The blog.

23
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 23, 2018

Splinter PAWS

Splinter is a female Plott Hound mix who is available for adoption from PAWS Atlanta in Decatur, GA.

Agent Doggit PAWS

Agent Doggit is a female Hound mix who is available for adoption from PAWS Atlanta in Decatur, GA.

Dover PAWS

Dover is a young male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from PAWS Atlanta in Decatur, GA.

23
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 23, 2018

Serial bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were shot to death near Sailes, Louisiana by a group of LA and Texas state police on May 23, 1934.

On May 23, 1954, the NAACP petitioned the Fulton County Board of Education to desegregate after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

Former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter won the Virginia Caucus on May 23, 1976, gaining 24 delegates. On May 25, 1976, Carter won the Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky Primary Elections for President.

On May 23, 1990, the NFL announced that Atlanta would host the 1994 Super Bowl.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal appointed Lewis R. Lamb to a vacancy as District Attorney for the Southwestern Judicial Circuit, which includes Lee, Macon, Schley, Stewart, Sumter and Webster Counties.

Click here for last night’s election results.

Today’s edition will not just recount the results, but will discuss ten things that caught my eye last night while obsessively refreshing the results page.Continue Reading..

22
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 22, 2018

Stormy Statesboro

Stormy is a young male Labrador Retriever and Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Statesboro & Bulloch County in Statesboro, GA.

Yogie Statesboro

Yogie is a young male Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Fixing the Boro in Statesboro, GA.

Foxy Statesboro

Foxy is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from in Statesboro, GA.

22
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 22, 2018

On May 22, 1856, Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner with his cane. Brooks used the cane as the result of injury sustained in a previous duel, and found Sumner at his desk in the Senate Chamber. In the course of a two-day Senate speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would have nullified the Missouri Compromise on the expansion of slavery, Sumner had criticized three legislators, including a cousin of Rep. Brooks, Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina.

On May 22, 1819, the steamship Savannah left the port of Savannah for Liverpool, England. After 29 days, it became the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. On May 22, 1944, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating the voyage of the Savannah.

On May 22, 1932, New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the commencement address for Oglethorpe University at the Fox Theater in Atlanta.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

It’s election day in Georgia and polls are open statewide until 7 PM. Don’t forget to bring your photo ID.

The Dalton Daily Citizen looks at local races on the ballot.

Chuck Payne (incumbent) and Scott Tidwell face each other in the Republican Party primary for the District 54 state Senate seat. Mike Cowan and Barry Robbins (incumbent) are the two Republicans seeking the District 1 seat on the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners.

The winner of the District 54 state Senate GOP primary faces Democrat Michael S. Morgan in the Nov. 6 general election. There is no Democratic opposition in the board of commissioners race, so the primary winner is expected to win that seat.

The Valdosta Daily Times considers candidates for the local Board of Education.

For Lowndes County Commission District 2, Aaron Strickland qualified as a Democrat; incumbent District 2 Commissioner Scott Orenstein runs as a Republican.

District 3 County Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker and District 4 County Commissioner Demarcus Marshall are running unopposed.

J.R. Rogers and Walter Byrd are challenging incumbent Lowndes County school board member Eric Johnson for the Lowndes County Board of Education District 2 seat.

For Lowndes County Board of Education District 2, incumbent Michael Davis and challenger Willie Harris are running.

For county school board District 3, incumbent Brian Browning and challenger Erin Price are running.

For area Statehouse races, incumbent state Rep. John LaHood faces fellow Republican Coy Reaves.

Bulloch County voters will decide on a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, according to the Statesboro Herald.

One item that does appear on all Bulloch County ballots, in the nonpartisan section, is the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum. A “yes” vote would add a penny tax to fund transportation projects of the county government and the four towns: Statesboro, Brooklet, Portal and Register. Sales taxes on nonexempt items here would then total 8 cents on the dollar, but 4 cents goes to the state.

Bulloch County Board of Commissioners, District 2, which encompasses the larger portion of the county’s population, has a Republican-ballot race among challenger Travis Chance, incumbent Walter Gibson and challenger Sid Jones for Seat 2B. The winner Tuesday or July 24 will meet Democratic challenger Adrienne Dobbs on the November ballot.

Savannah voters will see a slate of Board of Education seats up for election, according to the Savannah Morning News.

In Chatham County elections, voters will cast their vote in four contested races and 17 uncontested races.

Voters have five candidates to choose from for school board president: former school board president Joe Buck, David Lerch, Board District 6 representative Larry Lower, Betty Morgan and Tye Whitely. Current school board president, Jolene Byrne, is not running for a second term.

Also on the ballot for contested local races are elections for school board District 5, 6, and 8 seats.

Candidates in District 5 are incumbent Irene Hines and challenger Theresa Watson. District 6 candidates are David Bringman and Alfreda Goldwire. In District 8, incumbent Ruby Jones is facing challenger Tonia Howard-Hall.

The Rome News-Tribune looks at early voting turnout.

During the early voting period that ended Friday, 2,574 people cast ballots. The Georgia secretary of state’s office listed 50,787 registered voters as of May 1, putting the turnout at about 5 percent so far.

Just under 20 percent of Floyd County voters weighed in during the 2014 primaries, the last midterm election with big state races on the ballots.

[Elections Supervisor Willie] Green said he doesn’t expect long waits at the polls but he asked voters to look over the ballots and be aware of the choices before they step up to a machine.

“Be aware of the questions the Democratic Party is presenting to its voters,” he said. “Also, I want to remind people that some of the candidates have been removed from the Republican ballot and votes for them won’t be counted.”

Albany is a crossroads in the campaign for Governor, with Republican Lt. Governor Casey Cagle visiting, according to the Albany Herald.

Cagle, along with his wife, Nita, made a stop at the Eagles of America base of operations at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Monday morning, one of eight stops he was expected to make around the state. There to greet him were several of his supporters from the Albany area, along with officials from the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission and the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. He made a brief appearance before moving on to his next planned stop.

The lieutenant governor made specific mention of Albany’s Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy and the role it has in helping students achieve the knowledge and skills to be successful.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp also campaigned in Albany seeking the GOP gubernatorial nod.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp gave a speech and met with supporters during a fly-in campaign stop at Albany’s Eagles of America base at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport on Monday.

