Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 9, 2015

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 9, 2015

On November 8, 1860, Savannah residents protested in favor of secession following the election of Abraham Lincoln.

President Abraham Lincoln (R) was reelected on November 8, 1864.

General William Tecumseh Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 120 on November 9, 1864.

Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, in the Field, Kingston, Georgia, November 9, 1864

5. To corps commanders alone is intrusted the power to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, etc.; and for them this general principle is laid down: In districts and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested, no destruction of such property should be permitted; but should guerrillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, then army commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless, according to the measure of such hostility.

6. As for horses, mules, wagons, etc., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit; discriminating, however, between the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor and industrious, usually neutral or friendly. Foraging-parties may also take mules or horses, to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to serve as pack-mules for the regiments of brigades. In all foraging, of whatever kind, the parties engaged will refrain abusive or threatening language, and may, where the officer in command thinks proper, given written certificates of the facts, but no receipts; and they will endeavor to leave with each family a reasonable portion for their maintenance.

7. Negroes who are able-bodied and can be of service to the several columns may be taken along; but each army commander will bear in mind that the question of supplies is a very important one, and this his first duty is to see to those who bear arms.

8. The organization, at once, of a good pioneer battalion for each army corps, composed if possible of Negroes, should be attended to. This battalion should follow the advance-guard, repair roads and double them if possible, so that the columns will not be delayed after reaching bad places.

Former Confederate General John B. Gordon was sworn-in as Governor of Georgia on November 9, 1886.

Franklin D. Roosevelt made his 15th trip to Warm Springs, Georgia on November 8, 1928 after winning the election for Governor of New York.

Richard B. Russell, Jr. was elected to the United States Senate on November 8, 1932 and would serve until his death in 1971. Before his election to the Senate, Russell served as State Representative, Speaker of the Georgia House, and the youngest Governor of Georgia; his father served as Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. On the same day, part-time Georgia resident Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States.

The next day, November 9, 1932, President-elect FDR addressed a national broadcast to the American people and mentioned that he would spend Thanksgiving at his “second home” in Georgia.

On November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht began the organized destruction and looting of Jewish businesses and homes in Munich, Germany.

On November 9, 1989, the former East Germany announced that citizens could cross the border to West Germany. That night, crowds began tearing down sections of the wall that divided the city. Earlier this year, former State Senator Chuck Clay spoke to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation about his grandfather’s role in leading the Berlin Airlift that kept the western part of the city supplied during the beginning of its Cold War blockade. Hans Rueffert of The Woodbridge Inn in Jasper, Georgia told of his father’s experience in East Germany and his flight across the wall to freedom in the west.

On November 8, 1994, Republicans won control of the United States House of Representatives and Senate in what came to be called the “Republican Revolution.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

State Senator Renee Unterman was named “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Georgia Chiropractic Association in recognition of her work against human trafficking in Georgia.

“This is a very, very special award,” Georgia Chiropractic Association legal counsel Aubrey Villines said in a statement. “All of (Sen.) Unterman’s accomplishments, before she even ever got to the legislature, are absolutely amazing. She’s just a wonderful person and we’re pleased to honor her for her work preventing sex trafficking.”

The Safe Harbor and Rachel’s Law toughens laws that deal with human trafficking, including the addition of hefty fines for adults and adult entertainment businesses who violate the law. It also lets the criminal justice system treat sexually exploited children as victims instead of criminals.

The age-based statute of limitations for sex trafficking victims was also raised from 23 to 25 under the law, which went into effect July 1.

“The issue of human trafficking is something that’s been near and dear to my heart for eight years now,” Unterman said in the association’s announcement. “At that time, Georgia was one of the worst in the nation for human trafficking and specifically for child sex trafficking. And now, we actually have other states replicating our efforts.”

State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) and Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) will lead a fact-finding group to Colorado to learn about the production of CBD oils that were made legal for treatment of certain medical conditions earlier this year. After the fact-finding trip, the Georgia Commission on Medical Cannabis will meet on December 9, 2015 to forumulate recommendations for legislation.

Butch Fundraiser

Speaking of Senator Butch Miller, a writer for his hometown Gainesville Times notes speculation that he may be looking at a run for higher office in 2018.

