman Becky Richardson cruised to a victory over Richard Mayberry by capturing 61.6% of the 159 votes cast in the Council District 1 race. Richardson received 98 votes, compared to 61 votes for Mayberry.

In Snellville, Solange Destang cruised to a 557-401 victory over Brittany Marmol in the open Post 2 City Council runoff.

In Norcross, Bruce Gaynor narrowly defeated Tyler Hannel by a margin of 274-232, in the open city council runoff to replace Councilman Dan Hatch.

The Gwinnett County Transit Plan review committee is asking for extra time to finish its work, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

When the committee tasked with coming up with recommendations for revisions to the Connect Gwinnett Transit Plan was created, it had a mandate from county commissioners to finish that work by Dec. 31. The head of the committee, Laurie McClain, and Gwinnett Transportation Director Alan Chapman told commissioners that the review panel would like to get the deadline pushed back to the end of January.

The Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission issued subpoenas to two Atlanta mayoral candidates, according to the AJC.

The commission on Monday notified Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ campaign of allegations that it accepted $382,773 in contributions that exceeded maximum limits established by law.

The commission is also alleging that Mary Norwood, Bottoms’ opponent in the runoff, accepted $168,975 in contributions that exceeded the limits.

The documents outlining the violations do not name the donors whose contributions allegedly exceeded the limits — which in 2017 were $2,600 for a general election and $1,400 for a runoff.

In total, Bottoms raised $2.7 million for her campaign compared to Norwood’s $2.1 million.

3
Dec

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for December 3, 2019

Carrot Barkville

Carrot is a young male Chihuahua and Terrier mix who is available for adoption from BarkVille Dog Rescue in Roswell, GA.

Carrot is a sweet & friendly Chi/Terrier mix who is 2 years old & weighs 12 lbs. He is a teeny tiny little guy in need of an immediate foster or adopter so that he can have a safe & loving home for the holidays! Carrot is a playful, affectionate, social young boy who is good with people & other dogs! He will make a great companion for the very lucky person/family who adopts him.

Carrot is housebroken, crate trained, neutered, fully vaccinated & microchipped. He is currently being fostered in GA, but can also be available for adoption in the northeast.

Sully Barkville

Sully is a young male Terrier mix who is available for adoption from BarkVille Dog Rescue in Roswell, GA.

Sully is a sweet & affectionate pitbull puppy who is about 10 months old and weighs 35 lbs. He is an adorable, social, friendly young boy who is everything a puppy should be … happy, curious, comical, and playful! He has puppy energy, so he’ll need lots of exercise, chew toys, and corrections if he gets mouthy during play time (especially at long shirt sleeves or shoelaces) … but there’s nothing he loves more than snuggling after walks & being close to his humans. 

Sully’s foster mom says he does the cutest little happy dance when he sees her filling up his food bowl … he leaps & dances right into his crate where he waits to be fed. He is still learning his leash manners and does pretty well on walks, but his foster mom says he’ll pull if he sees something interesting like a squirrel or bunny so she’s been walking him with the gentle leader and his pulling has improved greatly.

Grady Barkville

Grady is a young male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from BarkVille Dog Rescue in Roswell, GA.

Grady is an adorable, affectionate Black Lab/Terrier mix who is 2 years old and weighs 50 lbs. He was very shy at the shelter, but fortunately BarkVille was able to place him in a wonderful foster home where he has really come out of his shell and regained his confidence. His foster mom says he is completely precious … a happy, playful, social dog who likes to play hard, and then happily curls up in his crate to sleep.

Grady loves people, other dogs, and car rides. He walks well on a leash, knows basic commands, and is a sweet, gentle, loving boy. He really enjoys playing with other dogs so a home with another playful dog would be ideal, although he’d be fine as an only dog with an active person/family who will give him the exercise & attention he deserves!

Two Girl Scouts from Lilburn raised $1200 to support a veteran’s assistance dog, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

After nine months of abstract planning and gathering donations, fifth-graders Cierra Thomas and Kaitlyn Crowe were able to witness the real benefits of their community service project.

The completion of the project granted Cierra and Kaitlyn their bronze awards, the highest possible honor for Girl Scout Juniors. It also gave U.S. Army veteran Paul DiPaolo and his service dog, Duce, a new harness, a flea and tick collar and premium dog food that lift almost a year’s worth of financial burden off the soldier’s back.

