Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 22, 2014

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 22, 2014

If it has somehow escaped your attention, today is election day in Georgia. If you have questions about your voter registration or where to vote, sign in to the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page for personalized information.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also has a primer on Primary Runoff Elections, including this valuable information:

WHAT TO BRING

Georgia requires voters to show photo identification when they vote in person. Approved forms of identification include a Georgia driver’s license, even if it’s expired; a state-issued voter identification card; a valid U.S. passport; and a valid U.S. military photo ID.

BALLOTS

As a voter, you must stick with the party ballot you choose for the main primary (in other words, you can’t cast a Democratic ballot in the main primary and then vote in a Republican runoff). However, if you did not vote in the primary or if you originally picked a nonpartisan ballot, you may still vote in the runoff and pick the party ballot of your choice.

PROBLEMS

If you see or experience problems, first contact your local elections office. If local officials can’t help, the secretary of state’s office has an online complaint form via the “elections” tab at www.sos.ga.gov. The office’s voter fraud hot line is 877-725-9797.

General William Tecumseh Sherman gained the upper hand in the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 2014. Estimated casualties were 12,140 (3,641 Union, 8,499 Confederate). In some ways this makes today a fitting day to hold an election.

On July 22, 1975, the United States House of Representatives voted to restore U.S. Citizenship to General Robert E. Lee posthumously.

Though President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation of amnesty and pardon to the Southern rebels in 1865, it required Lee to apply separately. On Oct. 2, 1865, the same day that Lee was inaugurated as president of Washington College in Lexington, Va., he signed the required amnesty oath and filed an application through Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

Nonetheless, neither was Lee pardoned, nor was his citizenship restored. After receiving it, Secretary of State William Seward gave Lee’s application to a friend as a souvenir. Meanwhile, State Department officials, apparently with Seward’s approval, pigeonholed the oath.

In 1970, an archivist, examining State Department records at the National Archives, found Lee’s lost oath. That discovery helped set in motion a five-year congressional effort to restore citizenship to the general, who had died stateless in 1870.

President Gerald Ford signed the congressional resolution on July 24, 1975, correcting what he said was a 110-year oversight. The signing ceremony took place at Arlington House in Virginia, the former Lee family home. Several Lee descendants, including Robert E. Lee V, his great-great-grandson, attended.

Five Things to Watch for today

Today appears to be the day that Georgia journalists caught up to SEO best practices. Daniel Malloy and Greg Bluestein write in the AJC Political Insider blog, “Five things to Watch in the U.S. Senate Race.” Here’s an excerpt and the entire article is worth reading.

1. Overall turnout: Will the rain and the negativity of the race depress turnout that was already dismal in the May primary? We also encountered plenty of folks who still were not used to a July runoff, so voter confusion is at play too. If turnout is lower than 10 percent, the likely beneficiary is Kingston — who has the Republican clubs and county sheriffs and small-town mayors working their networks on his behalf.

2. Who’s making inroads in metro Atlanta? Former Secretary of State Karen Handel of Roswell and Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta endorsed Kingston and have been hitting the trail for him. If Handel, in particular, can swing her metro Atlanta base Kingston’s way it could prove decisive.

3. Can Kingston run up the score in the southeast again? Kingston won a whopping 75 percent of the vote in his congressional district in the primary and got strong turnout there. A runoff in the 1st  District should help him, but early voting there was down compared with the weeks before the primary.

Ray Henry and Russ Bynum of the Associated Press also wrote their own list of “5 Things To Know About Georgia’s Runoff Election”.

U.S. SENATE RACE GETS TOP BILLING

The retirement of U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss set off a scramble to win the Republican nomination for his seat. Senate seats are among the most coveted jobs in politics since senators enjoy the national prominence that comes with setting federal policy and face re-election less frequently than governors or members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

THREE GEORGIA CONGRESSIONAL SEATS ON RUNOFF BALLOTS

Three Georgia congressmen — Kingston, Paul Broun of Athens and Phil Gingrey of Marietta — all vacated their House seats to run for a promotion to the Senate. Republican primaries for each open seat were so crowded that the GOP nominations must be settled by the top two finishers in the Tuesday runoff.

