Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 1, 2016


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 1, 2016

Today’s historical moments below combine to show some of the major influences on Georgia politics and governance since her founding, and how the same conflicts have played out across the world, from Northern Ireland to India, to stages of rock and roll shows.

On January 31, 1733, six boats carried Georgia’s first colonists to Trench’s Island, now called Hilton Head Island, where they spent the night before continuing on to land in Georgia at Yamacraw Bluff on February 1, 1733.

On January 30, 1788, the Georgia legislature passed a resolution calling for a state Constitutional Convention in Augusta to adopt a state Constitution that conformed to the new Constitution of the United States.

The United States Supreme Court held its first session in New York City, Chief Justice John Jay presiding, on February 1, 1790.

On February 1, 1861, Texas seceded from the Union.

On January 30, 1862, the United States launced its first ironclad warship, USS Monitor.

On January 31, 1865, Robert E. Lee began service as Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate armies.

On January 31, 1865, Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, outlawing slavery.

On February 1, 1871, Jefferson Franklin Long of Macon, Georgia became the first black Member of Congress to speak on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. Long was born into slavery and taught himself to read and write. Long was a prominent member of the Republican Party, speaking on its behalf in Georgia and other Southern states. He helped elect 37 African-American members to the 1867 Georgia Constitutional Convention and 32 members of the state legislature; Long continued after his term in Congress as a delegate to Republican National Conventions through 1880. In 1880, Long’s support of Governor Alfred Colquitt showed that African-Americans could be an electoral force in Georgia politics.

General William Tecumseh Sherman visited Kimball Opera House in Atlanta on January 31, 1879, which was then serving as State Capitol, fifteen years after burning the city.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882 in Hyde Park, New York. In 1942, Roosevelt ordered Japanese-Americans on the west coast of the United States into concentration camps, leaving German and Italian Americans free.

On January 31, 1893, the trademark for “Coca-Cola” was filed.

On January 30, 1935, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. protested segregated elevators at the Fulton County Courthouse.

On January 30, 1948, Mohandas K. Gandhi was assassinated.

1920 Georgia Flag

On January 30, 1956, six members of the Georgia State House of Representatives introduced House Bill 98 to replace the red and white stripes on Georgia’s flag (above) with a Confederate battle flag (below). That same day, a bomb was thrown at the Birmingham, AL home of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On February 1, 1956, the new state flag bill was passed by the Georgia Senate.

1956 Georgia Flag

On February 1, 1965, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. arrived in Selma, Alabama, where he was arrested.

Richard M. Nixon announced his candidacy for President of the United States on Feburary 1, 1968.

January 30, 1972 is remembered as Bloody Sunday in commemoration of the shooting of 26 civilians by British troops in Northern Ireland.

On February 2, 1988, Georgia ratified the Twenty-Seventh Amendment, which prohibits Congressional raises (or hypothetical lowering of pay) from taking effect until the next term of office begins.

Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker was suspended on January 31, 2000 for remarks made to ESPN.

On January 30, 2001, the Georgia State Senate passed a house bill changing the state flag from the 1956 version to one that aggregated the State Seal and five former state flags, pictured below.


On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded while re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

Today is the deadline to be registered to vote in the March 1 Presidential Primary.

Under the Gold Dome

Senate Committee Meetings





1:00 PM APPROPRIATIONS – Agric & Nat’l Res. Sub. MEZZ 1

1:00 PM APPROPRIATIONS – Judicial Sub. 341 CAP




2:30 PM APPROPRIATIONS – Economic Development Sub. MEZZ






4:00 PM APPROPRIATIONS – HDBHDD Public Health Sub. 341 CAP

4:00 PM APPROPRIATIONS – Fiscal Mgmt Sub. MEZZ 1

House Committee Meetings

8:00 AM General Government Approp Sub 506 CLOB

1:00 PM Ways & Means Ad Valoren Tax Sub 133 CAP



1:00 PM Judiciary Non-Civil Pak Sub 132 CAP

1:30 PM Judiciary Civil Caldwell Sub 415 CLOB

2:00 PM Appropriations Health Sub 406 CLOB


2:00 PM Regulated Industries Regulations Sub 606 CLOB


Senate Rules Calendar

SB 279 – Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council; include Commissioners of Juvenile Justice/Natural Resources as voting members (As Introduced) (PUB SAF-7th)

A Ph.D. student at UGA writes in the AJC that the specter of privatized schools is so dire that students in failing schools should continue to be deprived of a quality education.

Gov. Deal plans to centralize the state’s authority over education by appointing an education czar that will operate outside the normal purview of and beyond accountability to the Georgia State School Superintendent’s office and the Georgia Department of Education.