The stop was part of a statewide tour Kemp was making in advance of today’s primary elections.

“We started this campaign literally 14 months ago with the message of putting Georgians first,” Kemp said. “We’ve literally been to all corners of our state. …We’re the first campaign to organize in all 159 counties, and that’s going to serve us well tomorrow night when the returns start coming in.”

Democrat Stacey Abrams brought her campaign bus to Albany.

Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Stacey Abrams, who announced her plans to seek the state’s top office in Albany, returned to the city on Monday as part of the final leg of her campaign, mere hours before voters were to head to the polls for today’s primary election.

“As much as we want to do work, you have to have people who believe that the work should be done,” Abrams said, thanking all of the people who came out on Wednesday to support her campaign.

Abrams talked about the importance of the inclusion of all of Georgia when it comes to statewide matters. She said she thinks that southwest Georgia, especially the city of Albany, has too long been overlooked by the state. Abrams said that Georgia needs a governor who recognizes that the city of Atlanta and its surrounding counties are not the only part of Georgia.

Casey Cagle‘s hometown Gainesville Times has a prediction for today’s elections.

Casey Cagle will wake up on Tuesday and win Georgia’s Republican primary election.

No one ever doubted that Georgia’s longtime lieutenant governor, born in Gainesville and raised in Hall County, would come out on top on Tuesday. With almost 100 percent of voters recognizing his name and more than twice the campaign cash of anyone else in the race, Cagle’s four other major challengers haven’t raced for first place; even the day before the election, they proclaim they’re happily “surging” into second place.

Cagle will win — but will he win by enough?

If Cagle, 52, doesn’t get a majority of votes cast in the primary, he’s bound for a runoff against the second-place finisher. That’s why former state Sen. Hunter Hill, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and businessman Clay Tippins have all made the case that they’re the only ones who can topple the lieutenant governor in a July runoff — a runoff is their only hope.

The Gainesville Times also lists local offices on the ballot in Hall County.

Gwinnett County early voting shows a trend that may be worrisome for Republicans, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The figures released by Gwinnett’s elections departments show 14,997 ballots were cast early. The majority of them — 8,447 ballots to be exact — were for the Democratic primary while another 5,846 early ballots were cast in the Republican primary. The county said 704 nonpartisan early ballots were cast as well.

Among Democratic voters, 7,981 voted advance in person by going to one of the county’s early voting sites between April 30 and last Friday. The county had also received 458 absentee by mail ballots in the Democratic primary as of Monday and another eight ballots were received by electronic ballot delivery from military and overseas voters.

Among Republican voters, 5,314 ballots were cast through advance in person voting while 532 absentee by mail ballots had been received. No ballots cast by electronic ballot delivery were received for the Republican primary.

The City of Stockbridge filed suit and is seeking an injunction, alleging that legislation setting up a referendum to create a new City of Eagles Landing is unconstitutional, according to The Henry Herald.

In addition, attorneys representing the city also indicated they would file a federal civil rights suit in the coming weeks.

The city is seeking a declaratory judgment and an injunction stating that the Eagles Landing bills that were signed by Gov. Nathan Deal are unconstitutional. The bills were referred to as Act 548 and Act 559 by attorneys on Thursday.

In addition, the city also seeks an interlocutory injunction against the BOC and the Board of Elections and Registration “from taking any action to aid or abet the creation of the city of Eagles Landing.”

“We’re asking the court to hold everything in place until the constitutionality of the two actions is determined,” [attorney Bob] Wilson said. “No case is perfect, and no case is a certainty, but we believe as a legal counsel this is a solid case. Not only have the constitutional provisions been violated, but the Supreme Court of Georgia, since the 1950s, ruled on exactly these same points, and each time, they ruled in the direction we’re asking the courts to find now.”

The Gwinnett County Commission may consider purchasing the OFS site on Jimmy Carter Boulevard, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gwinnett County commissioners will decide whether they support the county purchasing more than 100 acres of the OFS property near Norcross on Tuesday.

The agenda shows the commissioners will take up a resolution “in support of the Urban Redevelopment Agency of Gwinnett County entering into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with OFS Brightwave Solutions Inc. to purchase 104 acres of land.” County tax records show OFS owns 168.85 acres of land at the site. The company will continue an ongoing expansion on the property it will keep, according to county documents.

The URA plans to pay $330,000 per acre — which amounts to a total of just over $34.3 million — for the property, according to the meeting agenda.

The resolutions shows plans for the portion of the OFS property that the URA is buying would be used for economic redevelopment, but the nature of that redevelopment was not specified in documents.

Macon protestors gathered outside a planned abortion clinic site, according to the Macon Telegraph.

“We’re here today to pray and silently protest the fact that this space has been authorized as an abortion clinic,” said Ann Beall, director of the The Saint Maximilian Kolbe Center for Life, which she described as a pregnancy resource center supported by the Catholic Church. “Our goal is to hopefully ever prevent them from opening.”

Beall said opponents have reached out to local government officials but added, “we have not had a specific conversation about this clinic, but that is coming.”

Last week, the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission approved a conditional-use permit for the Summit Center PC, to allow a medical office at 833 Walnut St. No one attended the meeting to oppose the application. The parent company, Summit Medical Centers, has offices in Atlanta and Detroit. It would provide low-cost women’s gynecological health services including pap smears, vaginal infection treatment, flu vaccines, contraceptive prescriptions and “first trimester only abortion care and gynecological exams,” according to its application.

Democrats go to Court

The ACLU of Georgia represents Democrat Maria Palacios in a lawsuit alleging she was unlawfully removed from the ballot, according to the Gainesville Times.

Until Friday, May 18, Maria Palacios was running as a Democrat in the primary for Georgia House District 29. Running unopposed, Palacios was lined up to face Rep. Matt Dubnik, R-Gainesville, and independent challenger Nancy Stead in the November general election.

But on Friday, Secretary of State Brian Kemp signed an order declaring Palacios was unqualified to run for office because she didn’t become a U.S. citizen until 2017. Kemp and his office have ruled that because Palacios hasn’t been a citizen for more than two years, she doesn’t meet the state requirements for public office.

