Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 16, 2012


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 16, 2012

Andy is a 1-year old, 12-pound Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix who will be available for adoption from Walton County Animal Services beginning Saturday at 7:30 AM


Wesley (black male) and Sapphire (brown female) are 3-month old puppies weighing 12-13 pounds each, who were found abandoned in a vacant lot. They’ve both been vaccinated and dewormed and are available for adoption from Walton County.

Bandit is a 3-4 month old, 15 pound puppy who likes nothing better than riding around in the passenger seat of your Trans-Am, dodging the law. The male lab mix is available for adoption today from Walton County Animal Services. He was featured on Tuesday also, but this picture of him is too good to pass up.

Angels Among Us, an excellent and reputable dog and cat rescue group in Metro Atlanta, is in the Shelter Challenge to win some money to help more dogs and cats. Click here to vote for them or your other favorite animal rescue agency.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Candidates in runoff elections must now start submitting two-business day reports for any contributions received of $1000 or more.

Click Here

The City of Brookhaven has a gaggle of candidates for its inaugural elections in November, and State Rep. Mike Jacobs, who sponsored the bill in the State House has beaten three of them in previous elections. J. Max Davis, who will be Brookhaven’s first Mayor, ran against Jacobs as a Republican in 2002, when Jacobs ran as a Democrat. Sandy Murray, the first person to lose an election for Mayor of Brookhaven was the Democratic nominee against now-Republican Jacobs in 2010 and had signed up to run against him again this year. Finally, Michelle Conlon, who qualified for City Council District 1, ran as an Independent against Republican Jacobs in 2008.

In related news, Jacobs is now unopposed after Democrat Sandy Murray withdrew from the race for State House District 80 and the Democratic Party of Georgia failed to nominate a candidate.

We mentioned the other day that a poll by a company we’ve never heard of showed Martha Zoller leading by 43-39 over State Rep. Doug Collins in the Republican Primary Runoff for the Ninth Congressional District.

Sand Mountain Communications, parent company of, ran a survey last night in the Ninth District and found Zoller leading by 44-42 well within the margin of error, which is +/- 4.37 points. That’s a 500 sample of voters from the July 31st Republican Primary. We’re going to roll up a larger sample over the next few days and be back with a prediction on Monday.

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, that race is pretty close:

 much of the campaign has focused on who is more conservative and whether political experience is a disadvantage when it comes to being in Congress.

Collins says his six-year voting record in the General Assembly proves he is a conservative, a point he emphasized during a recent forum held by the Lanier Tea Party Patriots.

“This is what we can do because we’ve already done it, is taking north Georgia values and putting them in Washington,” he said.

Zoller’s pitch comes from her talk-radio roots.

“I want to be your conservative firebrand voice in Congress,” she said. “It is great to be here and be part of the exciting thing that happened in that primary — almost 60 percent of the people voted against the status quo.”

If you’re not getting enough of the CD9 race, here’s another article where the candidates spew accusations at each other. Finally, Ashley Fielding of the Gainesville Times, one of my favorite writers about Georgia politics, has another take on the race that makes for good reading.

Cobb County voters can vote in person at the county elections board, or at four satellite locations today or tomorrow from 8 AM to 5 PM. This appears to be the most extensive advance voting network in Georgia. In contract, Gwinnett County voters have only the Elections Board location at 455 Grayson Highway, Suite 200, Lawrenceville. Cobb County deserves some recognition for this.

If poetry is any measure, the runoff election in State House District 1 is downright civil.

There was no verbal sparring Tuesday night at a debate between Alan Painter and John Deffenbaugh, the two Republican candidates in the Aug. 21 runoff for Georgia House District 1.

Instead, there was poetry.

Introducing himself to an audience of some 40 people at the Rossville Civic Center, Deffenbaugh stressed the importance of building relationships and recited a poem by Edwin Markham to make his point.

“He drew a circle that shut me out/Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout/But Love and I had the wit to win/We drew a circle that took him in,” Deffenbaugh said. “That’s going to be my motto and my purpose.”

Painter cited job creation as his top priority.

“The reason I chose to step up is the young people my son’s age do not have the same opportunities that I did at his age — early 20s,” he said.

The candidates for Hall County Tax Commissioner are also trading slaps in the runoff election.

“My opponent calls (the tax commissioner’s office) just a collections department and it’s not just (that),” said [Darla] Eden, a CPA and former finance director and auditor for Hall County. “It’s a big-time money and human resource management office. If it were just a collections office, we would outsource it.”

[Kent] Henderson said, “Do you want someone who has run a business, managed people, met a payroll and worked for themselves most of their adult life or someone who’s a CPA and basically has worked for someone else? … If (tax commissioner) was a CPA job, I wouldn’t be running for it.”

Also nasty? Hall County Sheriff runoff.

Gerald Couch, a candidate for Hall County sheriff, said he would “raise the bar” and implement a physical fitness program for sheriff’s deputies.

“We need to bring our standards up, not keep them low where they have been,” Couch said.

The statement was a direct dig at his opponent, Jeff Strickland, who as the agency’s former chief deputy ran the day-to-day operations of the department until his retirement last fall.

Strickland had ammunition of his own, comparing Couch’s former leadership positions to his own position as chief deputy.

“In contrast,” Strickland said, “Gerald was just a supervisor, a sergeant and a lieutenant.”

Strickland also alleged that Couch would scale back the 287(g) partnership the agency has with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, citing a statement Couch made earlier in the campaign that “he felt like people that were fishing without a license didn’t need to be deported.”

