Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 9, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 9, 2014

“The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government.”

Thomas Paine

The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms, like law, discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. And while a single nation refuses to lay them down, it is proper that all should keep them up. Horrid mischief would ensue were one-half the world deprived of the use of them; for while avarice and ambition have a place in the heart of man, the weak will become a prey to the strong. The history of every age and nation establishes these truths, and facts need but little arguments when they prove themselves.

- Thomas Paine, “Thoughts on Defensive War.”

On January 9, 1776, Thomas Paine published a pamphlet titled “Common Sense” and laid out his arguments for American Independence. I would argue that blogs are today’s versions of the printed pamphlets that played a critical role in the movement for American Independence.

On January 9, 1784, John Houstoun (pronounced House-ton) was inaugurated for his second term as Governor of Georgia and was the first Governor who was born in Georgia.

On January 9, 1786, Edward Telfair became Governor, having served in the state’s Common House of Assembly, the Continental Congress, and a signer of the Articles of Confederation.

On January 9, 1787, George Matthews was inaugurated as Governor and would go on to infamy as the signer of the Yazoo Land Act. After a story about the Yazoo Fraud earlier this week, I received an email from a descendant of Matthews who said that her family is in possession of the vest he wore in his inauguration. A blurry photo accompanied the email, and I may have a chance to photograph the vest sometime in the near future. It’s a fascinating piece of Georgia History that remains in private hands.

On January 9, 1904, Confederate General John B. Gordon died; his statue commands a corner of the lawn at the Georgia Capitol today. Gordon was elected Governor of Georgia in 1886.

On January 9, 1951, Herman Talmadge was inaugurated to his second term as Governor of Georgia. In 1956, Talmadge was elected to the United States Senate, where he would serve four terms.

Today in 1959, a United States District Court Judge declared regulations segregating Atlanta buses to be unconstitutional. On the same day two years later, Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter arrived in Athens to register for UGA under a federal court order desegregating the University. Today in 1967, the Georgia House of Representatives seated Julian Bond, having earlier denied him his seat in the body due to statements he made against the war in Vietnam.

Modern Georgia Politics

One story told by the election results in House District 22 is that one vote counts. The election is headed to a recount, as the margin between second-place finisher Meagan Biello and third-place Jeff Duncan is two votes.

Who will face top vote-getter Sam Moore in the Feb. 4 runoff for Georgia House District 22 may not be decided until next week, as Cherokee and Forsyth counties wait on Fulton County to certify election results, so that all counties’ results can be made official by the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

Moore was the top vote-getter among four Republicans vying for the seat of the late state Rep. Calvin Hill in a Jan. 7 special election.  However, the second- and third-place vote getters are neck-and-neck. According to unofficial results, Meagan Biello beat Jeff Duncan by two votes.

Duncan said Jan. 8 he plans to ask for a recount.

Cherokee County Elections Superintendent Janet Munda said provisional votes must first be accounted for and vote totals certified before a recount can be held, and Fulton County is not expected to have its totals from the three North Fulton precincts certified until the weekend, Munda said. The election will go to a runoff on Feb. 4 because no candidate had a majority of 50 percent plus one of votes cast.

“Fulton County had three provisional votes,” she noted. She said she currently is seeking guidance from Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office on how to proceed if there turns out to be a tie for second place.

The election also illustrates the pitched battle between “Liberty” Republicans, whose approach to traditional social conservatism varies from disdain to preferring to downplay the importance of issues like abortion, and Georgia’s socially-conservative Republican political establishment.

Sam Moore, who came in first in the House District 22 election represents the growing “Liberty” movement within the GOP, garnering contributions and support from like-minded Republicans and libertarians across the state. He also was able to split the social conservative vote, as three candidates appealed to that base.

Candidates Nate Cochran and Jeff Duncan (fourth and third place respectively) were both endorsed by Georgia Right to Life PAC, a cornerstone of social conservatism in the state. Meagan Biello, second-place finisher, has not received that endorsement, but states on her website that she is pro-life. From the issues page:

The Right To Life
I believe that life begins at conception. I believe that it is the duty of the government to protect all life, no matter how young. I would support efforts to increase awareness about alternatives to abortion for those in need.