The Georgia statute quoted by the secretary of state’s office states, “At the time of their election, the members of the House of Representatives shall be citizens of the United States, shall be at least 21 years of age, shall have been citizens of this state for at least two years, and shall have been legal residents of the territory embraced within the district from which elected for at least one year.”

The ACLU of Georgia, which is representing Palacios in a lawsuit filed this week, argues the term “citizens of this state” is up for interpretation.

Democrat Ken Montano filed a complaint with the USDOJ alleging election improprieties against his campaign for State House District 107, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Ken Montano, a Democrat running for the House District 107 seat, said he was told by a voter that a sign that said Montano withdrew from the race had been posted in the advance polling location where they cast their ballot. Montano, who is running against Shelly Hutchinson in the Democratic primary for the seat, said he did not drop out of the race, however.

“My campaign has been irretrievably harmed by the actions taken prior to Primary Election Day,” Montano said in an email. “My civil rights, and the rights of voters to select the candidate of their choice, were violated. Removing the Notices on Tuesday and even making a public announcement about the error will not suffice. The harm has already been done.

“There may be grounds to invalidate the election. I have reached out to a local civil rights attorney for assistance, and filed a formal complaint with the Department of Justice Elections Division.”

The incident raises questions about how the notices were posted in the polling sites during early voting. Montano said he was told by Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections Chairman Stephen Day that the signs had been posted at the early voting sites because they had been authorized by the Secretary of State’s Office.

Montano said he spoke with an official in the Secretary of State’s Elections Division on Monday and was told the county had not been authorized to post the notice.

21
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 21, 2018

Bob Atlanta Lab

Bob is a 1-year old, 35-pound male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Atlanta Lab Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

Bunny Atlanta Lab

Bunny is a 1-year old, 28-pound female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Atlanta Lab Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

Roxie Atlanta Lab

Roxie is a 3-year old, 65-pound female Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from Atlanta Lab Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

21
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 21, 2018

Georgia Colonists signed the Treaty of Savannah with the Lower Creeks on May 21, 1733.

George Washington left Georgia on May 21, 1791, crossing a bridge over the Savannah River at Augusta.

American Charles Lindbergh landed at Paris on May 21, 1927 in The Spirit of St. Louis, completing both the first nonstop transatlantic flight and the first nonstop flight from New York to Paris.

On May 21, 1942, German authorities removed 4300 Polish Jews from Chelm to an extermination camp at Sobibor and killed them by poison gas. The Sobibor camp’s five gas chambers would kill 250,000 Jews during 1942 and 1943.

On May 21, 2011, Herman Cain announced his candidacy for President of the United States at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park, and I photographed it.

During the next eighteen months, when someone talks about whomever is leading the latest polls, remember that six months after announcing his Presidential campaign, Herman Cain was leading the polls. Less than one month later, Cain was out of the race.

In Candler County, Georgia, the SAR and DAR placed markers at the graves of two patriots.

In a remote, wooded area of what is now Candler County, between the Excelsior community and the Canoochee River, two Revolutionary War veterans influential in the early government of the state of Georgia and of Bulloch County are buried among their kin.

Members or the Georgia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, or SAR, and several Daughters of the American Revolution, or DAR, chapters gathered there May 12. After posting of the colors, laying of wreaths, volleys of musket and cannon and the bugling of Taps, organizational leaders unveiled an SAR Patriot marker at the grave of Charles McCall, 1732-1814, and a DAR Patriot marker for John Everett, 1754-1820.

Candler County Commission Chairman Glyn Thrift and Candler County Historical Society President Steve Waller also welcomed the families, and Georgia SAR Senior Vice President Scott Collins brought greetings from the society’s 33 chapters and, he said, nearly 2,000 members.

Representatives of at least nine DAR chapters presented the wreaths.  Jane Durden, regent of the Gov. David Emanuel-Adam Brinson DAR Chapter, organized a reception held afterward at Excelsior Baptist Church for the 100 or so people who attended.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal ordered flags on state buildings and properties to be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 in honor of the victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas.

The New York Times profiles the race between Democrats Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans for Governor of Georgia.

Ms. Abrams, a former minority leader of the Georgia House, is also testing a risky campaign strategy: that a Democrat can win a statewide election in the Deep South without relying on the conservative-leaning white voters long considered essential.

“The approach of trying to create a coalition that is centered around converting Republicans has failed Democrats in the state of Georgia for the last 15 years,” Ms. Abrams said after mingling with diners in this North Georgia town.

Her rival in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, former State Representative Stacey Evans, has scorned Ms. Abrams’ strategy as unrealistic and “unhealthy for democracy.”

Democratic candidates nationwide are wrestling with whether they should try to reclaim some of President Trump’s supporters or try to maximize support from their racially diverse, liberal base. At a time in the country’s politics when issues of race and gender are central, with women at the forefront of an uprising against the president, Ms. Abrams’ candidacy looms even larger.

It’s an excellent piece worth reading in its entirety.

National Public Radio also takes on the question of Democratic campaign strategies.

“Political analysts keep looking at not only what the structure of Georgia is, but they’re also looking at the playbook that was used in Georgia, and that’s an old playbook,” said Abrams. “It’s an old playbook that never invested in any of these communities of color in Georgia.”

Abrams is convinced the only way a Democrat can win is by engaging with untapped minority voters, particularly those in rural communities, who’ve often been overlooked.

But her opponent Stacey Evans has a different strategy. She, too, says the party needs to dig deep into its base and reach out more to rural voters, but she’s also committed to converting disaffected moderate Republicans.

“I want to go into the suburbs of Georgia and talk to moderate voters about why progressive policies like restoring tuition-free technical college … will not just help individual families, but will help our economy,” she said during a debate on Georgia Public Broadcasting. “And I know that when we do that we will get votes.”

The Atlantic asks whether the Democratic party has a coherent message.

The race for the Democratic nomination will culminate on Tuesday, when Georgians head to the polls for the state primary. But in the meantime, it has been an illuminating vignette, exposing the larger questions facing the Democrats ahead of the midterms—distinct from the tensions between the Bernie and Hillary wings of the party, and different, even, from the question of who can more fairly identify as progressive. Should Democrats focus more on capturing white working-class voters who feel let down by Trump? Or should they mobilize black voters and rally the base?