“I hope he understands you don’t get deported for fishing without a license,” Strickland said. “You’re deported for being in this country illegally.”

Couch, in a short closing statement, fired back at Strickland, noting the number of officers who have been fired or arrested in the period Strickland led the department.

Couch preached a message of change, saying “the idea of management through fear and intimidation, that’s what I’m against.”

Finally for Hall County runoffs, Eugene Moon, who lost the Republican Primary for County Commission District 2against incumbent Billy Powell, is suing the county, claiming the election was administered so poorly as to call the results into question.

The suit includes sworn statements from four voters who say they believe the wrong district lines were used. One voter who said he is a Gillsville resident said he voted in the District 4 primary.

Moon, represented by attorney Dan Summer, is asking the court to “find that this election is so defective” and call for a second vote.

Alternatively, Moon has asked that the court require Sosebee to present a map that shows which voters cast ballots for each district. Moon wants Sosebee to submit the map and the coinciding racial demographics to the U.S. Department of Justice for clearance.

State elections officials have been investigating at least one incident since July 27 in which a voter received the wrong ballot.

A spokesman for Secretary of State Brian Kemp has said little about the pending investigation, but has denied that the problem was caused at the state level.

“Any voting procedure abnormalities in Hall County would absolutely not be an issue caused by the Secretary of State’s Office,” spokesman Jared Thomas said in an email.

Today in Gainesville, Governor Mike Huckabee will join Governor Nathan Deal and Mrs. Deal at a fundraiser for the Romney-Ryan Presidential ticket. Here is the full invitation. To RSVP, please contact Dabney Hollis at (404) 791-7179 or, or Stephanie Jones at (404) 849-7211 or

State School Superintendent John Barge has come out with his opposition to the Charter School Amendment, which represents a reversal of his position during his election. State Rep. Ed Lindsey (R-Fulton) is not amused.

If you were in court on cross examination the people of Georgia might enjoy watching you answer one of my favorite questions when someone impeaches themselves by testifying two entirely different ways to the same question: “were you lying then or are you lying now?”

But we am not in court. Therefore, let me simply say that as one public official to another that the most important attribute one person can have is personal trust in the public arena. You have squandered that today – as well as selling out the children of Georgia who need a State School Superintendent who does more than simply cower before the entrenched forces of the status quo.

Elections officials in Gray, Georgia have been accused of misconduct in the 2009 elections, and the case has been referred to the Attorney General’s office.

The Georgia Secretary of State has referred the case against three Gray City Council members and other city employees for alleged election misconduct to the State Attorney General for further investigation, and possible prosecution.

The case summary outlines allegations against the defendants which center on absentee ballot processes and unlawful assistance during the November 3, 2009 Municipal Election and Run-Off. The allegations are focused on Mayor Pro-Tem Loretta Lipsey, former Councilwoman Evelyn Collins, and Councilman Benny Gray. Rallie “Rooster” Cogburn, Lipsey’s opponent in the race, along with Amy Smith and Rebecca Cogburn are the complainants in the case.

The Fayetee County Elections Board heard a complaint alleging that Fayette GOP Chair Lane Watts did not live at the address at which he was registered to vote.

Two of the three-person board heard from three witnesses whose testimony indicated that Watts did not reside at the Peachtree City residence during portions of 2011 and 2012 even though the address was listed as his residence on his voter registration paperwork.

The board will render a decision in 5-10 days.

Attorney Richard Hobbs maintained that Watts did not reside at the Gelding Garth Lane address even though Watts’ voter registration paperwork indicated that he did. If Hobbs is correct, Watts could be in violation of Georgia voter registration laws.

From his perspective, Watts’ attorney John Sparks summed up the ongoing controversy as one that has some in the local Republican Party insisting that Watts is not qualified to serve as chairman of the organization.

“It boils down to the internal spat of a private club trying to remove their chairman. And I think that’s not the job of this board,” Sparks said. “If Mr. Hobbs has evidence (of wrongdoing) he should go to the (district attorney). He is trying to get you to do what he’s unwilling to do.”

Direct mail attacking Troup County Sheriff candidate James Woodruff apparently contains false information.

The flier, sponsored by “Troup Mothers for a Safe Community,” points to a 2009 investigation of Woodruff by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council after he was fired by Troup County Sheriff Donny Turner that year.

“The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council revoked sheriff candidate James Woodruff’s law enforcement certification,” the flier says.

That never happened.

“The agency that governs law enforcement says he cannot be in law enforcement,” the flier says. It directs readers to the website, for more information on Woodruff’s case, even though one has to be a registered law enforcement officer to use the site.

“The flier came to my attention this morning,” Woodruff said Tuesday. “It’s totally untrue. My certification was never revoked. It’s sad that people make these untrue allegations with a week to go in the election.”

Direct mail also became an issue in the runoff election between Emily Brantley and Pam Britt for Gwinnett County Superior Court at last night’s Gwinnett GOP runoff forum.

The biggest fight occurred between State Court candidates Emily Brantley and Pam Britt, when Britt blasted her opponent for a recent mailer calling her a “liberal Democrat.”

Brantley pointed out that Britt voted in the 2008 Democratic presidential preference primary and printed a picture of Britt at a Democratic party event.

“I thought the voters had a right to know,” she said, adding that a major complaint from constituents is that politicians lie during campaigns. “I did set the record straight.”

At the GOP event, though, Britt called herself a conservative, said she has voted Republican in six of the past seven primaries and only attended a Democrat event to campaign in the nonpartisan race.

“I’ve made a point to reach out to all the people,” she said. “That is why it is a nonpartisan race, because judges represent all the people in the community.”

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