Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 21, 2014

21
Jul

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 21, 2014

On July 20, 1864, the Battle of Peachtree Creek took place in Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a special online section on the Battle of Atlanta.

On July 21, 1868, the Georgia General Assembly ratified the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution as a condition for readmission.

Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton gave the speech nominating Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis for President on July 20, 1988 at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta. Dukakis accepted the nomination the next day.

The 1996 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony was held on July 19, 1996 and competition started the next day.

The Georgia State Quarter was released on July 19, 1999.

Campaigns and Elections

Three major Congressional runoff elections take place tomorrow in Georgia.

In Coastal Georgia’s First District, State Senator Buddy Carter and Dr. Bob Johnson meet in a runoff that has been dominated by high-dollar spending.

State Sen. Buddy Carter, who faces Bob Johnson in the Republican runoff, raised $369,168, including a $50,000 personal loan, during the final three months of the campaign. He spent $380,214, which left him with $230,698 in cash on hand.

By comparison, Johnson’s campaign between May 1 and July 2 raised a total of $287,104 in contributions, including a $4,000 personal loan, and spent $442,641, leaving him with $49,656.

While the Democratic Primary to be the sacrificial lamb nominee facing the winner of the Carter-Johnson runoff has been decidedly less expensive.

Amy Tavio raised $4,839 during the final months of the campaign and spent $5,290, leaving her with $1,866. She loaned herself $2,084 during the campaign.

Her Democratic runoff opponent, Brian Reese, raised $3,875 and reports show he didn’t spend any money in the closing months. He loaned himself $3,000 during the race.

Chatham County is expecting turnout in the 15-17 percent range.

Some 393 poll workers will be on hand as 89 polls across the county are scheduled to be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

There will be 157 fewer poll workers than worked the May 20 primaries, but Chatham County Elections Supervisor Russell Bridges told elections board members last week he expects just 10-15 percent voter turnout.

“It may be higher,” Bridges said.

Activity has been busier than what is typical for a normal summer runoff, he said. But at 23 percent, he said, May’s primary turnout was low, though not exceptionally low.

By Friday morning, just 4,160 (not including 1,137 absentee ballots mailed), or 3.2 percent, of Chatham County’s 129,463 registered voters participated in early voting, which ended Friday. Poll workers at the Savannah Civic Center, one of four early voting sites, estimated that only 60 people had voted there last week.

In the Tenth Congressional District, Congressman Paul Broun has endorsed Jody Hice for his successor.

Broun had stayed out of the GOP primary in the 10th District until now, saying he did not want to anoint a successor. But in a Monday radio interview in Georgia, Broun said recent events pushed him to support Hice over businessman Mike Collins in the July 22 runoff.

“Just recently Mike Collins has rejected and repudiated my simple four-way test. … Jody Hice has pledged that he is going to use that same four-way test as he evaluates legislation and Mike Collins just recently said that he rejects that test,” Broun said on Georgia’s Morning News with Zoller & Bryant.

Hice came in first by a few hundred votes in the May 20 GOP primary in this district — a strong Republican seat located in the Atlanta exurbs. In Georgia, if no candidate gets 50 percent of the primary vote, the race proceeds to a runoff.

Hice has made controversial remarks in the past, including that Islam should not be protected by the First Amendment, and that women should run for office only with their husband’s permission.

Collins is the son of former Rep. Mac Collins, R-Ga., and owns a successful trucking company. He received the endorsements of former Georgia Senate candidate Karen Handel, former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and former Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.

Here’s one fact that may indicate how that race is going. Jody Hice carried nearly 57.1% of Walton County’s votes in the Primary on May 20th, while Mike Collins took 21.7% in Walton.

During the May 20th Primary, 1482 Walton County voters cast ballots in the Tenth District Republican Primary; as of the latest file from the Secretary of State’s office, 1,762 ballots have been cast in early voting leading up to tomorrow’s Tenth District Republican Primary Runoff in Walton County, an increase of nearly 20%.

Given that Walton is the most populous county in the District, and Hice carried well over twice as many votes as Collins in the Primary early voting, this may represent a boost for Hice. Or it may be that people who would otherwise have voted tomorrow simply chose to vote early.

Cobb County Elections director Janine Eveler also says that turnout is higher in Cobb County early voting, where runoffs are being held for 11th District Congress between Bob Barr and Barry Loudermilk; a County Commission Runoff between Bill Byrne and Bob Weatherford, and a school board runoff between Tim Stultz and Susan Thayer.

Eveler said Friday that Republicans generally turned out in larger numbers to vote ahead of time than they did before the May 20 primary.
She was not able to provide a grand total of Republican to Democrat voters because the state reports don’t come out until Monday, but she compared data from two dates to give an example: Thursday was the next to last day to vote ahead of the runoff election and saw 1,183 Republicans cast ballots in the county. The final day to cast a ballot before the primary was May 15, which garnered 1,127 ballots.
In comparing those two days, 56 more Republican voters, or about 5 percent more, turned out to vote in the runoff election.
Typically “the numbers go down in a runoff, so the relatively higher Republican numbers showed a continued interest in the races on that ballot,” Eveler said.
Democrats did not follow suit those same two days: 289 voted May 15, while 136 came to an early polling station Thursday, a difference of 153, or 53 percent fewer voters.

The Marietta Daily Journal has an excellent piece covering the final days of the runoff in their local races.

