Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for February 3, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for February 3, 2014

Today in Georgia History

Happy birthday to Congressman Tom Graves.

On February 3, 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, prohibiting racial discrimination in voting.

On February 3, 1887, Congress adopted the Electoral Count Act to clarify how Congress was to count electoral votes.

Electoral vote counting is the oldest activity of the national government and among the oldest questions of constitutional law. It was Congress’s first task when a quorum appeared in the nation’s new legislature on April 6, 1789. It has happened every four years since then. Yet, electoral vote counting remains one of the least understood aspects of our constitutional order.

The Electoral Count Act of 1887 (ECA) lies at the heart of this confusion. In enacting the ECA, Congress drew on lessons learned from its twenty-five previous electoral counts; it sorted through innumerable proposals floated before and after the disastrous presidential election of 1876; and it thrashed out the ECA’s specific provisions over fourteen years of sustained debate. Still, the law invites misinterpretation. The ECA is turgid and repetitious. Its central provisions seem contradictory. Many of its substantive rules are set out in a single sentence that is 275 words long. Proponents of the law admitted it was “not perfect.” Contemporary commentators were less charitable. John Burgess, a leading political scientist in the late nineteenth century, pronounced the law unwise, incomplete, premised on contradictory principles, and expressed in language that was “very confused, almost unintelligible.” At least he thought the law was constitutional; others did not.

Over the nearly 120 years since the ECA’s adoption, the criticisms faded, only to be renewed whenever there was a close presidential election. Our ability to misunderstand the ECA has grown over time. During the 2000 presidential election dispute, politicians, lawyers, commentators, and Supreme Court justices seemed prone to misstate or misinterpret the provisions of the law, even those provisions which were clear to the generation that wrote them. The Supreme Court, for example, mistakenly believed that the Supreme Court of Florida’s erroneous construction of its election code would deny Florida’s electors the ECA’s “safe harbor” protection; Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s hasty submission of his state’s Certificate of Ascertainment was untimely under the Act; and Democratic members of Congress framed their objections to accepting Florida’s electoral vote on the wrong grounds. Even Al Gore, the presidential candidate contesting the election’s outcome, misread the federal deadline for seating Florida’s electors.

Only the United States Congress could so obfuscate a matter as seemingly simple as counting that its Act remained undecipherable for more than one hundred years.

The Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified by Delaware on February 3, 1913, giving the Amendment the requisite Constitutional supermajority of three-fourths of the states. The text of the Amendment reads, in its entirety,

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

President Woodrow Wilson died on February 3, 1924 in Washington, DC. Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia (pronounced Stan-ton) and spent most of his youth to age 14 in Augusta, Georgia. Wilson started practicing law in Atlanta, Georgia in 1882, leaving the next year to pursue a Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University. His wife, Ellen Louise Axson, was from Savannah, and they married in Rome, Ga in 1885.

On February 3, 1959, a chartered Beechcraft Bonanza carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson crashed near Mason City, Iowa, killing all aboard.

Jimi Hendrix recorded Purple Haze on this date in 1967.

Under the Gold Dome Today

This morning, the House and Senate websites were down, so I was unable to double-check the following schedule for today.

All day
Senate – Rules – TBA – 450 CAP
8:00am – 9:00am
House – E-Discovery Subcommittee of Judiciary Civil – 132 CAP
12:00pm – 12:30pm
House – Economic Development & Tourism Committee – 341 CAP
12:30pm – 2:00pm
House – Banks & Banking Committee – 341 CAP
1:00pm – 2:30pm
House – Pak Subcommittee of Judiciary Non-Civil – 132 CAP
1:00pm – 3:00pm
House – Jacobs Subcommittee of Judiciary Civil – 133 CAP
1:00pm – 3:00pm
House – Appropriations Economic Development Sub – Committee – 606 CLOB
1:30pm – 3:00pm
House – Human Relations & Aging Committee – 515 CLOB
1:30pm – 4:00pm
House – Appropriations General Government Subcommittee – 415 CLOB
2:00pm – 3:00pm
House – Hunting Regulations Subcommittee of Game, Fish & Parks Sub Committee – 605 CLOB
2:00pm – 3:00pm
Senate – Health & Human Services Committee – 450 CAP
2:00pm – 3:00pm
Senate – Judiciary Committee – 307 CLOB
2:00pm – 4:00pm
House – Appropriations Education Sub Committee – 341 CAP
2:00pm – 4:00pm
House – Appropriations Higher Education Sub Committe – 406 CLOB
3:00pm – 4:00pm
House – Regulated Industries Committee – 403 CAP
3:00pm – 4:00pm
Senate – Transportation Committee – MEZZ
3:00pm – 5:00pm
House – Health & Human Services Committee – 606 CLOB
4:00pm – 5:00pm
JOINT – Science & Technology Committees – 506 CLOB
4:00pm – 5:00pm
House – Science & Technology Committee – 506 CLOB
4:00pm – 5:00pm
Senate – Regulated Industries & Utilities – 310 CLOB
4:00pm – 6:00pm
House – Welch Subcommittee of Juvenile Justice – 515 CLOB

Jim Galloway, in Political Insider, has a great account of the politics of the debate over legalizing non-smokable medicines derived from marijuana under legislation introduced by State Rep. Allen Peake.

