Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 12, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 12, 2014

General William Tecumseh Sherman ordered the destruction of railroad and telegraph lines between Atlanta and Northwest Georgia on November 12, 1864. Sherman also burned the railroad bridge over the Chattahoochee, cutting his own supply line from Chattanooga.

In what looks to me like a surprisingly progressive move for the 19th century, Governor John B. Gordon signed legislation on November 12, 1889 opening the University of Georgia to white women.

On November 12, 1918, Atlanta held a victory parade to celebrate the Armistice with Germany.

On November 12, 1944, the Atlanta Constitution released a poll of Georgia legislators indicating that most wanted more local rule for cities and counties in the new Constitution being drafted.

President Jimmy Carter ordered an end to oil imports from Iran on November 12, 1979.

Tim Berners-Lee published a Proposal for a HyperText Project, laying the foundation for the World Wide Web, on November 12, 1990.

HyperText is a way to link and access information of various kinds as a web of nodes in which the user can browse at will. Potentially, HyperText provides a single user-interface to many large classes of stored information such as reports, notes, data-bases, computer documentation and on-line systems help.

A program which provides access to the hypertext world we call a browser. A hypertext page has pieces of text which refer to other texts. Such references are highlighted and can be selected with a mouse. When you select a reference, the browser presents you with the text which is referenced.

The texts are linked together in a way that one can go from one concept to another to find the information one wants. The network of links is called a web.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The race to replace State Rep. Lynne Riley in House District 50 is taking shape as Riley prepares to be sworn in as Commissioner of Revenue. Earlier this week, John Creek City Council member Kelly Stewart announced she would run for the seat, and yesterday, her fellow Council member Brad Raffensperger threw his hat in the ring.

Dunwoody Crier publisher Dick Williams wins the Quote of the Day for perfectly summarizing the DeKalb Commission District One runoff:

In a Dunwoody forum for the post this fall, Jester laid out a clear vision for the office including an online checkbook for commissioners’ expenses. Pyles was unable to articulate a clear view of what he proposed to do in office.

Democrats blamestorming

Last week, Georgia Democrats started blamestorming over the losses they suffered this year. From the AJC Political Insider:

The [State Senate's] Democratic leader, Steve Henson, also wants insiders to study the election to see whether the party can deliver a more positive message to voters:

“It’s easy to focus on the negatives of our opponents, but we need to focus on the issues. If we argued that Republicans put forth policies that didn’t support raising the minimum wage, we might get more voters than we do if we just say negative things about our opponents. I know it’s challenging in a campaign because there’s only limited time. But we’ve got to do a better job.”

In February, Georgia Democrats will gather to elect a chairman to a four-year term — a term that will not only preside over the 2016 presidential race here, but the 2018 race for governor as well.

DuBose Porter, the former state lawmaker who stepped in after the resignation of Mike Berlon, has not announced whether he intends to seek a full term as chairman.

Regardless, there’s certain to be a fight.  This is what strategist Tharon Johnson, who is very close with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, told our AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin on Thursday:

“The thing that disturbed me the most about DuBose is when he said they would not do anything differently. That is a flaw and a failed strategy of going forward in Georgia. Any time you win or lose by the magnitude we did you always have to have a post-analysis and get in a room and have a candid conversation about what worked and accept constructive criticism about how we move forward. It was absolutely irresponsible for him to say that publicly.”

“The old rule we always say: you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. We did it in 2002, in 2006, in 2010 and in 2012 and got the same results. What they need to focus on is getting more of these 1.6 million registered black voters out in non-presidential years.”

State Senator Vincent Fort is asking DuBose Porter for a post-mortem:

I am requesting that you appoint an independent working group which will make an assessment of what occurred during the 2014 election cycle. As you know Democrats throughout the state are very concerned about the poor performance of our party this year.
When the Republicans had a bad year in 2012, the RNC commissioned an in depth review of all the factors that contributed to the situation. Georgia’s Democratic Party should do no less.

The members of this working should not be party staffers nor people who participated in the gubernatorial or senatorial campaigns.
A diverse set of co-chairs should be appointed that can lead the effort so we can mount successful campaigns in the future.

Vincent Fort

Blake Aued at the Flagpole, dissects the Democratic loss and sounds a pessimistic note for the future.

As it turns out, you can’t run an Obama-style campaign without Obama. Not only did Democrats do less well than they expected among women and African Americans and lose ground among white men (just 19 percent voted for them), but the youth vote failed to materialize as well. Voters age 18–29 made up only 10 percent of the electorate, barely half the share they made up in 2012. Overall turnout was 2.6 million, or 50 percent—almost identical to 2010, in fact slightly less.

What all this means is that Democrats barely moved the needle at all. Deal got 53 percent in 2010; Mitt Romney got 53 percent in 2012; Deal got 53 percent last week. Carter got 45 percent, only two points higher than Roy Barnes and one point worse than President Obama.

There are hardly any truly independent or persuadable voters left out there. Almost all of what few undecided voters there were broke for the Republicans. Going down the ballot, almost every Republican incumbent won 58 percent, 58 percent, 58 percent. Only about six percent of voters who supported Carter did not vote for Nunn and vice versa, according to the exit polls. Same goes for Deal and Perdue. We are getting more partisan: Georgians used to split their tickets, but this year, as in 2010, almost everyone voted straight party line.

