Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 24, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 24, 2014

On June 24, 1497, John Cabot first sighted North America, claiming it for the British Crown.

On June 24, 1853, President Franklin Pierce signed the Gadsden Purchase, acquiring what it now southern Arizona and New Mexico from Mexico.

General Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac River toward Pennsylvania on June 24, 1863.

John R. Lynch was the first African-American elected Chairman of the Republican National Convention on June 24, 1884; Lynch was nominated by Theodore Roosevelt.

Woodrow Wilson married Ellen Louise Axson of Rome, Georgia in Savannah on June 24, 1885.

On June 24, 1948, the Soviet Union blockaded West Berlin from all road, rail, and barge traffic.

Following World War II, Germany was divided into occupation zones. The United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and, eventually, France, were given specific zones to occupy in which they were to accept the surrender of Nazi forces and restore order. The Soviet Union occupied most of eastern Germany, while the other Allied nations occupied western Germany. The German capital of Berlin was similarly divided into four zones of occupation.

The United States response came just two days after the Soviets began their blockade. A massive airlift of supplies into West Berlin was undertaken in what was to become one of the greatest logistical efforts in history. For the Soviets, the escapade quickly became a diplomatic embarrassment. Russia looked like an international bully that was trying to starve men, women, and children into submission. And the successful American airlift merely served to accentuate the technological superiority of the United States over the Soviet Union. On May 12, 1949, the Soviets officially ended the blockade.

General Lucius D. Clay of Marietta, Georgia was military Governor of occupied Germany at that time.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released in West Germany on June 24, 1977. It’s astounding.

Rickey Henderson made his major league debut with the Oakland A’s on June 24, 1979, stealing his first base.

On June 24, 1982, the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution was defeated, having garnered the ratification of thirty-five states, three shy of the requisite Constitutional Majority.

Hopes for ratification before the deadline next Wednesday were dashed this week when the amendment was rejected by the Illinois House and the Florida Senate, two states in which supporters felt they had a fighting chance.

Had Illinois and Florida ratified the amendment, there was at least some chance that either Oklahoma or North Carolina would have provided the final needed vote.

Prospects were far slimmer in the other nonratifying states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

Phyllis Schlafly, a leader of a group called Stop-ERA, hailed the defeat of the amendment tonight, saying: ”They realized E.R.A. is dead and I think that that is an admission they have lost the battle. My feeling is that E.R.A. will take its place with the prohibition and the child labor amendments as ones which did not have enough support of the American people to be in the Constitution.”

Coosa Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited is holding Veterans Fishing Day this Saturday, June 28th at Rolater Park in Cave Spring, Georgia from 9am till 1pm. From the Rome News-Tribune:

The pond at Rolater Park still has a large number of trout remaining from Kids Fishing Day and some of them are quite large.

TU members are going to give all former and active military folks a day of relaxation, fellowship with other military, a chance to catch some trout and learn how to fly fish if you want to. Fishing just has a natural side effect of taking your mind off your troubles.

The Coosa Valley Chapter is having Vets Fishing Day in part because National TU started a program called the Veterans Service Partnership.

[They] will have plenty of equipment and will give all the assistance anyone needs, even if the angler has a disability.

There will be free food and beverages for all our military guys and their families. Come on down, catch a trout and meet some very appreciative Trout Unlimited members.

When Army Spc. Eugene Perry Young returned from Afghanistan in a wheelchair, his community turned out to welcome him home.

Starting from the Adairsville exit on Interstate 75 and continuing to the Adairsville Church of God, members from the community gathered to welcome home Army Spc. Eugene Perry Young on Thursday, June 19.

Due to injuries obtained in combat in Afghanistan, Young, who is 22-years-old, is paralyzed from the waist down and is confined to a wheelchair. However, members from the community stood for him to show their appreciation for his service.

“Why wouldn’t you welcome a hero home?” Ken Coomer, pastor at Adairsville Church of God, said. “We want him to know we thank him for his service. It means the world, and this is the least we could.”