State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon,… wants medical marijuana made legal in Georgia within the next several weeks.

House Bill 885 would be the real thing: outright protected status for the non-intoxicating oil made from cannabis, which has been shown — at least anecdotally — to substantially reduce seizures in children with a rare form of epilepsy.

His bill has 90 or so co-sponsors in a House with 180 members, and a first committee hearing Feb. 10, at which Peake plans to present the suffering kids, their parents and more than a few experts. He’s been trying to invite CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, an Emory University neurologist who has done a documentary on medicinal pot. (Dear CNN publicity department: This sounds like an opportunity worth exploring.)

Peake’s Capitol colleagues, even some of those who have signed onto his bill, are quietly expressing discomfort with the mad dash toward a mid-March finish line. Peake, himself, has picked up a Republican primary opponent.

“I’ve gotten to the place that I could care less about what this does to me politically, good or bad,” Peake said. “But it’s not fair for me to force that on my colleagues.”

And so he has made every effort to give them cover. He’s obtained declarations of neutrality from law enforcement groups. He’s reached out to tea partyers and religious groups — Catholics and Baptists. “We’re trying to build a coalition to protect my colleagues,” Peake said.

At every opportunity, Peake condemns the recreational use of marijuana.

“What I kept hearing when I jumped into this thing is that (the bill) needed to be tightly restricted, very regulated, managed by doctors, limited in scope, in oil-based form. That’s what we drew up,” he said. “We had to fight the perception from some of my colleagues that we were going to go down a path allowing 6-year-olds to smoke a joint and that we were going to have pot shops on every corner. Or that any physician in the state could prescribe it.”

In Georgia, if Peake’s bill passes the House, it’s sure to undergo hefty scrutiny in the Senate, where Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, is chairwoman of the Health and Human Services Committee.

Comments by Senator Unterman a couple weeks ago suggest Peake’s bill might face at least one skeptic on the Senate HHS Committee.

Online Straw Poll Results

There’s still time to vote in our online Straw Poll for United States Senate, Governor of Georgia, State School Superintendent and a couple of issues. We’ll close it for good on Wednesday, but today we’re providing a snapshot of the results so far.

The usual disclaimers apply:

1) Straw polls have no relation to reality. Ask the guys who won all the straw polls in 2010. But they may tell you what’s going on with a subset of potential voters.

2) All in all, it’s still more fun to win a straw poll than to merely place or show.

3) I’m working for Nancy Jester in her campaign for State School Superintendent, so you’re probably safe just going ahead and assuming I made up those numbers. But if I were making up numbers, why wouldn’t I show her above 50%?

With that said, I don’t have a dog in the marijuana fight, but I do find the results interesting. If you’d told me three weeks ago that you could find any group of 700 or so voters who would favor legalizing medications derived from cannabis under any set of circumstances, I would not have believed it.

Campaigns and Elections

Republican National Committeewoman from Georgia Linda Herren will serve on the Site Selection Committee for the 2016 Republican National Convention

Jennifer Hulsey has announced via Facebook that she is running for Polk County Commissioner.

Facebook also tells us that Cobb County School Board member Tim Stultz will seek reelection this year.

The Marietta Daily Journal About Town tells us that former State Rep. Judy Manning is contemplating an electoral return against State Rep. Charles Gregory (R), who beat her in 2012.

Republican Bert Reeves, who previously announced his campaign against Gregory, is holding a campaign kickoff and fundraiser on Thursday, February 13th at The Earl Smith Strand Theatre.

From that same article, we also learn that three candidates have announced for the seat on the Cobb County Superior Court bench currently held by Judge Jim Bodiford.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Ann Harris, Cobb Juvenile Court Judge Juanita Stedman and lawyer Nathan Wade all threw their hats into the ring this week to succeed Judge Jim Bodiford.

Finally, the MDJ also tells us that the campaign for Cobb Commission District One, where incumbent Helen Goreham is not running for reelection, has gained another entrant.