A local Democratic strategist summed up the state of things this way: “The Democratic Party …” He took a long pause before letting out a dispirited sigh. “If you ask people what the Democratic Party stands for, they can’t tell you,” he said. “As soon as you get beyond anti-Trump, nobody seems to know.” The choice in Georgia is between two different playbooks: an ambitious-but-risky plan of action, versus a careful, more traditional one. More broadly, the Georgia race illustrates the challenges facing the Democrats not just in November, but also in 2020. This primary could help define the party and give it an identity it desperately needs.

But what if Democrats didn’t focus so much on reclaiming Trump voters? What if they dedicated their resources, instead, to reaching the millions who didn’t vote—and reaching them early? This is the question Stacey Abrams is asking.

The Associated Press writes about the Republican debate among the candidates for Governor.

Never mind cutting taxes, creating jobs and other pocketbook mainstays of past Republican campaigns. Amid fierce competition in the GOP primary race for Georgia governor, the five remaining candidates are battling it out over who loves guns the most, who would prove toughest on people in the country illegally and who would best support President Donald Trump.

The major candidates, a cadre of statewide officeholders, former lawmakers and businessmen, have similar policy goals on those issues but are locked in an increasingly noisy battle over each other’s records as they try to win over conservative voters.

Curt Yeomans of the Gwinnett Daily Post looks at what the primary elections could mean for Georgia’s future.

The result of this week’s primary election, as well as the general election in the fall, might be a barometer of sorts, telling more than just who will lead the state for the next four years, according to a Georgia State University professor who studies Georgia politics.

“What the governor’s race will tell us is the degree to which the demographics of the state are making a difference,” Associate Professor of Political Science Daniel P. Franklin said. “All of the conditions right now are favorable to the Democrats, well almost all of the conditions — the economy is good — but take away the economy, and you’ve got a relatively unpopular president in a midterm election.

“This will be a good indicator to state Republican leaders, and also to state Democratic leaders, of where they stand.”

“The Republican side is pretty standard fare in the sense that the Republican electorate in this state is very conservative,” Franklin said. “Anybody who hopes to get the Republican party’s nomination has to move fairly far to the right so it’s a fairly standard practice that Republican candidates for statewide try to outflank each other on the right, but then move back to the center for the general election.”

“The conventional wisdom is that the rougher the primary, the harder the time the candidate has in the general election,” Franklin said. “I suspect that the Democrats will have an easier time uniting than the Republicans will because (there won’t be a runoff) so they’ll have to spend less.”

The Statesboro Herald looks at the amount of turnover in Georgia’s top elected statewide offices.

The Macon Telegraph lists reasons for local voters to turnout tomorrow, including,

Transportation sales tax: A regional transportation sales tax, known as the T-SPLOST, will be on the ballot for voters in 11 Middle Georgia counties, including Houston, Macon-Bibb, Monroe, Jones, Crawford, Putnam, Twiggs, Peach, Baldwin, Wilkinson and Pulaski. Voters are being asked to vote yes or no on a 1-percent transportation sales tax projected to bring in $637 million over the next 10 years. The revenue would be used to fund various road projects across the region.

New faces, new challengers: Two state House races are wide open after veteran politicians Allen Peake and Bubber Epps decided not to run for their respective districts. There are seven candidates in the primary for Epps’ former District 144 seat while four Republicans are vying for the House District 141 seat that had been held by Peake for the past 12 years.

Early voting was up in Glynn County over the 2014 Primary elections, according to The Brunswick News.

More voters turned out for early voting in advance of the May 22 primary than 2014’s gubernatorial primary, according to Glynn County Board of Elections officials, with more than 3,500 voters casting their ballots as of 5 p.m. Friday.

Of the total, around 2,430 early voters cast Republican ballots, while roughly 1,070 cast Democratic ballots, according to Monica Couch, elections and registration supervisor.

This year’s turnout is also up from the 3,270 people who voted early in the May 2016 primary.

 

House Bill 217, signed by Gov. Deal, will increase the amount of tax credits available for some scholarship donations, according to The Brunswick News.

A new Georgia law will allow private schools like St. Simons Christians School to provide more scholarships to students.

House Bill 217, recently signed by Gov. Nathan Deal, has expanded a tax credit program for scholarships.

The law raised the cap on donations from $58 million to $100 million.

Through the program, taxpayers can pledge money — up to $1,000 for individuals, $2,500 for married couples and $10,000 for shareholders or owners of businesses — to designated private schools. The donors receive tax credits for the amount.

Savannah may consider using tolls to pay for maintenance on the Truman Parkway, which was built with SPLOST funds, according to the Savannah Morning News.

After construction began 20 years earlier, all five phases of the Truman Parkway were completed in 2013 using Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds approved by voters. Now city and county officials are contemplating new funding methods to cover the costs of maintaining the popular link between Savannah’s Southside and downtown.

City Manager Rob Hernandez has even suggested making the parkway a toll-funded roadway in recent correspondence to County Manager Lee Smith, although city spokesman Michelle Gavin said the idea was just “big picture brainstorming.”

Zeph Baker claims that his failure to file required campaign contribution disclosure reports is due to donors’ fears of retribution, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Columbus mayoral candidate Zeph Baker is the only contender out of six who has not filed a campaign disclosure report this year.

According to the Muscogee County Board of Elections and Registrations, he is now facing up to $1,375 in fines this year for missing deadlines to file either a disclosure of his contributions and expenditures, or an affidavit swearing his campaign does not intend to receive or spend at least $2,500 this year.

Baker said he won’t reveal his contributions because his supporters could be “bullied” were he to identify them in a public record.

“My disclosure is simple, and rather uneventful by most standards, but it does reveal the identity of my supporters, and while not a single one of my financial contributors asked me to remove them or conceal their identity, I felt a sense of responsibility to protect them from the senseless attacks as much as possible. The fine, which is assessed to candidates who fail to file timely, is not at all unusual.”

Gwinnett County Superior Court candidate Jason Park is leaving the District Attorney’s office, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

On Friday, Jason Park, one of five candidates vying for retiring Judge Tom Davis’ seat, confirmed to the Daily Post that his last day with the DA’s office would be June 8, though did not specify a reason for his departure.

