Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 13, 2015


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 13, 2015

On May 13, 1607, English settlers founded the first permanent English settlement in America, at Jamestown on the James River. This led to the first English-language politics in America:

Dispatched from England by the London Company, the colonists had sailed across the Atlantic aboard the Susan Constant,Godspeed, and Discovery. Upon landing at Jamestown, the first colonial council was held by seven settlers whose names had been chosen and placed in a sealed box by King James I. The council, which included Captain John Smith, an English adventurer, chose Edward Wingfield as its first president.

Lyman Hall arrived in Philadelphia as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress on May 13, 1775.

On May 13, 1798, a Constitutional Convention adopted the Georgia Constitution of 1798.

The Mexican War began on May 13, 1846.

Georgia Whigs, led by Governor George Crawford, Alexander Stephens, and Robert Toombs, criticized the war for raising divisive questions about slavery in the territories. Georgia Democrats, led by Howell Cobb and Herschel Johnson, staunchly supported the war and states’ rights afterward. Because Whigs, nationally, appeared to be antislavery, Georgia Whigs lost the governorship in 1847. The Compromise of 1850 temporarily settled the slavery question in the territories, but the moderating influence of Georgia’s Whigs dissolved in the heated rhetoric of states’ rights in the 1850s. The next war would find Americans fighting Americans.

The first fighting at Resaca, Georgia took place on May 13, 1864 and Union forces marched into Dalton. On May 13, 1864, 257 cadets from the Virginia Military Institute camped at Mt. Crawford near Harrisonburg.The next day they would continue their march to New Market, Virginia.

On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot at St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

On May 13, 2005, the Pentagon Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) recommended the closing of Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Fort Gillem in Forest Park, the Naval Air Station in Marietta, and the Naval Supply Corps School in Athens.

Georgia Politics


Presidential Politics in the Peach State

The Walton County Barbecue has been the highlight of the Republican Party calendar for a number of years. It’s even better than the State Convention because they serve barbecue, it’s held every year, and it’s only one day. But this year, Roy Roberts and the Walton County GOP have outdone themselves, luring a major likely Presidential candidate, as Ohio Governor John Kasich makes his first foray to the Peach State in the 2016 election cycle.

For tickets, call 770-267-2706 or email Walton County GOP Chairman Roy Roberts.

US News & World Reports writes that the RedState Gathering in Atlanta threatens to displace the Iowa Straw Poll in importance this year, with top tier candidate Jeb Bush making the trip to Atlanta instead of Des Moines.

Republican Jeb Bush won’t be at the Iowa Republican Party’s presidential straw poll this summer, skipping the fixture of the pre-election-year political calendar for a competing event in Georgia.

Bush spokesman Tim Miller says Bush will attend the RedState Gathering instead. The annual four-day forum featuring conservative figures runs Aug. 6-9 in Atlanta. The straw poll is a one-day affair, scheduled for Aug. 8.

Bush is the latest in a string of big-name Republicans over the past three campaigns to sit out the Iowa event. The Iowa state GOP has fought to keep the straw poll alive and relevant in the face of complaints from critics who say it rewards candidates who pay for their supporters’ tickets to the event and unfairly gives Iowa two early tests of presidential strength. Iowa is also scheduled to begin the presidential voting in February.

In 2007, Arizona Sen. John McCain opted not to participate in the straw poll and went on to compete sparingly in the caucuses. But he won the New Hampshire primary and the 2008 GOP nomination.

Not to denigrate the self importance of the RedState gathering, but I think the Bush’s decision, as well as Kasich’s trip to Monroe, and the appearances of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Chris Christie this weekend in Athens are part of the SEC Primary dividend. Thanks to Secretary of State Brian Kemp for raising Georgia’s profile in the 2016 GOP Primary.

New Judges and More Special Elections

Yesterday, Gov. Nathan Deal announced the appointment of Jean-Paul “JP” Boulee as Superior Court judge of the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit and the Honorable Michael James “Mike” Jacobs as State Court judge of DeKalb County. Boulee currently is a partner at Jones Day and will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Cynthia J. Becker. Jacobs fills the vacancy created by the appointment of the Judge Eleanor L. Ross as federal judge for the Northern District of Georgia. The appointments will take effect upon swearing in.

The appointment of Mike Jacobs as DeKalb County State Court Judge means his State House District 80 seat will be vacated and a Special Election called to fill the vacancy.

The first announced candidate for House District 80 is Catherine Bernard, who Jacobs trounced in his 2014 reelection in the Republican Primary. Previously, Bernard lost a race for office in the Georgia Republican Party in 2013.

A number of folks in Brookhaven, which forms the majority of House District 80, expect Mayor J. Max Davis, who is nearing the end of his term, to run for the House seat. The mayor’s father, Max Davis, served in the State House after being first elected in 1980 until his death in 2002. Max Davis was gruff and irascible and well-known for consistently mashing the red button on his desk to vote against whatever legislation was then offered. In 2003, when the House passed a resolution honoring the life and service of Max Davis, members were told to hit the red button to vote in favor of the resolution and they lit the vote board up in all red to honor their late colleague.

Anyway, back to the present, and should J. Max Davis, Jr. decide to run for the State House in a Special Election, that will set off a series of dominos. Under the Brookhaven City Charter, upon a vacancy in the office of Mayor, if less than twelve months remain before the next regular election, the City Council appoints a new Mayor to serve the remainder of the term.