The latest addition is Angela Barner, a Realtor and stepdaughter of late west Cobb Commissioner Harvey Paschal, who served for years in the 1980s and early ’90s. Meanwhile, sources say Ben Smith, the offspring of another west Cobb commissioner of that era, the late Harriett Smith, is considering a run for Goreham’s seat.
Already in the race for the GOP nod — the only one that matters in that district — are former Cobb Commission Chairman Bill Byrne and retired Marietta Assistant Fire Chief Scott Tucker.
With three or more candidates in a race, the likelihood increases of needing a runoff to settle things. Thanks to his high name recognition from past service as chairman and from his nearly successful race for chairman two years ago, Byrne would seem to be a shoo-in for one of the two spots.


The Georgia Republican Party held the second U.S. Senate Debate Saturday evening in Kennesaw. Rather than a debate, it’s more like a “soundbite hexathlon,” where candidates are given six opportunities to pretend to answer the question being asked while regurgitating their canned responses. Jon Gillooly of the MDJ writes about the latest.

Eight Republican candidates hoping to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss debated at Kennesaw State University on Saturday night before a crowd of more than 600.

Cobb GOP Chairman Joe Dendy said he had to turn away another 300 who wanted to attend because there wasn’t room.

One of the questioners, political science professor Kerwin Swint, asked candidates about their foreign policy views. With Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt angry with the U.S., largely because of its policies toward Iranian nuclear power and the Syrian and Egyptian conflicts, and many allies no longer trusting the U.S., Swint asked what should be done.
Following the debate, Dendy said he found the audience engaged by the amount of applause.

“It’s exciting to think we have that many people this interested this far out,” he said.

As for who won, Dendy said, “I’m sure that each one of them is going to go back and say that they won. So each one of them was a winner in their own eyes.”


Benita Dodd of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation editorializes on the lessons we can learn from the storm alternately known as Clusterflake or Clusterstuck.

The fingerpointing and soul-searching began early. Whose fault? Why didn’t government learn from the last ice storm? What can policy makers do better next time? What is wrong with motor-centric Atlanta that it won’t embrace mass transit? Why isn’t Georgia spending more on (fill in the blank)?

What was the common thread? Individual responsibility and personal initiative. People acted without prompting from government. They didn’t wait to be told to help. They saw a need, they filled it. They were charitable in the truest sense of the word. People weren’t “giving back;” they were giving. Without expecting anything in return — not even a tax credit.

The “blamestorm” will continue. But there’s hope for America. “Greedy” businesses? “Selfish” wealthy? Efforts to instigate class and race warfare through allegations of income inequality faded away Tuesday night as Georgians stepped up to help fellow citizens.
On the night of a State of the Union address that, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, will cost $40 billion for government to “help” with jobs, housing, student loans, joblessness, retirement and more, there was no charge for individual initiative, personal responsibility and the kindness of strangers.

In the wake of the storm, the Georgia Hospital Association thanked Governor Deal for his leadership during the storm.

On behalf of all 170 hospitals across Georgia, I want to express appreciation to Governor Deal for his steadfast resolve and determination to ensure the safety and welfare of hospital patients and caregivers during last week’s icy road traffic jam.

His office proactively reached out to me early in the afternoon of the first day to ask if any of Georgia’s hospitals needed help with road access to the Emergency Room.

Later that afternoon, the Governor’s Office contacted me again to offer the services of the National Guard, should the need arise.

While stranded motorists and schoolchildren have received most of the press, I want your readers to know that Governor Deal also had those among us who are the most vulnerable in mind – Georgia’s patients.

Thank you, Governor Deal.

Events Calendar

Association County Commissioners of Georgia: Capitol Connection Conference

February 3, 2014

Marriott Marquis, 265 Peachtree Center Ave NE Atlanta , GA 30303

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Registration Now Available for This Year’s Capitol Connection Conference The 2014 ACCG Capitol Connection Conference is quickly approaching! Join your fellow county officials this winter for an opportunity to hear from state leaders such as Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, and House Speaker David Ralston (invited). In addition to being able to complete commissioners’ training courses in the Lifelong Learning Academy, commissioners will receive legislative updates from the ACCG policy staff as well as hear from various state…

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Happy Birthday – Congressman Tom Graves

February 3, 2014 12:00 AM

Happy Birthday – Congressman Tom Graves

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GA GOP: Political Trivia Night at the GA GOP East GA Regional Headquarters

February 3, 2014 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

GA GOP Regional HQ, 2834 Washington Road Augusta , GA 30909+ Google Map

Political Trivia Night at the GA GOP East GA Regional Headquarters Join us for our first-ever Trivia Night at the GA GOP East Regional HQ located at 2834 Washington Rd. Suite I. A $25 iTunes gift card will be given out to our first place team. ***RULES*** Teams of up to 2 people will be allowed. Cell phone use is prohibited. Each team is given up to 60 seconds to answer a question 3 rounds of questions of US, GA,…

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Happy Birthday – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop Jr.