“We’re excited to be able to show people what we’ve done and tell people about this amazing foundation,” Cierra said. “(Top Dogg K9 Foundation) is a great foundation if you’re a veteran and you want to train your service dog.”

What the Lilburn girls scouts were able to drum up in a matter of months was not mere pocket change. Cierra and Kaitlyn set out with a goal to raise $300 to support a veteran and their dog who were training with Top Dogg K9 Foundation in Stone Mountain. The total they finally accumulated was roughly four times that projected amount — $1,200.

DiPaolo joined the U.S. Army in 2010 and served for seven years. He was deployed in 2009 when he was injured jumping out of a helicopter during a training exercise. He said people he met through Wounded Warrior Project helped give him a sense of purpose and a reason to be excited about his future. He and his wife, April, moved to the Atlanta area with their son, A.J., when he decided to go to graduate school.

“It helps me financially and helps me with all of his nutrition, because he requires a lot of protein,” DiPaolo said.

3
Dec

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 3, 2019

628px-Grand_Union_Flag.svg

On December 3, 1775, the Grand Union Flag, comprising the Union Jack with thirteen red-and-white stripes was raised for the first time by Lieutenant John Paul Jones over the USS Alfred, a colonial warship. The flag would be used by Continental forces thorugh 1776 and early 1777.

USS Alfred

On December 3, 1776, General George Washington wrote Congress that he had moved most of his army across the Delaware River from Trenton, New Jersey to Pennsylvania.

On December 3, 1864, Union forces under the command of Gen. William T. Sherman skirmished against Wheeler’s Confederate cavalry at Thomas’ Station in Burke County, Georgia.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former President Jimmy Carter has been hospitalized again, according to the Albany Herald.

“Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was admitted to Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus, Ga., this past weekend for treatment for a urinary tract infection,” a statement from the Carter Center read. “He is feeling better and looks forward to returning home soon. We will issue a statement when he is released for further rest and recovery at home.”

Carter, 95, had been admitted to the hospital on November 11 for a procedure to relieve pressure on his brain. The pressure was caused by bleeding from his recent falls, the center said at the time. He was hospitalized twice in October, suffering a black eye and receiving 14 stitches above his brow after his first fall, when he hit his forehead “on a sharp edge.” He then received treatment for a minor pelvic fracture after his second fall.

Carter celebrated his 95th birthday on October 1, and is the oldest living former US president in history — a title once held by George H.W. Bush, who died in late 2018 at age 94.

Today is runoff election day in a number of municipalities across Georgia. Read a little further for information on some of those elections.

Governor Brian Kemp is widely expected to name Kelly Loeffler to the United States Senate tomorrow. From the AJC:

Kemp and his advisers spent the last stretch putting the finishing touches on his pick’s rollout during an announcement set for 10 a.m. Wednesday. He’s eager to trumpet a prominent executive who can self-finance her campaign and, he’ll contend, help the Georgia GOP win back suburban voters.

The announcement would come a day after U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson delivers a farewell speech on the Senate floor. Isakson, who is stepping down at year’s end because of health issues, recently had breakfast with Kemp and repeated his pledge to support the governor’s selection.

Loeffler also started introducing herself to her soon-to-be colleagues, including a conversation with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The National Republican Senatorial Committee told her she’d be treated as an incumbent with the group’s full support, which could help defend her new post.

Here’s my position on Kelly Loeffler’s appointment:  I’m going to give her a chance to live up to the promise that Governor Kemp sees in her, then I’ll decide whether she’s the kind of Republican I can support.

Roswell City Council Post 3 has a runoff with two female candidates, according to Patch.com.

Post 3 did not have an incumbent running, and saw four candidates vying for the seat in November. Christine Hall took 3,827 of votes, and will face Lisa Holland who had 3,530 votes in a runoff. Other candidates, Keith Goeke with 2,002 votes and Kay Howell with 1,727 votes, will not be in the runoff.

Johns Creek City Council has three runoff elections, according to Patch.com.

For Johns Creek City Council Post 2, Brian Weaver who received 3,253 votes will face Dilip Tunki who received 2,160 votes in a runoff. The third candidate Royce Reinecke took 1,696 votes.