The annual fundraiser for the car salesman-turned-lawmaker brought out the big guns in local and state politics, but nothing big enough to scare Miller off as he made no bones about his intention to seek re-election in 2016.

“You couldn’t get me out (of the race) with a gun,” he said. “I try to take myself very lightly, but my responsibility very seriously.”

Debra Pilgrim, who chairs the Hall County Republican Party, said the event brings a lot of attention to local political causes and interests.

It also potentially helps set the stage for the next step in Miller’s career. Some in local politics consider him an early frontrunner in the 2018 race for governor.

“Personally, I hope that (Miller) will go for something bigger down the road,” Pilgrim said. “He has been such an asset since the day he entered office.”

 

I attended that fundraiser and it was the largest in terms of attendance of any state Senate fundraiser I’ve ever been too. Attendance was estimated at 650-700.

Tyrone Brooks, who formerly served in the State House, will be sentenced today on federal fraud charges.

A Warwick City Council race is too close to call with provisional ballots potentially changing the outcome.

Officials say 20 provisional ballots have a Warwick city council race in limbo.

Worth County has been examining the ballots since Tuesday, and was expected to give those that are approved to the clerk on Thursday.

But in a decision Thursday morning, election officials said they were turning the ballot results over to Georgia’s Secretary of State Board of Elections office to be certified.

Worth County leaders said results of the provisional ballots could be released as late as Tuesday, November 10.

As of November 4, Jack Bass had 35 votes, Walter Vinson had 32 votes, and Lechia Garrison had 13 votes.

The Board of Elections and Registration told City Attorney Tommy Coleman those ballots in question in the District 2 city council race appear to involve fraud or fake addresses.

“The Registrar apparently determined that there was some fraudulent conduct, and they were attempting to vote, even though they were not on the voters list,” said Coleman.

Five of the six candidates in the Senate District 20 Special Election on December 1, 2015 met in a forum at Centerville City Hall over the weekend.

Questions were submitted by the audience and each question was directed to an individual candidate. The questions covered several issues that included special tax breaks, casino gambling and medical marijuana.

Asked about casino gambling in Georgia, Jon Martin said he doesn’t support it and if elected, would fight the measure if it comes before the Senate. Martin resigned his seat on the Laurens County Commission to seek the Senate seat.

Responding to a question about raising the minimum wage, Brooks Keisler said he doesn’t support it, because he believes raising it would ultimate lead to a higher poverty level and eliminate any anticipated gains by increasing it. Keisler is a businessman who lived in Kathleen.

Vivian Childs of Warner Robins said she supports balanced budgets for governments. But Childs said she’s undecided on whether she’d support term limits. Childs said she’s more interested in generating higher voter participation, which she said would increase the possibility of elected officials representing their constituents better.

On whether government should approve tax breaks, Larry Walker III said he supports incentives for struggling small businesses. But he also said he’d like to plug the loopholes granted to some larger companies. Walker owns a Perry insurance agency.

Noting that medical marijuana is legal in Georgia, James Pettis said he believes marijuana should be grown in the state. That would give patients easier access to it. Pettis of Kathleen, operates several businesses in Central Georgia.

The other candidate, Michael Reece of Perry, didn’t attend the forum.

Leonard Piazza, who is at the center of the dispute over LaVista Hills balloting, has a history of controversy in a previous election administration job.

He has been an election supervisor in DeKalb County since June 2014, a year after he filed a federal lawsuit for his termination as head of the Luzerne County Election Bureau in 2012 for alleged abuse of authority. The suit is pending in U.S. District Court for the Middle District Pennsylvania, Scranton.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday Piazza said, “there were serious problems regarding the LaVista vote.”

The newspaper reported Piazza said voters were turned away from polling places and he discovered a loose memory card containing votes from a precinct.

“Piazza said he took the memory card and copied information from DeKalb’s voting tabulation server so that he could try and prove tampering. But those actions aren’t allowed, and he has been placed on paid leave,” newspaper reported.

Snellville City Council member Tom Witts will take the gavel as the city’s next Mayor after defeating incumbent Kelly Kautz.

“I promise you it’s going to change,” said Witts, who received 1,297 votes to Kautz’s 733, according to unofficial results. “We’re going to work together to accomplish things for the citizens of Snellville.”