So you can forget about turning Georgia purple in 2016. Unless a Democrat is elected governor in four years, you can forget about being competitive in legislative and congressional races until 2032, either, because Republicans will once again completely control the redistricting process. And don’t forget, the Supreme Court struck down the Voting Rights Act, which used to ensure minority representation. Say goodbye to our lone remaining Democratic House district. How many ways will Republicans slice and dice Athens next time?

But Tharon Johnson laid out a vision for a stronger Democratic Party. From the Associated Press Christina Cassidy:

Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson argued his party has a “structural deficit” when it comes to winning midterm elections in Georgia and must register at least 400,000 new voters and get at least half of them to the polls. In Tuesday’s election, Nunn trailed Perdue by roughly 200,000 votes.

Johnson, who led Obama’s 2012 re-election effort in the South, also said Democrats “can’t be afraid” of talking about core Democratic issues and noted Nunn and Carter proved Democrats have a base that comprises 45 percent of the electorate.

“It was a competitive race with an unfortunate outcome, but it left Democrats with a lot of hope for the future,” Johnson said. “This is no longer a state they can say is solid red.”

While we’re on the topic of Democratic misfortunes, we note that a prominent DC-based Democratic political consultant pled guilty to fraud charges in a bizarre scheme:

Political consultant Thomas Lindenfeld, 59, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty today in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his role in a fraud and corruption scheme related to illegal campaign contributions.

Lindenfeld admitted that, in exchange for the work he had done on the campaign, which included concealing the illegal campaign contribution, Elected Official A agreed to use his elected position to steer federal funding to Lindenfeld’s proposed environmental advocacy group, Blue Guardians.  Lindenfeld further admitted that he created Blue Guardians at the direction of Elected Official A for the purpose of receiving the federal funding.

According to Lindenfeld, Elected Official A advocated for $15 million in federal funding for Blue Guardians as a reward for Lindenfeld’s services.  Five hundred thousand dollars was approved in 2009 as an earmark through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Lindenfeld admitted, however, that the Blue Guardians did not exist in December 2009, and that he only created an email address, articles of incorporation, and a tax identification number for Blue Guardians in April 2010.

The AJC noted Lindenfeld’s connections to Georgia Democrats,

Lindenfeld has a vast list of political clients across the country, including such prominent Georgia politicians, groups and causes as the Democratic Party of Georgia, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the failed but bipartisan T-SPLOST campaign. Our AJC colleague Katie Leslie reports that, according to state campaign records, Citizens for Transportation Mobility paid LSG Strategies tens of thousands of dollars in 2012 to conduct phone calls and field work for the failed transportation referendum.

Reed paid Lindenfeld’s group nearly $100,000 last year during his re-election campaign for “media expenses,” such as campaign ads.

Atlanta City Council member Michael Julian Bond has been accused of soliciting tickets to a Chaka Khan concert and Dragon Con

Bond gave Channel 2 a photo of him presenting the proclamation to the singer.

“Any place I go in my official capacity, I am there on my official capacity,” Bond said.

But the complaint alleged it wasn’t just one concert, it was also movie tickets and passes to Dragon Con.

[So you were in your official capacity when you went to the Hunger Games?] “I was not there, all of the city council members were invited to that but I did not attend,” Bond said.

William Perry with Common Cause Georgia said Bond is blurring the lines.

Blurred lines is so 2013.

Random amusing links

The worst-written listicle about Atlanta appeared in the Movoto real estate blog and was obviously written by someone who is not from Atlanta. A sampling of this abomination:

Item 7. “Everyone In Atlanta Has Serious Rhythm In Their Genes” is arguably racist.

Item 10. “Forget The Big Apple—Your Atlantan Will Take You To The Peach Drop” is just dead wrong – people from Atlanta will steer you away from anything at Underground Atlanta.

Item 11. “They’ll Show You That Atlanta Is Always Better By Bike” – if by better they mean “crushed by insane drivers,” then yeah. But not really.

From the department of unfortunate names we get this entry from the Rome News-Tribune:

“Policy EEE will be presented by Brandy Money, our nutrition director,” said John A. Jackson, interim superintendent. “This policy deals with the changes required under the healthy schools initiative by the federal government requiring healthy snacks and health foods being used in fundraisers.”

Debbie Downer, chief academic officer, will present the promotion and retention policy, which will make the changes necessary because of the new testing system, Georgia Milestones, which is replacing the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests.

A cellphone in his shirt pocket saved a Dalton, Georgia man when he was attacked by a knife-wielding bandit.

Jerry Scriver said it is a good thing he keeps his cell phone in his front pocket because it may have saved his life during an attack.

Scriver showed CBS46 News the shirt with a slice through the front pocket.  Scriver said the blade was roughly 12 inches and sliced the shirt open from the top of his chest down to the pocket.

“He just made a swipe at me and when he swiped you could see he swiped other times and then went this way, and you could see where it stopped is right where my cell phone was. I was pretty lucky.”

Once the knife was deflected from the cell phone, a GalaxyS2 in an Otter Box, the suspect and Scriver were face to face.

“We both kind of looked at each other for a minute.  It was almost like a still photo or something you would see in the movies,” Scriver said.  “I looked at him and he looked at me and he looked at me like why are you still standing.”

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