Johns Creek Post 4 incumbent Chris Coughlin received 3,319 votes, and will face Marybeth Cooper, who had 1,342 votes, in a runoff. Other candidates Adam Thomas had 1,288 votes and Kent Altom with 1,052 votes.

Johns Creek Post 6 saw three vying for the seat, and Erin Elwood took 2,700 votes and will face Issure C. Yang, who had 2,258 votes, in a runoff. The third candidate Judy LeFave took 2,076 votes.

Walthourville in Liberty County on the Georgia coast will hold a runoff for City Council today.

11Alive looks at a variety of runoff elections being contested today.

A runoff election for mayor in Savannah headlines the municipal races, with Alderman Van Johnson seeking to unseat incumbent Eddie DeLoach.

Voters in Valdosta will be choosing a new mayor, with former fire chief J.D. Rice going up against talk show host Scott James Matheson. In Albany, incumbent Mayor Dorothy Hubbard seeks a third term against lawyer Kermit “Bo” Dorough.

In metro Atlanta, voters will settle mayor’s races in College Park, Doraville, Morrow and Smyrna.

Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach will attempt to hold his seat in today’s runoff, according to WJCL.

Incumbent Eddie DeLoach and Alderman Van Johnson will go head-to-head in Tuesday’s runoff election.

“This race is important. I want people to get our and exercise their constitutional right and ability to vote,” Johnson said.

“The only way you make difference in your community is to come out and vote,” DeLoach said.

On Johnson’s last day on the campaign trail, he attracted many state and local leaders for support including former Savannah mayors, newly elected city council members and Georgia Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.

DeLoach also brought in support from state leaders and other mayors across the coastal empire, but says he was looking for support manly on a local level.

Valdosta voters go to the polls in runoff elections today, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Election Day strikes again Tuesday, Dec. 3, as city residents head back to the polls to vote in runoff races for mayor of Valdosta and Valdosta City Council at-large.

The mayoral race pits Scott James Matheson against J.D. Rice, while incumbent at-large Councilman Ben Norton hopes to retain his seat from challenger Adrian Rivers.

House District 152 in Southwest Georgia will see a runoff election today, according to WALB.

People in Sumter, Worth and Lee counties will cast their vote Tuesday for one of the biggest runoff races in the area.

Former Sylvester Mayor Bill Yearta and former Leesburg Mayor Jim Quinn are in the runoff and both are still hoping for a big win Tuesday night.

Brunswick City Commission’s North Ward holds a runoff today, according to The Brunswick News.

Braselton Town Council District 1 hosts a runoff election today, according to the Gainesville Times.

Voting takes place 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, in the runoff for the Braselton Town Council’s District 1 seat.

Residents can vote at the Braselton Police & Municipal Court building at 5040 Ga. Highway 53.

The election pits incumbent Becky Richardson against challenger Richard Mayberry. They were the top two finishers in the Nov. 5 election.

In Habersham County, District 5 voters go to the polls in a runoff today, according to AccessWDUN.

Habersham County voters need to choose a county commissioner to represent District 5. Darrin Johnston and Tim Stamey were the top vote-getters in the Nov. 5 general election. One of them will replace Ed Nichols, who resigned after moving.

The AJC lists other Metro Atlanta area runoff elections being held today.

Whitfield County‘s Special Purpose Local Option Sale Tax (SPLOST) citizens committee delivered its wish list, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

The chairman of a citizens advisory committee making recommendations for projects that could be funded by a proposed 2020 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) thanked officials with the City of Dalton on Monday for coming up with a good list of projects to be funded.

“When we went through the city’s requests and started weeding them out, we found that a lot of the weeding had already been done,” said Chris Shiflett.

Shiflett and other members of the committee delivered their recommendations to the City Council at the council’s meeting Monday night.

Dougherty County Commissioners adopted revisions to their alcohol ordinance, according to the Albany Herald.

Dougherty County Commission put voters’ will into policy on Monday, approving ordinances allowing Sunday package sales of alcohol and setting an earlier time to begin serving mixed drinks on Sunday.

Beginning in January, Sunday sales of beer, wine and distilled spirits will be legal in stores in unincorporated Dougherty County.

The city of Albany does not allow package sales on Sunday.

