Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for August 5, 2013

5
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for August 5, 2013

Over the weekend, Public Policy Polling was in the field with a poll about the 2014 Georgia Senate election. They wrote:

For the Senate race we’ll do Michelle Nunn against Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, Karen Handel, Jack Kingston, and David Perdue. Any other match ups we need to test?

So I decided to poll those questions as well. We’re not ready to release numbers yet, because we’re testing a couple the effects of changing a couple of the parameters of the survey, but we’ll release information in the next couple of days.

I don’t think there’s a whole lot to learn about specific matchups, as the election is next year, but here’s what we can learn. First, what is the strength of an unknown Democrat against a field of somewhat unknown (except in their own districts) Republicans. That will give us an idea of the floors each respective party has. Second, we may learn a little bit about how the gender of the GOP nominee affects the equation if the Democrats nominate a female candidate, though Karen Handel, the lone announced Republican candidate has both strengths and baggage of her own that may complicate the question.

PPP is widely-regarded as a Democratic-leaning firm and a February 2013 poll showed a competitive Senate race. I believe personally that their February poll showed Democratic support about 5 points higher than actually exists in the Georgia electorate.

For the 2012 Presidential Election, PPP accurately predicted 9 battleground states and three others, though their “accurate” call in North Carolina showed a statistical dead heat while Romney carried the state 50.6% to 48.4 for President Obama and 1% for the Libertarian. Noteworthy was their calling Florida for Obama, where he won by nine-tenths of a percentage point. It is worth noting that PPP uses robo-polling.

Victor Hill trial starts today

Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill can wear his badge in court today, as jury selection begins for his trial on 28 counts relating to campaigning and administration of the Sheriff’s Office, but he will not be allowed to pack heat or wear his uniform. No word on whether a lift kit for his boots is allowed.

Also not allowed during the trial: robocalls featuring Hill’s voice.

Other Election News

The Cobb County Board of Elections meets today at 4 PM to consider, among other items, reducing by two the number of precincts in this November’s City of Kennesaw elections.

Savannah is redrawing City Council districts, and the perpetual question arises whether any given area is better served by being represented by a single member, or by multiple members.

Cognitive Dissonance

WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather

Westboro Baptist Church had planned a protest at the funeral of Sergeant Stefan Smith in Ludowici yesterday. The word went out through a variety of online forums, asking sane people to help prevent them from disturbing the memorial service held for Sgt. Smith and his family.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnDX5tx4RtI

WTOC-TV covered the memorial service:

Family and friends from Glennville and all over the region gathered together at A New Beginning Church in Ludowici to say their final farewells to Sgt. Stefan Smith, a man known as a hero, patriot, and a great officer.

It was a somber day as hundreds of Patriot Guard riders came from across the country to pay their respects and give support to the family of a fallen solider who meant so much to this community.

“This is a just a way of showing support to the family, this man have everything he could for our country. This is the least we can do for them to show them that they are not alone. We are standing with them as soldiers we are here as a show of support.” said David Shreckengost, Patriot Guard Riders.

Around 400 riders traveled from Florida, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia to remember Sgt. Smith.

“It’s easy when the country calls to go the other direction but it takes true courage to stand for the men and women of the United States, of Georgia and we need to recognize that courage. There is a price to pay for our freedom and Sgt. Smith paid that price.” said Rob Butler.

In 2008, Smith moved to Glennville to become a police officer with his brother. After a year of service, both of them decided to leave law enforcement and move to Long County, to follow in their father’s footsteps and join the Army.

Smith was one of the three soldiers that died July 23, in Soltan Kheyl, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. They were assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.

Rumor has it that WBC never made it to the ceremony because law enforcement was particularly active running enforcement at county lines.

Douglas County officials have seen a significant decrease in the number of property tax appeals, with roughly 3200 this year, down 50% from the 2011 number of 4800.

Dunwoody seems to be struggling to reconcile its desire to keep low taxes with its desire to have the best of everything.

[T]hey might take it into their heads that perhaps someday the city may want to have its own fire department instead of continuing to contract with DeKalb.

And to pay for that, you’d have to crash right through that sacred 3.04 millage barrier. Which would be no problem, as long as the citizens voted to do it.