Sign wars persist

In honor of Mississippi’s holding their primary runoff today:

With a hot Mississippi primary runoff going to the voters today, sign theft has predictably become an issue.

A staffer for Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-MS) re-election campaign was fired after he was arrested and accused by police of stealing campaign signs for Cochran’s primary opponent, state senator Chris McDaniel.

“He’s fired. Unlike Chris McDaniel, we don’t tolerate that type of behavior,” said Cochran’s spokesman, Jordan Russell, in an email.

The police report alleged Blair “did willfully, unlawfully and maliciously or mischievously disfigure, destroy, injure (or cause to be) a Chris McDaniel campaign sign, the personal property of Tea Party Express.

In Georiga, the most visible sign war appears to be in the Republican Primary Runoff for the Tenth Congressional District, where Mike Collins and Jody Hice are running to replace Rep. Paul Broun. Earlier this week, the Collins campaign hit with this:

Love it or hate it, that’s the best use of a YouTube video by a political campaign that I’ve seen. I can’t attest to its veracity, but it is effective. Sign theft or destruction is something that happens in most campaign, usually by volunteers out of boredom or frustration. But it’s always hard to prove, and generally impossible to get coverage of. It’s just part of the reality of campaigning. Until someone pulls out a video like this.

Whatever the results of the Magnolia State primary, Georgia commentators will be hard at work trying to figure out what it means for the Peach State runoff on July 22d.

One thing to watch is voter turnout. From the New York Times’ Upshot column:

There’s a reason observers expect a decline in turnout. It has fallen in 37 of the 40 Senate runoffs since 1980, according to data compiled by Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley of Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

That reflects the challenge of getting voters out to the polls for a second time, and there were an unusual number of irregular voters in the first primary, when turnout was higher than in the 2012 Republican presidential primary.

But many of the factors that increase the likelihood of a big drop in turnout aren’t present for this Tuesday’s contest.

Many of the contests in which turnout dropped off most were inconsequential, like Democratic Senate primaries in states where the Republican would certainly win. Those races probably didn’t attract any media coverage or significant spending. The same cannot be said for Tuesday’s primary.

Many of the voters who participate in primaries but not runoffs might have initially turned out because of other races, like a presidential primary, on the initial primary ballot. But there were no other contests, let alone a presidential primary, to drive low-frequency voters to the polls. The Senate contest was one of only two races on a given Mississippi voter’s ballot — and the other race was competitive only in Mississippi’s Fourth Congressional District.

All considered, the chances of a meaningful decline in turnout are lower than usual. It is even conceivable that turnout could increase, with two additional weeks of campaigning and mobilization efforts.

In Georgia’s Republican Primary on May 20th, roughly 608,000 voters cast ballot, compared to more than 845,000 in the 2012 Republican Primary. I think that in some local areas, Primary Runoff turnout may be higher in 2014 than in the Primary for a reason that isn’t present in Mississippi – this year’s runoff is much closer to the habitual late-July primary election date that Georgia voters have become used to.

Others will point to the fact that 2012 was a Presidential election year, but that year’s Presidential Prefererence Primary was held in March, and the top of the ticket in the General Primary was a pair of jacks Public Service Commission seats.

SDGOP urges impeachment of Obama

In South Dakota, the state GOP passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Obama.

The resolution says Obama has “violated his oath of office in numerous ways.” It specifically cites the release of five Taliban combatants in a trade for captive U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, Obama’s statement that people could keep insurance companies, and recent EPA regulations on power plants.

“Therefore, be it resolved that the South Dakota Republican Party calls on our U.S. Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States,” the resolution reads.

“If anyone in this room cannot see the horrendous, traitorous scandals run by the Obama administration, I will pray for you,” [Larry] Klipp said.

Delegates voted 191-176 in favor of the resolution.

Carol Browner, a former Democratic Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, says Georgia is ahead of the curve in meeting stricter emission regulations.

