Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 10, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 10, 2014

Bridget Bishop was the first person hanged after being convicted of practicing witchcraft in the Salem witch trials on June 10, 1692.

On June 10, 1793, Washington, DC officially replaced Philadelphia as the Capital of the United States. To honor Washington, today we will adopt a smugly superior attitude, name-drop constantly, and speak condescendingly to those who currently live in the states we used to live in.

Rebecca Latimer Felton was born on June 10, 1835 in Decatur, Georgia and later became the first woman to serve in the United States Senate after being appointed by Governor Thomas Hardwick to fill a vacancy in 1922.

The United States Naval Academy graduated its first class on June 10, 1854.

The Girl Scouts of America were incorporated in Washington, DC on June 10, 1915.

The Republican National Convention in Cleveland became the first political convention broadcast on the radio on June 10, 1924.

Alcoholics Anonymous was founded on June 10, 1935.

President John F. Kennedy signed the 1963 Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963.

I AM delighted today to approve the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits arbitrary discrimination against women in the payment of wages. This act represents many years of effort by labor, management, and several private organizations unassociated with labor or management, to call attention to the unconscionable practice of paying female employees less wages than male employees for the same job. This measure adds to our laws another structure basic to democracy. It will add protection at the working place to the women, the same rights at the working place in a sense that they have enjoyed at the polling place.

While much remains to be done to achieve full equality of economic opportunity–for the average woman worker earns only 60 percent of the average wage for men–this legislation is a significant step forward.

Apple Computer shipped the first Apple II computers on June 10, 1977.

Coca-Cola introduced Classic Coke on June 10, 1985.

Ray Charles, who was born in Albany, Georgia died on June 10, 2004.

GaPundit available to speak to groups

My normal life schedule includes a year of self-improvement during non-election years. In the past I’ve learned new skills on the computer and taken classes at Kennesaw State in statistics. Today, I’m getting a head start on 2015 by working on my presentation and speaking skills.

This is partly a result of my receiving more invitations to talk to groups, but I’d like to practice more often. If you have a group that might be interested in hosting me, please email me the details.

Campaigns and Elections

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and 2012 Presidential candidate, has endorsed Jack Kingston for United States Senate.

Gingrich, who helped recruit Kingston to run for Congress, said he has seen first hand the candidate’s zeal for advancing the conservative cause.

“I counted on Jack Kingston to help me implement the Contract with America, enact welfare reform, and balance the budget for the first time in a generation,” said Gingrich. “I can say from first hand experience that he is a tireless reformer dedicated to advancing our conservative values.”

“Now is the time for conservative reformers like Jack Kingston who will take bold action to shake up the status quo and renew the American Dream for generations to come. I urge all Georgia Republicans to unite around conservative Jack Kingston in the July 22 runoff election.”

The architect of the Contract for America, Gingrich Represented Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District in Congress for twenty years. From 1989 through 1995 he served as House Minority Whip. After leading the 1994 Republican Revolution, he was elected Speaker of the House.

In addition to runoff elections in Senate District 27 and House District 22, Forsyth County will host a runoff for Solicitor General between incumbent Donna Gopaul and Bill Finch.

Two races in the Greater Columbus Metropolitan area will see voters returning for a second round of balloting on July 22:

In Muscogee County, Ga., School Board District 2 incumbent John Wells will runoff against John Thomas.

In Harris County, Ga., James Woods will face Andrew Sivell in the runoff race for Commissioner in District 2. Incumbent Timonthy Edgar will runoff against Morgan Marlowe for Board of Education District 2.

In Dade County, local races will see re-runs:

[R]un-off between incumbent Mitchell Smith and former Dade County Commissioner Lamar Lowery. Smith fell just three votes short of winning the seat without a run-off getting 718 votes to 495 for Lowery and 227 for another former Commissioner Terry Phillips.

Two seats on the Dade County Board of Education were also up for election. The District 2 seat will have a new representative as Jeff Forester decided not to seek re-election. This race turned out to be one of the closet ever as the three candidates were separated by just six votes.

Jennifer Hartline came out on top with 459 votes. She was followed by Summer Kelly with 455 and Larry Williams received 453 votes. Hartline and Kelly will be in the run-off election in July.

It’s not exactly a runoff, but a second bite at the apple nonetheless, as former Cherokee County School Board member Kelly Marlowe and her co-defendants, political consultant Robert Trim and former Cherokee County GOP Secretary Barbara Knowles are appealing their convictions.

Attorneys for Kelly Marlow, who represented District 1 before resigning from her post after a guilty conviction April 26, Barbara Knowles, the previous secretary for the county’s Republican Party, and local resident Robert Trim, filed motions for a new trial last month.

Assistant District Attorney Rachelle Carnesale said the motions were the first step in the appeals process.

“A hearing on the motion(s) will have to wait until the trial transcripts have been prepared, which may take quite awhile,” she added.

According to court documents, the motions were filed on the grounds that the verdict was contrary to the evidence presented in court. According to the motions, the verdict is “decidedly and strongly against the weight of the evidence.”

A jury, on April 26, convicted the three defendants for making false statements to police on the night of June 13, 2013.

Knowles, who called 911 and filed the report with Canton Police, told the officer that the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Frank Petruzielo, almost struck them as they were jaywalking across East Main Street toward the Painted Pig Tavern.