February 4, 2014

Happy Birthday  - Congressman Sanford D. Bishop Jr.

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Camden County Chamber of Commerce: Atlanta Fly- In

February 4 – February 6, 2014

Atlanta Fly-in – Members of the Chamber will travel to Atlanta to talk with legislators and state leaders.

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Americans For Prosperity: Day At The Capitol

February 4, 2014 from 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington St SW Atlanta, GA 30334

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Join Americans For Prosperity GA for a day of learning the step-by-step process of how to be a citizen watchdog for good government in the Peach State! .Do citizen lobbyist training on the step-by-step process to affect legislation .Do on site citizen lobbying .Get legislative briefings from bill sponsors and legislative leaders in the Capitol .Have in office meetings with legislators Some of the issues we will be lobbying: Opposing Common Core Supporting Civil Forfeiture Reform Supporting Fractional-percentage SPLOST…

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Sen. William Ligon: “Stop the Common Core” Rally and Press Conference

February 4, 2014 from 1:30 PM – 2:45 PM

The Georgia State Capitol, South Wing, 206 Washington Street, S.W. Atlanta , GA 30334+ Google Map

Sen. William Ligon ( R – Brunswick) will join grassroots leaders and elected officials from throughout the state at a “Stop the Common Core” rally and press conference at the Georgia State Capitol on Tuesday, February 4, 2014. The rally will begin at 1:30 p.m. and a press conference will promptly follow at 2 p.m. on the South Wing Steps of the Georgia State Capitol. During the event, Sen. Ligon and others will call on the Governor as well as the State Legislature to…

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Council for Quality Growth: City of Atlanta Advisory Committee

February 5, 2014 from 8:15 AM – 9:15 AM

Selig Enterprises, 1100 Spring St NW, Atlanta , 30309+ Google Map

2014 Winter Olympics: Sochi

February 7-23, 2014
Sochi Russia

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics  The 2014 Olympic Winter Games will be the first time that the Russian Federation will have hosted the Winter Games; the Soviet Union hosted the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow. The host city Sochi has a population of 400,000 people and is situated in Krasnodar, which is the third largest region in Russia. The Games will be organised in two clusters: a coastal cluster for ice events in Sochi, and a mountain cluster located in the Krasnaya Polyana Mountains.…

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Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce: Annual Dinner

February 7, 2014 from 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway 30097+ Google Map

66th Annual Dinner Presented by Gwinnett Medical Center Event Description: The 66th Annual Dinner Presented by Gwinnett Medical Center is a celebration of the people of Gwinnett, who by their service, volunteerism and commitment, allowed Gwinnett to reach new heights and set future goals to strive for. The February black-tie-optional spectacular serves as an opportunity for more than 1,000 of Gwinnett’s finest to celebrate those that have made significant contributions to enhance our quality of life, make Gwinnett a better place to…

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$12 / $15

Fulton GOP: North Fulton Breakfast: with Gov. Nathan Deal

February 8, 2014 8:30 AM @ 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM

Country Club of Roswell,

500 Club Springs Dr Roswell , GA 30076 United States

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Governor Nathan Deal will be the speaker.

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Coweta County GOP: Meeting with David Pennington & Chip Flanegan

February 8, 2014 9:00 AM @ 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Golden Corral ,

605 Bullsboro Drive Newnan, GA 30265 United States

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Meeting with David Pennington & Chip Flanegan

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February 8, 2014 6:00 PM @ 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Petite Auberge Restaurant,

2935 North Druid Hills Road Atlanta , GA 30329 United States

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Join Your Friends At The Annual Lincoln Day Dinner   with Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens And Other Special Guests (including 2014 Candidates) SPONSORED BY THE SENATOR JIM TYSINGER SATURDAY BREAKFAST FORUM (Now in Its 43rd Year)    The Public is Invited    Sponsor tables of 10 will be reserved in sponsor’s name or organization Reservations with payment a must no later than Tuesday, February 4   Phone 678-763-3970 for information

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Supercar Saturday

Spied in Buckhead on a beautiful Saturday: a brand new McLaren MP4-12C spider with the top off. For fun, I went online and optioned out a McLaren the way I’d order it and came in just under $340k.



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