Speculation is that Rebecca Chase-Williams, who represents District 1 on the City Council, would be the likely choice to succeed Davis, and then to run in November for a full term. That in turn creates a vacancy on Council, which the Mayor fills by appointment, as less than 12 months remain in the term. I could go on recounting the speculation on who would fill that District One seat, and who would run against her, but that would be third-level speculation, probably going a bit too far.

In House District 24, where State Rep. Mark Hamilton announced his resignation, Ethan Underwood is the first candidate in for a Special Election for State House. Underwood’s announcement also carried the imprimatur of an endorsement by Rep. Hamilton,

“It has been an honor to serve the people of District 24 in the State House, and I thank them for their trust. Now I am proud to endorse Ethan Underwood. I know Ethan, and I trust him. He is a capable and conservative leader who I know will be a champion for our families. Ethan will continue the fight to solve our long-term transportation challenges, fight to keep taxes low and protect our shared values. Please join me in supporting Ethan Underwood for State House,” said Hamilton in his endorsement.

Brian Donegan on GAGOP Chair Race

On Facebook, my friend, Brian Donegan, wrote about why he supports the reelection of John Padgett at GAGOP Chair.

This weekend in the home of my beloved Dawgs, Athens the Georgia Republican Party will hold its State Convention. Unfortunately I will be unable to attend this year due to the Lions State convention in Tifton. It’ll be the first State convention I miss since 2009 in Savannah. That does not mean that I am not passionate about the crucial choice being made by the delegates. Two years ago we gathered in the same place and placed our trust in John Padgett. He has taken a party fighting a civil war amongts its members and united us together on the road to victory in 2014. the pundits said we couldn’t keep Georgia Red. Under John’s steadfast leadership we proved they were totally wrong. We even picked up a Congressional seat we had been fighting for many years! More importantly, a long term strategy of community involvement was launched that will serve our state and will increase our chances of success in years to come.

Am I completely happy with Republicans in Georgia. No. However it is not the job of the Chair to advocate on policy. That’s our job as Grassroots. It’s the job as Chair to unite the party (a very tough thing right now) and make sure the party is funded well enough to get our candidates elected. John passed those items with flying colors. There is absolutely no reason why he should be replaced and doing so would be a mistake of epic proportions. It could mean the difference between a Republican winning or losing the Presidential election – not just here but Nationwide.

Yes John is a friend of mine but things like that are not important to a decision like this. Results do. John Padgett led us to victory in 2014 and we need him to do the same in 2016. I enthusiastically endorse his re-election with pride!

Local Politics

In the Statesboro Herald, we can read of State Rep. Jon Burns and his ascent to Majority Leader in that chamber.

An office closer to the gold dome comes with the job of majority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, so Rep. Jon Burns was in Atlanta Tuesday, moving his office contents from the second floor of the Capitol to the third.

He has also moved into what is generally considered the third-ranked post in the House, behind those held by Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, and Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, R-Milton.

“One of the reasons that I made this effort is to make sure that we have some folks in leadership in the state who are spread around the state,” Burns said by phone from Atlanta, “and certainly I’m proud to be from South Georgia, and certainly this helps Southeast Georgia to make sure that our people’s interests are well represented in the Legislature.”

Burns’ District 159 encompasses Screven County, northern Effingham County and a wedge of Bulloch County to downtown Statesboro. He has served 11 years and is in the middle of his sixth term.

Burn’s major legislative achievement this year was his work on House Bill 170, the Transportation Funding Act. Burns, who had been a state Transportation Board member before being elected to the Legislature, served on the study committee that developed the bill and became its second sponsor.

“HB 170 is a great example of one of the reasons I was willing to take on this additional responsibility,” Burns said. “I think our caucus has proven that the leadership in the House and the faith the citizens place in us has been well earned because we have taken on these tough, complex problems over the last few years, and we’ve provided solutions.”

WABE took A Closer Look at DeKalb iCEO Lee May’s decision to resign his District 5 seat on the Commission.

Former County District Attorney Bob Wilson, A veteran of DeKalb County politics and legal affairs, said on “A Closer Look” he believes May’s decision was more complicated than that, but that it all boiled down to politics.

“When the appointment was made of Lee May to serve as interim CEO, he … had in that position a certain uncertainty and that is, if Burrell Ellis is found not guilty, Lee May will have to step aside and Burrell Ellis will come back,” Wilson said.

“He certainly wanted the solid ground of his commission seat to step back into because it’s very clear he wants to run for CEO and be elected in his own right. So he wanted that position to go back to,” Wilson added.

May has been interim CEO for nearly two years now, since CEO Burrell Ellis was indicted on corruption charges.  Ellis’ first trial ended with a hung jury. His second trial is scheduled to get underway soon.

You can listen to the rest of the nearly-13 minute segment on WABE’s web site.

On WSB-TV, Jodie Fleischer says that Lee May says he didn’t give Vaughn Irons any advance notice that May would resign his seat.

“I will not be endorsing [Vaugh Irons], I will not be supporting him, I’m not in support of him running for that said,” said May.

Here is a copy of that mailer, which hit mailboxes on Saturday, one day after May resigned. Having dealt with political direct mail for 18 years, I can say with absolute certainty that Irons mailer must have been mailed before May announced his resignation, and most likely before rumors of May’s resignation began swirling last Thursday.

Vaughn-Irons-Front Vaugh-Irons-Mailer-Back

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