Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 5, 2015

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 5, 2015

Peter Early was sworn in as Governor of Georgia on November 5, 1813 after being elected by the Georgia General Assembly.

John Clark was sworn in to the first of two two-year terms on November 5, 1819, again after election by the legislature.

Howell Cobb, who previously served as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, was sworn in as Governor of Georgia on November 5, 1852, having been elected by popular vote.

Democrat Woodrow Wilson, who spent part of his youth in Augusta, Georgia and married Ellen Louise Axson, whom he met in Rome, Georgia, was elected President in a landslide victory on November 5, 1912.

Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to his unprecedented third term as President of the United States on November 5, 1940.

Richard M. Nixon was elected President of the United States by a plurality vote on November 5, 1968.

On November 5, 2002, Sonny Perdue was elected the first Republican Governor of Georgia since Reconstruction, beginning the modern era of Republican dominance of Georgia state politics.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

State Senator Judson Hill (R-Cobb) announced an initiative to put a face with a name for every Georgian who gave their life in the Vietnam War.

Sen. Judson Hill (R – Marietta) announced the need for pictures of Georgia’s fallen Vietnam War veterans for a multimedia display at the new Education Center at Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall (‘The Wall’). The display wall honors veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War, including 1,584 Georgia soldiers. This effort is part of a national program by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) to put a face with each of the 58,300 fallen veterans from across the nation whose names appear on The Wall.

“We currently know the faces of 831 Georgia soldiers whose names are listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall,” said Sen. Hill. “However, this leaves 753 Georgia Vietnam veterans who remain faceless. By sending in photos of these heroes, we can better honor those who made such a costly sacrifice for our country.”

Standing with Sen. Ed Harbison (D – Columbus) and Adjutant General Joe Jarrard, Sen. Hill launched the statewide initiative to find pictures of the remaining 753 Georgia Vietnam War veterans. Legislative colleagues, members of the media, as well as fellow citizens in Marietta and Sandy Springs, are asked to search for photos that prominently feature these faceless fallen heroes. To encourage engagement in the Senate, the list of faceless veterans has been sorted by Senate District and will be sent to each senator as part of a larger packet. It is Sen. Hill’s hope that each Georgia Vietnam veteran’s name will have a face and background story associated with it by the end of the project.

Photos of fallen veterans can be submitted online at www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces. Photos may also be mailed to: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Attn: Call for Photos, 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 104, Washington, DC 20037. Please send a COPY of the original photo, as the VVMF will not be responsible for returning any photos.

To see if someone you know is among those without a picture, or to view submitted pictures, visit The Wall of Faces website at www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces. For more information on Georgia’s statewide initiative, contact Sen. Hill’s legislative assistant Macy McFall at 404.656.0150.

I forgot to mention this yesterday. I heard from multiple sources that strippers had been deployed to wave signs for one of the candidates for Mayor of Brookhaven on election day. I was also emailed a photo that I won’t publish, but the skirts and shoes were Ally McBeal length. Not exactly “going to church” clothes, but neither does it prove the allegation. I guess when the biggest contribution to that candidate came from a company tied to a strip club in the city, it’s believable to some folks.

Six Republicans qualified for the Special Election in State Senate District 20 on December 1, 2015.

Vivian L. Childs of Warner Robins
Brooks Keisler
Jon Martin of Dexter
James N. Pettis
Mike Reece of Perry
Larry Walker, III of Perry

Congratulations and condolences to John David “J.D.” Stallings, who was elected Mayor of Thomaston.

Derek Easterling was elected Mayor of Kennesaw.

Across Cobb County, voter turnout was about 18% on Tuesday, which is about a quarter of the turnout level in Presidential-year General Elections.

“Anything in that 17 to 22 (percent) range is about what we usually see,” said Janine Eveler, Cobb elections director. “For some reason, people just don’t come out for the local elections like they do for the national ones. … It’s funny because they have so much more influence on your life at the local level. But it’s not as exciting? I don’t know.”

Kerwin Swint, professor of political science at Kennesaw State University, was not surprised by the turnout numbers.

“That’s why they call them off-year elections,” Swint said. “Interest is way down. The local candidates don’t have nearly the advertising budgets to do radio spots, TV spots. It’s not on people’s radar near as much as when you have the excitement and all the media coverage of a presidential or even gubernatorial campaign.”

When a presidential election is discussed around water coolers and on television as early as three years in advance, voters invest more in the outcome of the races, Swint said.

“That’s a large part of it. It’s also the tendency for people not to attach as much importance or significance to local elections,” he said. “That’s their perception, even though the reality is often that local races actually impact our lives more directly, but it may not be as important to the individual voter.”