But, earlier on Friday, Park’s opponent, John Burdges, called for Park to withdraw from the race, saying “allegations of abuse of power” had been made against his opponent. Burdges did not specify what the allegations were.

When asked about Park’s resignation, Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter confirmed that Park is still employed at the DA’s office — for now — but is on administrative leave for an “internal personnel matter” and will resign in three weeks. The county’s top prosecutor disputed Burdges’ allegations.

“I don’t know where the allegations of abuse of power are coming from,” Porter said. “I can definitively say that those allegations were not part of the (resignation) discussion, and while I can’t discuss details given it’s an ongoing matter, the statement ‘candidate for Gwinnett Superior Court judge Jason Park abruptly resigned last week … allegations of Park’s abuse of power are surfacing’ is not technically correct.”

Here’s the CBS 46 story that apparently kicked off the kerfuffle.

The Rome News-Tribune writes about the election for Floyd County Superior Court.

Early voting ended Friday with 2,574 ballots cast, according to Elections Supervisor Willie Green. All 25 precincts will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Rome attorneys Emily Matson and Kay Ann Wetherington are vying for the seat being vacated by Superior Court Chief Judge Tami Colston. Matson, in private practice, specializes in family and civil law. Wetherington is an assistant district attorney in Colston’s courtroom.

Ninety-six Floyd County voters asked for the nonpartisan ballot, according to Green, compared to 718 opting to vote in the Democratic primary and 1,760 picking the Republican ballot. Georgia is an open primary state, which means voters may choose either ballot without registering with a party.

While the GOP maintains a clear advantage locally, there’s been a shift since the last midterm primary that included statewide races.

In the 2014 primary, 81.6 percent of eligible Floyd Countians voted on the Republican ballot and 18.4 percent voted in the Democratic elections. This year’s early voting period saw 68.4 percent pick up a Republican ballot and 27.9 percent choose Democratic.

The RN-T also profiles Floyd County Superior Court candidates Emily Matson and Kay Ann Wetherington.

18
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 18, 2018

Hallie Greensboro

Hallie is a young female Doberman Pinscher and Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Circle of Friends Animal Society Inc. in Greensboro, GA.

Sweet Hallie spent over 2 months of her life in a shelter before she was finally rescued. Hallie is ready to enjoy her freedom in a new forever home. Hallie can be a little timid and laid back when first meeting you but warms up pretty quick. She is the sweetest little girl. And….so cute! She loves the attention from people and is always happy to see you. She loves playing with toys and she is good on a leash. She is very smart and has already learned lots of tricks.

Hallie is up to date on her vaccinations, spayed and micro chipped. She is about 6 months old.

Phoebe Greensboro

Phoebe is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Oconee Regional Humane Society in Greensboro, GA.

Phoebe is the daughter of a Labrador Retriever mix. We are surprised this one is not a Leo because she must be the star of the show. She loves being the center of attention! Phoebe’s toy of choice is any toy that squeaks!

Daisy Greensboro

Daisy is a young female Hound mix who is available for adoption from Oconee Regional Humane Society in Greensboro, GA.

Daisy was found alone after having puppies but her puppies were never found. This sweet and frightened little girl spent the next month in animal control until ORHS was asked to help. Daisy has only been with us a few short days, but she has won our hearts and she is very loved. She is still shy, but her tail now wags when she sees us and she loves when we sit and love on her. Daisy is a calm and quiet dog, good on leash and affectionate once she gets to know you. We think she’ll be a wonderful and loyal companion for someone who will make some time to earn her love and trust.

18
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 18, 2018

Button Gwinnett died on May 19, 1777 of a gunshot wound received in a duel with Lachlan McIntosh.

George Washington departed Waynesboro, Georgia on May 18, 1791, headed to Augusta. On May 19-20, 1791, George Washington spent his second and third days in Augusta, where he visited Richmond Academy. Washington left Georgia on May 21, 1791 to go to Columbia, South Carolina.

Georgia ratified the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which governs voting for President and Vice President on May 19, 1804.

Abraham Lincoln was nominated for President by the Republican National Convention on May 18, 1860.

The Battle of Spotsylvania ended on May 19, 1864. In Georgia, the Affair at Cassville occurred on May 19, 1864.

Blue jeans with copper rivets were patented by Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis on May 20, 1873.

The United States Supreme Court handed down its decision in Plessy v. Ferguson on May 18, 1896.

The U.S. Supreme Court rule[d] seven to one that a Louisiana law providing for “equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races” on its railroad cars is constitutional. The high court held that as long as equal accommodations were provided, segregation was not discrimination and thus did not deprive African Americans of equal protection under the law as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

On May 20, 1916, more than 20,000 visited Stone Mountain for the dedication ceremony to mark the beginning of a Confederate memorial on the north face.

On May 19, 1933, the Atlanta City Council voted to allow beer sales in the city.

On May 19, 1977, “Smokey and the Bandit” was released.

On May 20, 1995, the section of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House was closed to automotive traffic.

The 400th episode of The Simpsons aired on May 20, 2007.

President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at Morehouse College on May 19, 2013.

Three years ago on Saturday, Georgia voters went to the polls in the earliest Primary elections in modern history. In the Republican Primary, 605,355 ballots were cast in the Senate contest, while the Democratic Primary for Senate saw 328,710 ballots.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Statesboro Herald notes that today is the last day of early voting for Tuesday’s primary elections.

A few more than 1,600 Bulloch County residents have voted early for Tuesday’s election, and today, Friday May 18, is the last day for early voting, with two locations available.

Voting is possible Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the County Annex at 113 North Main St. and also in the Honey Bowen Building at the Fair Road Park. Both of these locations have been open all this week.

As of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, 1,633 Bulloch residents had voted early in the county and state Democratic and Republican primaries and nonpartisan general election, reported county Elections Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones. Of those, just 75 voters cast ballots last Saturday.

Meanwhile, in all 15 early voting days so far, 75 residents of Statesboro District 5 had participated in the city’s special election for a new council member in that district, and only two of those city voters came in Saturday, Jones said.

Traditional voting precincts across the county will be open for Election Day voting Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Suwanee will host “goat yoga” at Town Center Park on Sunday, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“Goats are perfect for the yoga practice because it’s not only combining nature and animals, it’s combining yoga, and they all go together so well,” said Lainey Morse, an Oregon farmer and yoga instructor who is attributed as the founder of the craze, which has swept the nation.