Kautz, who handily beat third candidate Garry A. Lapides’ 358 votes, said she was “completely at peace” afterward and offered congratulations to Witts.

She thanked her supporters for their hard work on a “shoestring budget.”

“I’m asking them now to accept that the people of Snellville have chosen Tom to lead them in the future, recognize Tom as their mayor and put an end to this bickering,” she said. She added: “I hope Tom does recognize though that there are people out there that don’t agree with all his ideas and, as the mayor, he needs to represent all those people.”

Post 1 Councilman Dave Emanuel defeated challenger Barbara Moston 1,390 to 957, according to the city. Roger Marmol defeated Dexter Harrison by 1,469 to 862 in Post 2. In Post 3, Cristy Lenski defeated former councilman Mike Sabbagh, who was seeking a comeback, 1,480 to 862 in Post 3.

Norcross retained Mayor Bucky Johnson for another term, while City Council member Charlie Riehm was defeated by challenger Pierre Levy.

The City of Lumpkin elected a new Mayor and two new members of City Council, while Stewart County voters approved an E-SPLOST sales tax for education.

Two candidate for Gainesville City Council Ward 3 will battle it out in a runoff election.

There’s a lot on the line in the contest that leaves Barbara Brooks, a retired social worker, and Andre Cheek, a program coordinator with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, fighting for a majority of votes.

Brooks captured about 44 percent of the vote in the general election last week, with Cheek earning 28 percent, neither enough for an outright win.

Senate District 43 hosts a Special Runoff Election next month between Republican JaNice Van Ness and Democrat Tonya Anderson.

Van Ness had 2,984 votes, or 38.19 percent of the ballots counted. Anderson was the second top vote-getter with 24.95 percent, or 1,949 votes.

Approximately 170,340 residents live in District 43, that includes portions of Rockdale, Newton and DeKalb counties.

Van Ness, a former Rockdale County commissioner, handily secured the most votes in Rockdale County with 54.42 percent of the ballots cast for her. Just over 19 percent of Rockdale County voters cast ballots for Anderson.

Newton County was a bit closer with 28.99 percent of the 2,577 ballots cast for Van Ness. Anderson came in a close third behind Newton County native Sawyer who garnered 472 votes in her home county. Anderson had 468 votes in that county.

DeKalb was a different picture. Anderson secured 58.04 percent of the ballots cast in DeKalb County. With 20.62 percent of the vote in that county, Van Ness came in a solid second place.

Peach State Presidential Politics

Last week, we noted an upcoming series of six events featuring Heidi Cruz in Georgia, and now FoxNews writes that the deployment of Heidi Cruz may be one of the most powerful tools in her husband’s campaign for President.

During a Republican primary season that has seen criticism leveled against the field for relegating the spouses of the predominately male field to little more than arm candy status, Heidi Cruz has become a vital cog in the machine driving her husband’s run for the GOP nomination.

Cruz’s main role early on in her husband’s campaign has been working the phones to draw in donors, a job she seems adept at given that the Cruz camp hauled in about $12 million in contributions and ended with nearly $13.5 million in the bank last quarter. But she has recently taken her talents on the road to rally voters in the lead up to the fast- approaching Iowa caucus – where the Texas lawmaker is currently sitting in third in most polls.

“I just want to do whatever I can do for Ted and the team to help win this election,” Heidi Cruz told Fox News Latino during a phone call from Alabama, where she was to file ballot access forms on behalf of her husband.

The willingness of the Cruz campaign to put his wife on the campaign trail so early in the season is vastly different from the attitudes of his GOP rivals. Marco Rubio’s wife, Jeanette, says she is content with being a stay-at-home mom; Jeb Bush’s wife, Columba, shies from the political spotlight; and Melania Trump has been called by the New York Times as “passive” and her role in her husband’s campaign as “one seeming to predate gender equality.”

Unlike Cruz’s fellow GOP contenders, the candidate’s wife is not shy about going on the stump thanks to her political acumen and ability to draw in prospective voters.

“She is a huge asset for the Cruz campaign,” a spokesperson for the Cruz campaign told FNL. “She can speak to a side of the senator that others have not seen before.”

A feature on NPR takes a look at the good, bad, and ugly of Cruz’s smartphone app.