OPEN RACE FOR GEORGIA’S STATE SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT

In another statewide race, voters must pick Republican and Democratic nominees for state school superintendent.

Republican Michael Buck, chief academic officer for the state Department of Education, and Richard Woods, a longtime educator in Irwin County, are running in the Republican runoff, while state Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan and former Decatur School Board Chairwoman Valarie Wilson are competing in the Democratic contest.

Going to vote shortly

I had dinner unexpectedly with a fellow Republican political strategist and his wife the other night when I showed up at Alfredo’s alone and took a seat next to them at the bar. As we talked about today’s election, it emerged that each of us has our own rituals. Among mine is that election day is for voting first, so after I feed and walk the dogs, I’ll walk over to the local high school and cast my ballot. In a day filled with anxiety, having a ritual to start with helps, and it also gives me a gauge of what turnout looks like – this is only one data point, but all day today, political operatives will be looking for tea leaves to read. Here’s how I’ll fill out my ballot.

United States Senate – Jack Kingston – with slim policy differences between the two candidates, it comes down to picking a reason to choose one over the other, and I’m voting for Jack Kingston because I know him to be focused on serving the people of Georgia as evidenced by the overwhelming vote of confidence he received from voters in his own Congressional district. When a Congressman gets the support of nearly 75% of voters in his own district in his campaign for the senior chamber, that tells me his constituents believe they have been well-served.

We’ve also seen Kingston take several actions that garnered him criticism in his Senate campaign because he thought they were the right choices to make, rather than the politically-expedient ones.

Kingston probably could have moved the Port of Savannah project along faster if he had chosen to find a way around the GOP policy against earmarks, but he abided by that policy. His vote in favor of the Farm Bill was welcomed across South Georgia, but caused him some heartburn with ideologically-driven voters in Metro Atlanta and set him apart in the crowded Primary field.

Finally, I know Jack Kingston to be a good man and his family is perhaps the greatest testament to that. David Perdue is probably a fine individual, I just didn’t get the chance to learn whether that’s true during the course of this campaign.

Perdue has grown into a very competent politician and will be a strong contender if he chooses to run for office again.

And then, there’s this:

“Even though [Jack Kingston]‘s been a member of Congress for 20-plus years, [he] feels more accessible,” said GOP political consultant Todd Rehm. “If you’ve met a guy and he returned your phone call, or his staff helped with an issue, it’s hard to think of that person as one of those evil insiders. David Perdue might be the most warm and friendly personality … but I wouldn’t know, because he’s never acknowledged me.”

 

State School Superintendent – Richard Woods I’m casting my ballot for Richard Woods for three reasons.

First, in no particular order, is that he’s a social conservative, evidenced by his receiving the endorsement of Georgia Right to Life. If all other things were equal, that endorsement would prove dispositive.

Second, his opponent Mike Buck, aided and abetted the campaign of John Barge, whose Chief of Staff Buck serves as , in Barge’s challenge to Governor Nathan Deal on a platform indistinguishable from that of liberal Democrat Jason Carter.

Third, we’ve had four years of John Barge and don’t need four more years of the status quo.

 

DeKalb Sheriff – I don’t have a preference in this race, but I will by the time I cast my ballot. It’s probably the most important election in my area, but neither candidate has given me a reason to vote for him today. Vernon Jones has his well-known issues, but can argue that he was a competent administrator as CEO, and as remarkable as it may sound, the fact that he’s never actually been indicted sets him apart from his successor and far too many politicians in DeKalb. Jeff Mann, currently the incumbent after Tom Brown resigned to run for Congress, has not contacted me about his campaign in any form during the runoff.

How not to win at social media

Yesterday, the Georgia Republican Party launched a Twitter campaign that didn’t just fall flat, it cratered.

Join us on Twitter as we stand up for Governor Deal! Use the hashtag #WeKnowNathan and let’s put an end to the baseless attacks from the radical left.

Instead it turned into a new vector for baseless attacks from the radical left. In a nasty competitive environment like Twitter, how do you prevent this from happening? I don’t know either, but I’m going to see what I can learn about it.

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