A vote on Sunday sales at package stores outside the Albany city limits passed on Nov. 5 with 60% of the vote, 7,449-4,883. Voters who live outside Albany approved moving up the start time for selling alcoholic beverages at restaurants from noon to 11 a.m.

Columbus City Council will consider repealing an ordinance that bans tattooing on Sunday, according to the Ledger Enquirer.

Columbus Council Tuesday night will consider deleting an “antiquated” local law that prohibits the act of tattooing on Sundays or Sabbath days.

The change was sparked by the scheduling of the region’s first large tattoo convention set to occupy the Columbus Convention and trade center in January.

District 8 Councilor Walker Garrett said the Columbus Tattoo Expo, which will feature artists doing tattoos on-site throughout the entire weekend January 10-12, prompted his proposal to change the ordinance.

“It is my understanding that the local parlors already operate on Sundays and this law hasn’t been enforced, but I thought it was better to change an antiquated law then to risk affecting a major convention coming to Columbus,” Garrett said in an email.

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce will hear from local legislators at their Eggs and Issues breakfast, according to the Gainesville Times.

Local residents and business leaders can hear from state legislators and get a look ahead at the 2020 legislative session at the annual Eggs & Issues event Dec. 12.

The event, hosted by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, will feature all of Hall County’s delegation in the Georgia General Assembly:

• State Sen. Butch Miller, 49th District

• State Sen. John Wilkinson, 50th District

• State Rep. Lee Hawkins, 27th District

• State Rep. Matt Dubnik, 29th District

• State Rep. Emory Dunahoo Jr., 30th District

• State Rep. Timothy Barr, 103rd District

Floyd County Commissioners discussed their priorities with local legislators, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Floyd County Commissioners sat down for a luncheon Monday with state Reps. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, and Mitchell Scoggins, R-Cartersville, to discuss issues concerning inmates and taxes.

The meeting was aimed at letting lawmakers know what local officials are hoping for help with in the 2020 Georgia General Assembly session.

One of the biggest issues concerning county commissioners is the cost to support the prison population, most notably the medical costs.

“We’re spending $3.3 million on medical care for prison and jail inmates,” County Manager Jamie McCord said.

The commissioners commented that majority of the inmate population and local arrests have substance abuse issues and mental illnesses. It’s a major problem county commission members have been trying to tackle for the last couple of years.

“We now have a task force with Judge (Jack) Niedrach and Bonnie Moore and all the right people, trying to figure out a better way to care for people with mental illness and substance abuse issues than in our jail,” Commissioner Allison Watters said.

Niedrach presides over a mental health court and Moore is a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness chapter NAMI Rome.

Atlanta City Council voted unanimously to ban single-use plastics in food service at Hartsfield-Jackson airport, according to the AJC.

The Atlanta City Council voted unanimously in favor of a ban on non-compostable single-use plastic bags, straws and Styrofoam used to serve food at city buildings and at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

But the plastics ban the city council voted for on Monday would allow for a year to pass before it takes effect. Even then, it will apply only to businesses on new city contracts struck after the effective date and to city purchases.

Atlanta voters will decide on whether to levy a renewal of the penny sales tax for water and sewer, according to the AJC.

If the tax is approved, taxpayers would pay up to $750 million over four years to continue fixing the city’s water issues which are projected to cost nearly $4 billion.

City Council approved the March 24, 2020, referendum during its Nov. 18 meeting. The current penny tax would end Sept. 30, 2020.

2
Dec

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for December 2, 2019

Laverne Shirley

Laverne and Shirley are 5-year old female American Foxhound sisters who are available separately for adoption from Best Friends Dog Rescue in Cairo, GA.

These 2 girls are 5 yrs old, fully vetted with microchip, they have come a long way and were in a awful place in their past. They have gone from skin and bones and hairless to now healthy and feeling great! They are ready for new loving home that they so deserve. Please help us and give one of these girls a forever home!

B Pups

“The B Pups” are a litter of 10-week old American Bulldog & Black Mouth Cur Mix puppies who are available separately for adoption from Best Friends Dog Rescue in Cairo, GA.

Pups1_4

“Pups 1 through 4” are a litter of 9-week old Australian Cattle Dog / Blue Heeler Mix puppies (three female, one male) who are available separately for adoption from Best Friends Dog Rescue in Cairo, GA.