The event, a follow-up from an April 29 session, is offering three classes: two family goat yoga sessions and one 21-and-over goat yoga class.

Class times are 3, 4:30 and 6 p.m., respectively.

The class costs $35 and tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite by searching “Suwanee Goat Yoga.”

 The breakdown of Michael Williams campaign stunt deportation bus has proven a headline-writer’s dream.

Georgia GOP Candidate’s ‘Deportation Bus,’ Like His Campaign, Breaks Down – NYMag.com

Candidate for Georgia governor’s ‘deportation bus’ tour hits bumps in road – AJC and WSB

Georgia GOP candidate Michael Williams’ ‘deportation bus’ breaks down – USA Today

Cracker Barrel to Racist Republican: Get Your ‘Deportation Bus’ Off My Lawn – Daily Beast

Deportation bus tour cancels Athens stop, campaign blames DeKalb protests – 11Alive

Even better than the headline is this lede graph in the Gainesville Times.

In a political era chock full o’ nuts, this year’s governor’s race is going off the rails on a crazy train.

The lunacy rolled into town Wednesday, May 16, in what the Michael Williams gubernatorial campaign circus called “the Deportation Bus.”

With published polls showing Williams trailing the field in single digits, his bus ploy was little more than a hail-Mary pass to stir up interest days before the primary.

Two hot takes on what the GOP gubernatorial debate was all about:

Georgia GOP candidates battle over who’s strongest gun rights defender – Augusta Chronicle

Immigration Dominates Atlanta Press Club GOP Gubernatorial Debate – GPB News

Two more gubernatorial debates will air Sunday afternoon.

Offshore drilling opponents will protest on Tybee Island on Saturday, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Democrat Stacey Abrams campaigned for Governor in Dalton this week, according to the Dalton Daily News.

Abrams made her second visit to Miller Brothers Rib Shack on East Morris Street after a visit last year when she kicked off her campaign. Abrams, a former state representative and minority leader from Atlanta, is running against former state representative and Ringgold native Stacey Evans in the Democratic primary on Tuesday. They are seeking to be the first female governor in the history of the state, and Abrams would be the nation’s first female African-American governor if she is elected.

A recent 11Alive News (Atlanta) poll, conducted by Survey USA, had Abrams leading with 43 percent to Evans’ 24 percent, with 33 percent undecided.

“We are up in the polls and working hard, but we are not taking anything for granted,” Abrams said. “Why I love coming to places like Miller Brothers is because talking to real people is why I do this job. There are real problems that people have and they want a leader who has the experience and the knowledge to solve those problems.”

The Atlanta Jewish Times highlights Jewish candidates on Tuesday’s ballot.

The AJT this week published a voters’ guide collecting our in-depth looks at the two Democrats and five of the Republicans in the marquee race of 2018, the election of a new governor after Nathan Deal’s two terms, as well as three primary elections featuring Jewish candidates: the Democratic primary for the 6th Congressional District (Kevin Abel); the Democratic primary for the Public Service Commission (Lindy Miller); and the Republican primary for the 52nd Georgia House District (Gavi Shapiro).

While Miller is trying to make history as the first Jewish woman to win a partisan election for statewide office, she is not the only one this year. Fellow Democrat Cindy Zeldin, recognized as one of Georgia Trend magazine’s 40 Under 40 in 2010, is in a similar position while running for insurance commissioner.

In a nonpartisan election for an open seat on the Fulton County Superior Court, Bobby Wolf, a member of The Temple, is running against two fellow prosecutors, Fani Willis and Kevin Farmer.

Two-time congressional candidate Allan Levene is in a heads-up battle for an open seat in state House District 15. The resident of Cartersville and native of England is running against lifelong Cartersville resident Matthew Gambill, a nephew of former Gov. Joe Frank Harris’. No Democrat is running, so the winner of the Republican primary will be elected.

The two Jewish members of the legislature, Sen. Renee Unterman of Buford and Rep. Michele Henson of Stone Mountain, are both seeking re-election.

The Georgia House Rural Development Council continues working on economic development for rural parts of Georgia, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Fresh off a legislative session that yielded some wins for rural Georgia, state lawmakers are back dialing up a controversial broadband internet issue that stalled earlier this year.

The discussion centers on whether the state should impose limits on how all cities and counties manage access to the public right-of-way, where wireless providers are anxious to deploy an emerging small-cell technology in the state’s more populated areas.

Rep. Jay Powell, R-Camilla, who co-chairs the House Rural Development Council, said the group is charged with resolving the complicated matter in a resolution sponsored by Rep. John Meadows, who heads the powerful House Rules Committee.

The resolution surfaced late in the legislative session when it was clear a consensus had not been reached on how much control local officials should keep over the public right-of-way and how much wireless providers should have to pay to access it.

Powell said lawmakers took on the issue because of reports of “price gouging” in some parts of the state.

Two Macon-Bibb County Commissioners want to know why the county is broke, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Two Macon-Bibb County commissioners want an in-depth look into the county finances.

And that push for a forensic audit led to Mayor Robert Reichert and one of the commissioners trading verbal jabs at each other.

Commissioners Elaine Lucas and Joe Allen said Thursday they want an outside firm to do a forensic audit of the county’s finances, a lengthy and likely costly process that can determine how money is spent and if there is any fraud that’s led to the deficit.

Allen and Lucas said the county’s budget woes have lasted too long for there not to be a forensic audit. Not just for Macon-Bibb government but other local government entities such as well.

Three candidates for an open seat on the Macon-Bibb County Commission discussed saving taxpayer dollars, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The Augusta Chronicle interviewed Mayor Hardie Davis ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Besides choosing between Davis and challenger Gould Hagler as the city’s next mayor, voters Tuesday will get to weigh in on whether Regency or the existing James Brown Arena site is the best future location for a yet-unfunded arena in a non-binding referendum question. The topic has splintered the Augusta Commission and the community, which is seeing pro-downtown forces lobby against an unnamed ballot committee promoting the mall site.