But elections cost money, and they take time (this is the politicians thinking, now). So maybe it would be better to amend the charter to say that, just for the purposes of fire protection, the council could decide to exceed the cap — as long as the increase was no more than folks were already paying the county.

And that’s how five perfectly harmless looking, middle-aged people, considering that very idea, found themselves excoriated Wednesday night as arrogant liars and minions of all that is unholy.

In the face of withering opposition, they did what the redcoats should probably have done: They beat a hasty retreat, laying down proclamations of pure intent and volleys of legal-ese as covering fire.

Jekyll Island developers are the beneficiaries of $15 million in Department of Agriculture loan guarantees to build the Westin Jekyll Island.

Obamacare threatens not only the pocketbooks of Georgians who face up to 198% premium increases, but also causes problems for businesses that employ people, and those employees whose decisions can be driven by the cost of President Obama’s free healthcare.

Employers far and wide have criticized the ACA. They say health coverage shouldn’t be government-mandated and add that the requirement that businesses offer it will have unintended negative consequences.

For Brock, the ACA will limit her hiring and cause her to put off the big plans she had to open a second office in Savannah, her hometown, she said.

It will, she said, “stop us from growing.”

She is angry because Congress and the White House “put something into law without knowing what it was or how it would affect the big picture.”

The ACA, Brock said, “is stopping companies from growing. They made an assumption that all businesses over 50 employees could afford to offer health care, and that’s just not true.”

The Gainesville Times has an interesting article about how changes in other taxes affect SPLOST collections, and how cash-flow from SPLOST can make a difference in education planning at the local level.

Flowery Branch City Council is considering whether to pay its members a $50 per meeting per diem.

This weekend somebody messaged me over Facebook asking if I support Michelle Nunn for Senate. The answer is No. I support Republicans in contested elections. If you see on Facebook that I’ve “liked” a politician, don’t read anything into it. Sometimes, it’s worth keepin an eye on what the other side is doing and that reasoning extends to contested primaries as well.

Agriculture

Agriculture is Georgia’s largest industries, and among our largest economic drivers is poultry, which employs thousands of Georgians from farm to the export containers at the Port of Savannah. GrowingGeorgia.com brings us news that should help the state economy.

American chicken producers won a major battle against China last week, as the World Trade Organization sided with the United States in a case that argued China unfairly spiked import fees on broiler products and hurt sales there.

Broiler exports to China fell 80 percent after the Asian country increased import duties, an act that was unjustified under international trade rules, according to the WTO. A dispute settlement panel agreed with the United States, finding that China violated numerous WTO obligations in conducting its investigations and imposing anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties on chicken imports from the United States.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-9) will hold an agriculture tour in his district over the coming weeks.

“Our agricultural community is the economic heartbeat of Northeast Georgia,” Collins said in a news release. “It’s important for me to truly understand the needs of our farmers to make sure I am representing their best interests in Congress. For the first time in a long time, the House passed a true farm bill that deals with the real needs of the agricultural sector of our economy. I am excited to get out into these communities and hear from folks on what they like about the bill and what they don’t like as much.”

The tour begins at 9:30 a.m. Thursday with a visit to Jaemor Farms’ grand opening event at its new store in Banks Crossing at 40081 U.S. 441 in Commerce.

Later Thursday, Collins will serve as keynote speaker at the Georgia Farm Bureau Tailgate from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at London Farm, 316 Vernon London Road in Cleveland.

It’s National Farmers Market Week through Saturday; since 1990, the number of farmers markets has increased by 700 percent.

Higher than usual rainfall delayed the opening of Georgia’s watermelon harvest, driving prices higher in the early part of the season.

Americans for Prosperity in Orlando this month

Defending the American DreamThere’s still time to register for the Americans for Prosperity Defending the Dream Summit the last weekend this month in Orlando. There is also a Bus package that includes transportation to and from Orlando.

Featured speakers will include Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio, Governor Rick Perry and Governor Bobby Jindal.

The same weekend will also feature AFP’s RightOnline conference for right-of-center and Libery-oriented bloggers and social media gurus.

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