House District 2 will also host a runoff election on February 4, 2014, between Neal Florence, a pharmacist who is receiving support from his colleagues across the state, and former Chickamauga City Council member Steve Tarvin. From the Dalton Daily Citizen:

“We had a lot of people working hard for us,” said Tarvin, a businessman and former Chickamauga City Council member and school board member. “We are excited by the results and looking forward to campaigning in the runoff. We were running against two very good candidates, and we are very pleased we ended up on top.”
Florence, a pharmacist and former mayor of LaFayette, also thanked his supporters.
“I appreciate the support I have gotten. I have a bunch of friends who have done a lot of work as far as putting up signs, making phone calls and talking to their friends. I really appreciate that, and I’m looking forward to the runoff campaign,” he said.
The Secretary of State’s website reported 9.11 percent of eligible registered voters turned out for the election, but both Tarvin and Florence said that was actually higher than they expected given the weather and the fact that two major holidays fell during the campaign.

While normally turnout drops for a runoff, Florence said he hopes that it won’t fall too much this time.
“These people have shown they care about the race, and I think they’ll come out for the runoff,” he said.

Now that’s a warchest

Governor Nathan Deal raised more than $4 million in the last six months, ending the year with $4.1 million cash on hand.

The governor’s raised 94 percent of that sum from Georgia residents in at least 122 of the state’s 159 counties. Nearly 3,000 donors contributed to the campaign. He’s hit the fundraising circuit hard as Carter and the two Republicans – Dalton Mayor David Pennington and state School Superintendent John Barge – launched challenges.

Deal, like Carter, will be barred from raising funds during the legislative session that starts Monday. Both are trying to add to their accounts in the frenzied days before the session’s start.

Tom Willis, Deal’s campaign manager, said the report “reflects Georgians’ trust in Deal’s leadership and his conservative vision. They are confident he is leading our state in the right direction and will stay the course.”

Congressman Jack Kingston raised more than $880k for his Senate campaign in the most recent quarter and ended 2013 with $3.4 million in the bank.

Young Republicans on the move

The Georgia Federation of Young Republicans has added four new clubs to its rolls. Henry County, Gwinnett County, Rockdale County and the South Georgia YRs chartered with the Georgia Young Republicans bringing the total number of clubs to fourteen with over 550 members. If you’re interested in starting a club, contact Meagan Hanson, state chair, via email at

Pro notes

Tony Fabrizio has a new polling firm with David Lee as his business partner, called Fabrizio, Lee & Associates. As Fabrizio McLaughlin, the firm polled for many high-dollar Georgia Republicans. John and Jim McLaughlin, former partners with Fabrizio, have their own firm, McLaughlin & Associates, which has polled for Governor Nathan Deal and currently polls for Jack Kingston.

Joint Town Hall Saturday in Cherokee

Senator Bruce Thompson and State Rep. Scot Turner will hold a joint Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, January 11, 2014 at the Bridgemill Fire Station in Canton, located at 9550 Bells Ferry Road, Canton, GA 30114, to discuss the upcoming 2014 legislative session.

Governor Deal this weekend

Governor Deal will be a special guest speaker at the Jackson County Republican Party meeting in Jefferson, Georgia on Saturday. The meeting is at the Jefferson Civic Center from 8 to 9:30 AM. State Representatives Regina Quick and Tommy Benton will also be addressing the meeting.

Afterwards, Gov. Deal will appear at a meet and greet at the Community House in Cornelia, Georgia.

Fulton County Legislative Breakfast Saturday

One of the best events of the year will also be Saturday in North Fulton County on Saturday, as the Fulton GOP holds their annual Breakfast with the Fulton Republican Delegation. We’ve attended the last few years, and it’s a great way to hear about what legislators expect from the coming session.

Fulton County GOP: N. Fulton Breakfast with Fulton GOP Delegation

January 11, 2014, 8:30 AM - 10:15 AM
Country Club of Roswell, 2500 Club Springs Drive Roswell , GA 30076

Join your entire Fulton County Legislative Delegation to set the stage for the 2014 Georgia General Assembly session preview. Last year, this breakfast sold out. Make your reservations today! North Fulton Breakfast (404) 585 3138

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Rabun County GOP: Meeting with Senator John Wilkinson

January 11, 2014, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Kingwood Resort, 401 Country Club Drive Clayton, 30525

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Guest Speaker: Sen. John Wilkinson

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Hall County GOP: Conservative Forum

January 11, 2014, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Denny’s Restaurant, 1701 Browns Bridge Road Gainesville , GA 30501

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Our first Conservative Forum for 2014 will be held this Saturday. County Commission Chairman Dick Mecum will deliver our annual State of the County address.

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Camden County GOP: Breakfast with Rep. Jeff Chapman

January 11, 2014, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Grits-N-Bits, 101 Industrial Drive St. Mary’s , GA 31558 United States

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Speaker: State Representative & Congressional Candidate Jeff Chapman. Contact Jeremy Spencer for details @ or 912.409.0286

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