Should voters reject Regency in the Tuesday straw poll, however, Davis said he will abandon the effort. “Mayor Davis is going to hold that flag up,” he said. “They’ve spoken loudly and we have to respect that.”

Davis touched on other topics in the interview, including what he’s done to unite the community and plans to further remove blighted structures from the city.

The Brunswick Times spoke to candidates for the Glynn County Joint Water & Sewer Commission.

The Ledger-Enquirer writes about donors to campaigns for Muscogee County Board of Education.

Four candidates reported contributions of five digits: At-large candidate and incumbent Kia Chambers ($18,489.11), District 8 candidate Philip Schley ($16,900), District 6 candidate and incumbent Mark Cantrell ($16,000), and District 2 candidate Bart Steed ($11,150).

White County Commissioners approved a revised split in funds from a SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) on the November ballot, according to AccessWDUN.

White County Government will take a 14-percent cut in funds if a proposed continuation of the current 1-cent sales tax is approved by voters in November.

During a called meeting Thursday, the White County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to approve a new SPLOST distribution rate that allots 60 percent of proceeds for the county and 20 percent each for the cities of Cleveland and Helen.

Commissioners Craig Bryant, Lyn Holcomb and Terry Goodger voted in favor of the new revenue split. Commissioner Edwin Nix and Chairman Travis Turner voted no.

Turner said the reduced funds for the county will affect the timing and the ability to fund upcoming projects. Both cities had been lobbying for an increase in their share of SPLOST money, from the current 13 percent.

In Floyd County, accountability court participants graduated from the program, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

[Floyd County Superior Court Judge Jack] Niedrach started the mental health court three years ago with the idea of diverting eligible offenders to treatment and rehabilitation instead of jail. They must be county residents, age 18 or older, he said, and diagnosed with a serious persistent mental illness. They also must be facing a sentence of at least 24 months, since the intensive program runs 18 to 24 months, and they must want to work at recovery.

During the ceremony in Niedrach’s courtroom filled with supporters, each of the six said they’re glad they tried.

Niedrach said the program is a joint effort by the judiciary, prosecution, defense, community service and law enforcement.

“And let me recognize the family members here today,” he added. “Your presence is so important.”

The guest speaker was Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee’s human resources committee. Niedrach called her “a strong advocate for the mentally ill,” and Dempsey’s congratulations to the graduates acknowledged their struggles and achievement.

Putnam County and Baldwin County are arguing over water usage under an intergovernment agreement, according to The Eaton Messenger.

A recent statement issued by the Putnam County Board of Commissioners suggests Baldwin County has for several years been using more than its allotted share of water without reimbursing Putnam County citizens.

In an effort to avoid a court battle over a possible breach in contract by Baldwin County officials, Putnam County commissioners issued a statement Feb. 20 asserting that its citizens had been disserviced by an intergovernmental agreement between the counties and Sinclair Water Authority and was offering a proposal for an amendment that would remove some of the controversial elements.

However, this would not be the first attempt by Putnam County representatives to resolve the issues PC Commission Chairman Dr. Steve Hersey told EPWSA board members, noting that for almost two years he and Putnam County’s attorney have tried to negotiate with Baldwin County for amendments to the IGA.

17
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 17, 2018

Scout Albany

Scout is a young female Hound and Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

Harley Albany

Harley is a young male Shepherd mix `puppy who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

Mac Albany

Mac is a male Labrador Retriever puppy who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

17
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 17, 2018

Georgia’s trustees asked Britain to repeal the law against importing slaves to the colonies on May 17, 1749.

On May 17, 1769, George Washington introduced resolutions in the Virginia House of Burgesses, drafted by George Mason, criticizing Britain’s “taxation without representation” policies toward the colonies.

George Washington continued his tour of Georgia on May 17, 1791, staying overnight in Waynesboro; on May 18 he arrived in Augusta.

General Winfield Scott issued an order on the removal of Cherokee people from Georgia on May 17, 1838.

On May 17, 1864, Sherman and Johnston engaged in the Battle of Adairsville, Georgia.

The United States Supreme Court released its unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education on May 17, 1954, overturning Plessy v. Ferguson.

The historic decision, which brought an end to federal tolerance of racial segregation, specifically dealt with Linda Brown, a young African American girl who had been denied admission to her local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, because of the color of her skin.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

 Governor Nathan Deal joined Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Joe Jarrard visiting soldiers who will serve in Afghanistan.

Gov. Nathan Deal and Major General Joe Jarrard, Adjutant General, Georgia Department of Defense, this week visited soldiers from the Georgia National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk in Louisiana. The 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team is training at JRTC in preparation of mobilizing to Afghanistan in December.

“The bravery and selflessness shown by the men and women of the Georgia Army National Guard represent the finest principles of our state and nation,” said Deal. “These individuals are always ready to put service above self to safeguard the lives and property of our state and its citizens, as well as the freedoms of those abroad.

“It was a true honor and privilege to visit with the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team as they prepare to mobilize to Afghanistan in December. From the commanders to the youngest members of the brigade, I’ve seen firsthand how tough and intelligent these extraordinary individuals are. I was deeply impressed by all of our Guardsmen, and they are well-prepared to complete their missions. As they prepare to mobilize and we await their safe return home, we take comfort in knowing our soldiers are mission-ready and prepared to face any adversary that poses a threat to our nation and people.”

The Associated Press writes about this week’s debate between Democratic candidates for Governor Stacey Evans and Stacey Abrams.

Former state Rep. Stacey Evans and former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, both Atlanta-area attorneys, took each other to task Tuesday evening over their respective legislative records and how they have affected the poor and middle class.

Evans continued to press Abrams over her record on HOPE scholarships, an issue that has been a centerpiece of Evans’, who attended college through HOPE, campaign.

Evans accused Abrams of “co-authoring cuts” to the scholarship program that lead to a reduction of those who qualified for it.

Abrams pushed back, saying that HOPE was “alive and well” and still available to families across the state that need it.

For her part, Abrams went after Evans for her legislative record on public education, saying that she supported “voucher” programs that provide state funded scholarships for private school tuition, taking resources from public schools.

Greg Bluestein of the AJC writes about the dynamic in the Democratic campaign for Governor.

It’s tricky electoral calculus for Evans, who is white. To win Tuesday’s primary, she’ll likely need an overwhelming majority of white voters along with a significant chunk of black support. Analysts say that might require getting between one-quarter and one-third of the African-American vote.