The three just had left a controversial school board meeting, during which Marlow informed the board that she had written a letter to the district’s accreditation agency asking for an investigation.

Georgia Republican Party Minority Engagement Director Leo Smith is getting some attention from an unexpected source – liberal website Huffington Post covers some of his outreach activity via Associated Press.

As the minority engagement director for the Georgia Republican Party, Smith is helping to lead an effort to recruit African-American voters in pivotal states, a priority for a heavily white party staring with uncertainty at a country that is fast becoming more black, Hispanic and Asian.

Smith and other black Republicans who are recruiting voters say there are plenty of black conservatives out there. They just don’t want to be identified publicly as conservative or Republican.

“We’re missing some people because they’re whispering, and to have people speak out loud is what we intend to do,” Smith said.

Getting African-Americans and other minority voters on board is a priority for the GOP in part because birth rates among whites are shrinking in the U.S.; racial and ethnic minorities are expected to make up a majority of Americans within about 30 years. The number of African-American voters has increased steadily: 12.9 million in 2000, 14 million in 2004, 16 million in 2008 and 17.8 million in 2012.

In 2012, blacks for the first time voted at a higher rate, 66.2 percent, than did whites, with a rate of 64.1 percent, or Asians or Hispanics, with rates of about 48 percent each.

Few of those votes went to Republican candidates; most African-American voters do not identify themselves as Republican. Exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and the networks showed that only about 6 percent identified themselves as GOP voters in 2004, and 4 percent did so in 2008 and 2012.

Today at 10 AM, the State Election Board will meet in Room 341 of the Georgia State Capitol. Among other items on a full agenda will be a new case from Dodge County, arguably the voting fraud capital of Georgia.

Vote buying allegations in the 1990s included “assisting” absentee voters and even an open bidding auction for votes inside the County courthouse.

Incredibly, each of the two camps—McCranie and Mullis—actually set up tables inside the courthouse at opposite ends of the hall, where supporters on both sides openly bid against each other to buy absentee votes.

At trial, a Dodge County magistrate described the rowdy courthouse atmosphere during the absentee voting period as “a successful flea market.” (R3-446). One of the vote buyers in the Mullis camp also testified that the open bidding for votes was “[l]ike an auction.” (R2-257).

Vote buyers for both sides paid the voter $20 to $40 after the voter cast his or her absentee ballot. Sometimes, the cash payment occurred in the courthouse bathroom. More frequently, the voters received their payment while the “haulers” drove them home after they voted. McCranie’s haulers generally drove the absentee voters to the courthouse to see Bryant Williams (“Williams”) whose primary role was to physically mark the voters’ absentee ballots for McCranie and Jones, no matter what the voters’ preferences were. Williams was not a county employee but a volunteer campaign worker for McCranie. Williams’s wife, however, was McCranie’s clerk at the Dodge County Courthouse. Approximately 40 absentee voters also testified at trial that they were paid by one side or the other to vote for either Mullis and Jones or McCranie and Jones.

As recently as 2010, Lawton Douglas, a former Dodge County Sheriff and one of his deputies pled guilty to federal charges involving voting fraud.

Douglas pled guilty to conspiring to buy votes and to vote more than once in connection with his election in 2004 as Dodge County sheriff. Gibson pled guilty to buying votes for Douglas during that election. Evidence at the hearing established that Douglas provided money to various supporters, including Gibson, to be used to pay hundreds of voters to vote for him in the election. Douglas’s supporters also paid voters for absentee ballots, and in particular blank absentee ballots, in order to fill those ballots out for Douglas and cast them improperly in the election. Douglas was elected as Dodge County sheriff in 2004 and served as sheriff until his re-election campaign was defeated in 2008.

I don’t know what today will hold for Dodge County, but when I die, I’m asking to be buried there so I can continue my active participation in politics.

State and Local Government Operations

This year, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation to require food stamp recipients to submit to drug testing before receiving benefits. But Attorney General Sam Olens put the kibosh on enforcement of the legislation.

In a letter sent Friday, Sam Olens said that’s because federal law prohibits states from adding their own requirements to the Food Stamp program.
The decision comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration moved Monday to block the new law.
Gov. Deal referred the matter to Attorney General Olens. In his letter to Deal, Olens noted implementing the additional criteria would violate federal law and put the state at risk for losing food stamp benefits.

It’s the second time in two years Georgia has passed legislation involving drug tests for some public benefit recipients.

Stricter boating laws are being credited with lower numbers of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) citations issued on the state waterways.

“For too long, holiday weekends meant for remembrance and for making new memories have taken a tragic turn due to preventable boating incidents,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “During the 2013 legislative session, I worked to combat boating under the influence because I, along with the majority of the General Assembly, thought if you were too drunk to drive a car, you were too drunk to drive a boat. To honor those victims, I signed legislation lowering the blood-alcohol content limit for boaters and increasing penalties for those arrested. …”

The new law, put into effect last summer, lowered the blood alcohol limit from .10 to .08, which is the same standard for driving under the influence. According to Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials, only one BUI citation was issued over the Memorial Day weekend.

Last year, three BUIs were issued.

“We are seeing a lot more designated drivers this year,” said DNR Conservation Ranger First Class Zack Hardy. “I think that was one of the main causes of why we didn’t get more BUIs, because most of every boat we stopped, if there were people drinking on the boat, they had someone that was the designated driver.”


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