Barr and Loudermilk have ramped up the intensity of their personal and political punches since weeding out four other candidates in the May primary. Because no Democrat filed to run in the district, the winner of the runoff is expected to replace Gingrey in Congress.

“It’s been really heating up the last couple of weeks,” Swint said of the race.

Loudermilk said although his own campaign has tried to maintain its focus on the issues, “the tone has definitely changed” for his opponent since the runoff began.
Last month’s dust-up over allegations that Loudermilk had embellished his military service record put both campaigns on defense.
While Loudermilk decried what he saw as an “orchestrated attack on my military record,” Barr said he was not behind the accusations, which were publicized by a group of local veterans. He downplayed the fact his campaign manager, Jeff Breedlove, attended news conferences at which Loudermilk’s record was questioned.
“I think it was and is bothersome to the veterans,” Barr said of the controversy. He said most of the veterans he talks to are “very careful” not to misrepresent their military service.
“I think they were concerned and remain very concerned about that kind of embellishment.”

Concerns about runoff turnout have dominated the Senate race as well. The AJC brings us this story:

The TV ads get the attention, but as David Perdue and Jack Kingston circle the state ahead of Tuesday’s U.S. Senate Republican runoff, both are emphasizing the politics of the personal.

Turnout is expected to be 10 percent or lower, giving each handshake and social media post greater import. And while both men have worked every corner of the state, they are spending the most time in metro Atlanta and parts north to mine an area thick with Republican voters.

“If you study runoffs in Georgia, there’s no pattern to who wins,” said Perdue, former CEO of Dollar General, at a recent campaign stop in northwest Georgia. “If you finish first or second, it doesn’t matter. But the one constant is motivated people win. When you call people and tell them who you’re voting for, it matters to them.”

Kingston tells crowds that posting a photo of themselves with the 11-term Savannah congressman on Facebook is far more effective than his TV ads.

“What we’re trying to do as much as possible is a lot of email, a lot of Facebook and getting the party enthusiasts out telling their friends — word of mouth — with the hope that overcomes some of the negative ads,” Kingston said.

The TV ads get the attention, but as David Perdue and Jack Kingston circle the state ahead of Tuesday’s U.S. Senate Republican runoff, both are emphasizing the politics of the personal.

Turnout is expected to be 10 percent or lower, giving each handshake and social media post greater import. And while both men have worked every corner of the state, they are spending the most time in metro Atlanta and parts north to mine an area thick with Republican voters.

“If you study runoffs in Georgia, there’s no pattern to who wins,” said Perdue, former CEO of Dollar General, at a recent campaign stop in northwest Georgia. “If you finish first or second, it doesn’t matter. But the one constant is motivated people win. When you call people and tell them who you’re voting for, it matters to them.”

Kingston tells crowds that posting a photo of themselves with the 11-term Savannah congressman on Facebook is far more effective than his TV ads.

“What we’re trying to do as much as possible is a lot of email, a lot of Facebook and getting the party enthusiasts out telling their friends — word of mouth — with the hope that overcomes some of the negative ads,” Kingston said.

John Konop, of Canton, said he was still trying to make up his mind — and coming away dispirited.

“I hear talking points on both sides and I don’t hear anything of substance from either one,” he said. “I’m a regular voter but it is frustrating because I’m having a hard time distinguishing what they’re really going to do.”

Kingston and Perdue are running to replace Republican U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who is retiring. Tuesday’s winner faces Democratic nonprofit executive Michelle Nunn of Atlanta in what is expected to be a nationally watched race.

Perdue won the most votes in the May 20 primary, claiming 30 percent of the vote in the seven-candidate race. He was particularly popular in north Georgia, winning most of the mountain counties and even besting primary opponents U.S. Reps. Paul Broun of Athens and Phil Gingrey of Marietta in their own congressional districts. Perdue also was popular near his boyhood home of Warner Robins.

Kingston, meanwhile, captured enormous margins in areas he has represented in Congress. He won his coastal First Congressional District with 74.8 percent of the vote. Perdue, who now lives in the district in Sea Island, was second there with 10.5 percent. Kingston also won two neighboring South Georgia districts, parts of which he represented before redistricting.

“It wasn’t a surprise that Jack did well in south Georgia – the surprise was the margin,” said GOP strategist Chip Lake, who is not aligned with either runoff candidate. “David Perdue probably has an advantage in the northern part of the state, but he’s not going to have the margins Jack will in the south. And that makes for a competitive, close race that could be decided within a point or two.”

n the primary Kingston’s south Georgia margins were enough to overcome former Secretary of State Karen Handel’s metro Atlanta strength. Handel, of Roswell, has endorsed Kingston in the runoff and has been an energetic backer, urging her donors to give to Kingston, hitting the campaign trail for him and even offering a homemade concoction to soothe Kingston’s weary throat when his voice failed him.

“I want to be helpful in consolidating some of the votes that I won – that can hopefully be the difference in the race,” she said. “The southern strategy is going to be important, but Jack’s not forgetting about metro Atlanta.”

In fact, this weekend, Kingston’s volunteers scattered across the Metro Atlanta, covering every event they could find, and smothering potential voters with personal attention.

Here’s the Kingston campaign’s end-game, all out there on Facebook for everyone to see.

1. Fly-around tour of Georgia, with prominent stops in Savannah, Brunswick, Albany, Macon, Augusta, and Atlanta. Likely others.

2. Volunteer phoning in large numbers.

3. Campaign stops and rallies in Metro Atlanta.

 

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