“In Georgia, you are well on your way with your investment in nuclear energy, and your investment in renewables,” Browner said. “It won’t get you all the way there, but you are well on your way.”

Browner, who served as administrator of the Environmental Protection Administration for eight years during President Bill Clinton’s administration, said she has become a proponent of nuclear energy, and she supports Southern Co.’s investment in two new nuclear power plants at Plant Vogtle near Augusta.

“If you believe carbon production is bad for climate change, you can’t take non-carbon producing energy off the table,” she said. “It’s not responsible.”

“You have made some very wise decisions in terms of renewables and nuclear,” Browner told the Atlanta Rotary Club. “That will bear fruit.”

Lower energy prices and a reliable supply are part of what has driven Georgia’s ability to compete for new jobs. Yesterday, Gov. Deal announced 70 new jobs and $17 million in investment in Ringgold by Shaw Industries.

“Shaw’s expansion is another testament to why Georgia is the No. 1 place for business,” said Deal. “This company has played a major role in establishing Georgia as a leader in the floor covering sector. Through its commitment to the use of more sustainable materials, I am confident that Shaw will continue to keep up with ever-changing demands through Georgia’s top-ranked business climate.”

Secretary of State Brian Kemp visited Macon Beer Company yesterday and heard about how state business regulation affects the brewing industry.

Because Georgia has what’s called a “three-tier system,” Macon Beer Co. can’t set up a bar at its headquarters and simply sell beer by the glass like a regular pub. Nor can the company sell directly to a restaurant or bar that wants to carry one of the company’s three flavors. (A fourth will be introduced next month during Bragg Jam.)

Beer has to go from the brewer to a wholesaler, who then sells it to a retailer. That creates an extra set of logistical problems for both his own company and the wholesaler, Knowles said.

He said that for the Rookery on Cherry Street to buy beer from Macon Beer, the beer has to be shipped to Atlanta and then delivered back to Macon, even though the restaurant and brewer are just a few blocks apart.

“In our industry, there’s a lot of regulation stuff to go through at this point,” Smith said. “It’d be nice if it was streamlined. Some (government) entities don’t understand what the others are doing, so there’s a lot of duplication of work.”

Knowles and Smith pointed out that North Carolina, which has eased up on its regulations, has seen an increase in the number of microbreweries. Conversely, Florida has increased its regulation, driving many microbrewers from the state.

The Georgia Ports Authority has set more records, shipping nearly 300,000n TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units, a standard measure of container traffic) and total tonnage of 2.6 million in May.

“This extremely strong and record-setting May is setting the authority up for another record year,” Foltz said, adding he expects the trend to continue through the calendar year as well.

“The U.S. economy seems to be continuing its broad-based recovery with ongoing focus on the import retail sector, a growing e-commerce trade and long-term export opportunities,” he told the authority board Monday.

“We also anticipate some incremental volume growth associated with cargo diversion from the West Coast as a coast-wide labor contract there expires at the end of the month.

The breakbulk commodity group also grew by double digits in May, with autos, machinery, iron, steel and rubber leading the way at Ocean Terminal and autos, boats and machinery in Brunswick.

“Overall, the auto market remained strong in May, with the third-highest total on record,” Foltz said.

GPA also announced that Gainesville businessman Jim Walters has been elected the new Chairman of the Port Authority Board.

Walters, an ally of Gov. Nathan Deal, was appointed by the governor to the ports agency’s board two years ago and previously served as vice president.

“This is an exciting time to serve as chairman,” said Walters, president of Walters Management Co., a financial services company operating in Georgia, Tennessee and Texas. “Important opportunities lie ahead in economic development and improving our maritime infrastructure.”

President Barack Obama signed a water resources bill two weeks ago authorizing $706 million for the long-awaited project, including the state and federal shares.

“The role of our deepwater ports – supporting trade while helping to lure new investment – will only be strengthened as the Savannah Harbor is expanded to better accommodate today’s larger vessels,” Walters said.

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