In Fayetteville, Ed Johnson was elected Mayor, becoming the first African-American elected to that office.

Another first for African-Americans winning local office occurred in Kennesaw, where Yvette Daniel and Jimmy Dickens were elected to City Council.

In Powder Springs, City Council member Chris Wizner and former member Al Thurman will meet in a December 1 runoff for Mayor.

In Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, Earl Gray was elected Mayor, besting incumbent Lynn Long by more than a 3:1 margin. We will honor him today by drinking the tea named after his forebear.

Ringgold will host a runoff election for Mayor between Tony Hullender who earned 38 percent of the vote and Nick Millwood who scored 37 percent. Apparently, everyone was surprised that the Mayoral race requires a majority of 50% plus one vote to avoid a runoff. This is where reading the rules is important.

Roswell became upset city as incumbent City Council Members Rich Dippolito and Becky Wynn were sent packing by challengers.

In Douglasville, Mayor Harvey Persons heads into extra innings against challenger Rochelle Robinson for a December 1 runoff that is also a rematch from 2011.

Voters went to the polls Tuesday and narrowed a three-person field vying to be Douglasville’s next mayor down to two.

With all precincts voting and absentee ballots counted, Robinson had 1,293 votes or 46.80 percent while Persons had 758 votes or 27.43 percent. The third candidate, Terry Miller, had 712 votes or 25.77 percent.Vote totals are unofficial until certified.

This marked the second time the three candidates battled for a seat that Persons won in a runoff with Robinson four years ago.

In Kingsland, Georgia, Mayor Kenneth Smith won reelection with a plurality of 37.5%, but future elections will require a majority.

Kingsland Mayor Kenneth Smith won his re-election bid Tuesday on what could be the last by plurality vote unless future voters change their minds.

Smith outpolled the closest of his four competitors, former City Councilman Alex Blount 559-509. That gave Smith 37.5 percent of the total and Blount 34 percent.

On the same ballot was a referendum to change elections from plurality to majority vote that passed 955 to 467.

Had the election been by a majority of 50 percent plus one vote, the mayor’s race and contested council race would have gone to a Dec. 1 runoff.

Another ballot measure was approved that will change elections to even numbered years. That change means Kingsland’s next election in 2017 will be for three-year terms to phase in the changes.

Legislative Preview 2016

I’m adding this to the potential bills to be addressed in the 2015 Session of the General Assembly. Legislation was introduced this year but didn’t pass, maybe a little television attention will give it wings.

WSB-TV ran a story about a type of “Super Lien” that short circuits much of the homeowner protections included in the normal lien and foreclosure laws.

So-called “super liens” change the process after the tax sale of a home, allowing a lien-holder to ask a judge for foreclosure in just weeks, instead of months. And it is completely legal.

“We didn’t have time to do anything,” Jessica Davis Sims told Byfield.

Sims said she did not know her uncle was $14,000 behind on tax payments.

“We had two days and it was being auctioned off on the courthouse steps,” Davis said.

When a tax deed is typically auctioned at tax sale, there are a number of rules crafted to help protect homeowners.

Owners have one year to attempt to redeem the property. If the owner cannot redeem and loses the property, they can receive what is called excess funds— money left from the auction after the debt with the tax commissioner is satisfied.

Records show a company bought their tax deed for $130,000 in early June 2014.

The law gives homeowners 12 months to recover.

But Sims was in a different situation. An investor was able to take a “super lien” on her property.

It is absolutely legalized theft,” state Rep. Scot Turner told Byfield. “I think that the people who do this are scumbags.”

Turner is backing a bill he hopes guts the industry. It would stretch out how long it takes to push a super lien through to 300 days.

“It’s happening more and more because it’s easy money,” Turner told Byfield.

Heidi Cruz to Tour Georgia

Heidi Cruz, wife of Senator Ted Cruz appears to be embarking on her own tour of Georgia.

Cobb Meet & Greet, Monday, November 16th, 3-5 PM
Cobb GOP Headquarters
799 Roswell St, Marietta GA 30060

Conservative Republican Woman Reception, Monday, November 16th, 7-9 PM
550 Trackside
550 N Clayton St, Lawrenceville GA 30046

Houston County Breakfast, November 17th, 8-9:30 AM
Bare Bulb Coffee
1117 GA Hwy 96, Kathleen GA 31047

Ladies Luncheon in Blackshear, Tuesday, November 17th, 1-2:30 PM
Okefenokee Golf Club
1204 S River Oaks Dr, Blackshear GA 31516

Brunswick Meet & Greet, November 17th, 5-7:00 PM
Old City Hall
1229 Newcastle St, Brunswick 31520

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