The app, designed by a company called UCampaign, isn’t too flashy. It provides news about Cruz, as well as a calendar highlighting upcoming events.

The heart of the app, though, prompts users to acquire points by taking a variety of actions: post pro-Cruz messages to Facebook or Twitter, donate money and sign up to volunteer.

“The idea was to gamify campaign activities,” explains Chris Wilson, Cruz’s director of research and analytics. “That’s kind of a new word that means create games and challenges around doing things that have always driven a political campaign.”

But in addition to prompting supporters to broadcast their support for Cruz, the app also attempts to gather information about people’s social networks and friend groups.

Whenever a new user logs in, the app asks for access to their phone’s contact list. Turning over that information earns a user 250 points. By comparison, a contribution only gets 10 points.

“While we don’t keep anything that they share, what it does allow us to do is identify within a person’s contact list, those voters that may be part of our core targeting list,” Wilson says.

The campaign is searching for information — names, address, phone numbers — that match up with possible Cruz voters. “We have scored the entire national voter file, in terms of their likelihood to support Ted Cruz,” Wilson says. “So if we identify that you have ten friends in Iowa who are potential Cruz supporters, then we’ll ask you to reach out to those people.”

Dr. Ben Carson has released a radio ad that includes a rap written by Georgia-based rapper Aspiring Mogul.

The ad, specifically targeting young black voters, uses rapper Aspiring Mogul and is interspersed with portions of Carson’s stump speech throughout the 60-second ad.

“America became a great nation early on not because it was flooded with politicians but because it was flooded with people who understood the value of personal responsibility, hard work, innovation and that’s what will get us on the right track now,” Carson says between Mogul’s rap.

The purpose of the new ad is to awaken, appeal to and motivate the urban market, specifically catering to younger black voters.

“Reaching them on a level they appreciate and follow and see if we can attract their consciousness about the election,” Carson campaign spokesman Doug Watts told ABC News. “They need to get involved and express their voice through their vote.”

The campaign says “reaching out and talking to them in a language that they prefer and in a language that, and in a cultural format that they appreciate” is a way of broadening its appeal to the younger African-American vote.

“This happens to be a group that we feel pretty strongly is ready and prepared to start working for Ben Carson,” Watts said.

Vulture.com followed up with the rapper,

In December 2014, after seeing Cuba Gooding Jr. play Carson in the biopic Gifted Hands, Aspiring Mogul wrote “The Black Republican,” a brassy cut with lyrics like, “I’m pro-life, I don’t believe in abortion.” “It was inspired by the lack of African-American voices in music as it relates to conservative politics,” says Mogul. “If you’re an African-American who identifies with the Republican Party, there’s a certain degree of house-negro sellout that comes with that.”

Mogul, who has a discernible Georgia accent, also serves as the founder and chairman of the Savannah Black Republican Council, on the minority engagement board for the state of Georgia, and as a youth minister. He was hesitant to give his real name — Robert Donaldson — for some reason (we can think of a few), but given his involvement in Georgia politics, he’s not hard to find.

But his overall aim is bigger than merely convincing the public that Republican rap is real: “The reason I go by Aspiring Mogul is because it’s not about me. It’s about me inspiring other black men, other African Americans, to say, ‘Hey, you can start a business, you can become anything you want to become in America. You can get on Google and Google anything you want to be or anything you want to do. I don’t specifically believe that white America is holding me back or anything that white America is doing or has done prevents me from being successful.”

The married father of two also goes by Aspiring Mogul — AM for short — because it’s to “remind me that a.m. is morning time, which means you need to get up and go about your business. Anytime anybody says “AM” to me, I think, morning time, and in the morning I think about what should I be doing to make myself successful.” Like writing a rap song for Ben Carson.

Sen. Marco Rubio has signed a letter with his Democratic colleague form Florida and both Senators from Alabama encouraging Congress to intervene in the tri-state water war that pit Florida and Alabama against Georgia and the Army Corps of Engineers.

The dispatch raised eyebrows in Georgia. Chris Riley, who is Gov. Nathan Deal’s top aide, took particular exception to it. Referring to Rubio’s letter, he wondered aloud: “And he is asking Georgians to support him for president?”

You will recall that, in June, Deal listed four Republicans he’d be willing to endorse in the 2016 contest. Rubio was not one of them.

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