The politics is far different from the crowded Republican contest, which features five candidates who are appealing to an overwhelmingly white and conservative electorate by trying to outdo each other over gun rights expansions, border security proposals and illegal immigration crackdowns.

Both Abrams and Evans have steadily built their campaigns around mobilizing African-American voters since entering the race last year. And both boast a large retinue of local endorsements, though Abrams has captured far more support from national groups.

The Abrams campaign said in an internal memo that it expects black voters to make up at least 65 percent of the vote next week — and black women to make up roughly 45 percent of the total.

The Newnan Times-Herald interviewed State Senator David Shafer about his campaign for Lt. Governor.

Shafer’s reported past achievements are the focus of his current campaign to become Georgia’s next lieutenant governor.

“I wrote and led the effort concerning the state’s ‘zero tolerance’ based budgeting, so every dollar of government spending is justified,” Shafer said. “I sponsored an amendment to cap the state’s income tax. Georgia is the only state that has enshrined that it will remain a low tax state.

“People should be for me because I have a 16 year record of fighting for conservatives,” Shafer continued. “I’m working on platform of actual accomplishments, not empty promises.”

If elected, Shafer said he intends to continue fighting for a low tax environment that will attract businesses and jobs, fix the state’s infrastructure which includes roads and waterways and enhance Georgia’s education system.

“The truth is, we have job shortages in many skilled areas. We need to allow more people to enter trade schools, too. So it’s not all about attracting jobs, but making sure our citizens are skilled and ready to fill jobs that are already available,” Shafer said.

Republican Congressman Doug Collins (Gainesville) spoke about law enforcement during National Peace Officer Week.

“To think about those who serve us on that thin blue line,” Collins said. “We also think about the ones who get up every day and do the work. We see them, we talk about them, we hear about them on the news. We do not always know their names or see their faces, but we see what they do and we appreciate what they do.”

Collins went on to say it is a time to remember those who have lost their lives.

“Every year we lose our police officers, we lose those in law enforcement to sometimes tragic accidents, but many times to murder and other things because they put themselves in danger,” Collins said.

Rome officials want to reuse the vacant 132-acre Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital site, but the gubernatorial election may affect their plans, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

It’s an important issue for the community, Sen. Chuck Hufstetler acknowledged. But he and the rest of the legislative delegation — which includes Republican Reps. Katie Dempsey of Rome, Eddie Lumsden of Armuchee and Christian Coomer of Cartersville — had no immediate solution to the impasse with the state.

“The next administration will have to tackle that,” Hufstetler said. “When you spend more money maintaining a building than you could have sold it for … we need to change the rules.”

The state has been paying about $1 million a year to keep up the shuttered buildings and grounds. An appraisal put the value between $6 million and $10 million, and Hufstetler noted that Rome was offered the lowest price. But there’s also about $3.5 million in debt attached to the property, from bonds issued to make improvements before the facility was closed.

Dempsey said a state agency could take over the property, but it can’t be transferred to an outside entity until the bond debt is paid in full.

Curt Yeomans of the Gwinnett Daily Post writes about challengers to Gwinnett’s Congressional delegation.

Woodall, R-Ga., is running for re-election for his 7th Congressional District seat, but he’s facing opposition from both sides of the political aisle in a race that national Democrats have pegged as one of their targets in this year’s elections.

There are six Democrats — Kathleen Allen, Carolyn Bourdeaux, Melissa Davis, David Kim, Ethan Pham and Steve Reilly — but Woodall has to first survive a challenge from former Marine Shane Hazel in the Republican primary before he can turn his attention to a fall race.

Elsewhere, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., is being challenged by fellow Democrat Juan Parks in the 4th Congressional District’s Democratic Primary, with the winner facing Republican Joe Profit in the fall.

Over in the 10th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., is facing Joe Hunt and Bradley Griffin in the Republican primary, with the winner of that contest facing the winner of the Democratic primary race between Chalis Montgomery, Richard Dien Winfield and Tabitha A. Johnson-Green in the fall.

Tamar Hallarman with the AJC also writes about challenges to incumbent Members of Congress.

Seven candidates, including six Democrats, have lined up to challenge Woodall in the 7th, based in Gwinnett and Forsyth County. And next door in the 6th, four Democrats — all first-time candidates — are angling for the chance to take on U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, R-Roswell, who won last year’s record-breaking special election.

But despite the groundswell of energy on the left that has helped make battlegrounds out of suburban districts such as Atlanta’s, the benefits of incumbency, including districts drawn to favor one party, mean that few if any of the state’s congressmen are expected to lose their seats.

Incumbents “have a money advantage, they have in a lot of cases a big organizational advantage,” said Kerwin Swint, a Kennesaw State University political scientist. “Georgia’s moderate voters and independent voters are still voting Republican. I don’t see them switching in big numbers quite yet.”

In the 7th District, three candidates have emerged as the most financially competitive. Georgia State University professor Carolyn Bourdeaux has bested the field — including Woodall — in fundraising so far this year. Meanwhile, businessman David Kim and lawyer Ethan Pham have shown they are willing to loan their campaigns big money to buoy their efforts.

Glynn County Commission District 3 candidates spoke to The Brunswick News.

The Statesboro Herald has separate articles on Republican State Rep. Jan Tankersley (R-Brooklet) and her Republican primary opponent, Robert Busbee (Statesboro).

The Dalton Daily Citizen has video interviews with incumbent Republican State Senator Chuck Payne (Dalton) and his Republican primary opponent, Scott Tidwell (Resaca).

Twenty candidates for local office will meet voters at a forum tonight hosted by the Macon-Middle Georgia Council of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

The Lowndes County Board of Education approved spending more than $400,000 on 2000 Chromebook laptops.

Columbus is one of 43 cities nationwide, and the only one in Georgia, to receive the Bike Friendly Business platinum designation fromthe League of American Bicyclists.

Georgia Southern University President Jaimie Heber announced he will retire from his position over the summer.

Two Chatham County Sheriff’s Deputies have resigned after separate incidents of fighting with inmates, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Coastal Living website named Tybee Island as one of the eleven U.S. beaches to visit this summer.