The Opportunity School District superintendent will have absolute authority over which schools become part of the OSD, become a charter school, or are shut down. The schools most likely to end up in this district are the schools that serve poor, urban areas and have a high percentage of minority students. Georgia voters may remember that in 2012, a similar misleading ballot initiative, the Charter School Amendment, came under a great deal of scrutiny. That resulting “yes” vote helped usher in this year’s ballot initiative.

The governor’s primary purpose has less to do with conservatively maintaining local control and more to do with turning the public schools over to for-profit corporations.

Iowa and Georgia in the Presidential Election

This is as good a story about the Iowa Caucus as I read this weekend, and discusses how voter turnout, and how polling and turnout models interact.

135,000. That’s the “magic number” to watch Monday night as Republican caucus-goers gather around the Hawkeye State to choose their presidential nominee, according to data collected and analyzed by numerous GOP campaign officials.

Four years ago, a record-breaking number of Iowans — 121,503 — participated in the Republican caucuses. If turnout exceeds 135,000 this year, GOP insiders agree, it will be an indication that Donald Trump has attracted a significant number of new voters to the caucuses. And if the increase is even more drastic — say, upwards of 150,000, which some Republicans believe is possible — then Trump will likely win.

But if turnout is below 135,000, Iowa will be Ted Cruz’s to lose, for two reasons: Firstly, both public and internal polling shows that Cruz’s supporters are, by and large, veterans of the caucus process, meaning their support can be counted on no matter what. Secondly, the Cruz campaign has poured massive resources into a field operation to successfully identify, persuade, and recruit voters. Cruz’s team, with the help of advanced analytics and micro-targeting, has a very good idea of exactly who is going to show up and vote for them Monday night.

And a good piece in the New York Times contrasting the classic targeted Cruz ground game with Trump’s air war in Iowa.

Senator Ted Cruz’s leading Iowa supporters say his get-out-the-vote operation is the best they have seen for a presidential campaign here. He had better hope they are right.

With his monthlong lead in the polls erased, Mr. Cruz’s hopes for pulling out a much-needed victory over Donald J. Trump in the Iowa caucuses on Monday now rest in the hands of thousands of campaign workers and supporters who are spending this weekend telephoning, emailing and knocking on the doors of likely caucusgoers.

Mr. Cruz’s campaign boasts a chairman or chairwoman for each of Iowa’s 99 counties, captains in 1,537 of the state’s 1,681 precincts, and 10,000 people from this state and beyond who have volunteered to help in the final push.

But it is precisely whom all those Cruz backers are striving to reach, and reach again, that illustrates the differing approaches and expectations of the Cruz and Trump campaigns.

It is a sophisticated, narrowly tailored approach: Borrowing from the latest research in behavioral psychology, the campaign gave its precinct captains talking points from which to write personal notes or to make calls telling supporters that the captains were looking forward to seeing them on Monday.

“If I know someone’s looking for me on caucus night — if you and I are planning to see each other on caucus night, I’m more inclined to go because I want to keep my commitment to you to show up,” Mr. English said.

Mr. Trump’s campaign, conversely, is counting on a surge of new caucus participants with little experience of what can be a forbidding process. The pamphlets he passes out at his rallies include instructions to find one’s precinct online, reminders that one can register as a Republican right before caucusing, and bullet points noting that “the ballot is secret” and that “most caucuses take less than one hour!”

It’s a fascinating case study between two styles of campaign, one that is replicated in style if not scope, in well-run campaigns at all levels, and the second one that may never be replicated because it relies upon the star power of the candidate.

A story broke over the weekend about a couple of direct mail pieces we may be seeing here in Georgia in coming weeks.

Tom Hinkeldey, a resident of Alta, Iowa, tweeted a photo (which was later deleted because it included his personal address) on Friday evening of a mailer Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign sent addressed to his wife, Steffany. The mailer was a large card printed to look like a manila envelope on one side and was labeled in all capital letters, “ELECTION ALERT,” “VOTER VIOLATION,” “PUBLIC RECORD,” and “FURTHER ACTION NEEDED.”

On the other side, the mailer said in red letters at the top, “VOTING VIOLATION.” The text then reads:

You are receiving this election notice because of low expected voter turnout in your area. Your individual voting history as well as your neighbors’ are public record. Their scores are published below, and many of them will see your score as well. CAUCUS ON MONDAY TO IMPROVE YOUR SCORE and please encourage your neighbors to caucus as well. A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses.

The mailer then listed his and Steffany’s name, along with five of their neighbors.

Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler confirmed to IJ Review that the mailer was theirs in a phone call Friday evening, saying that the targeting had been “very narrow, but the caucuses are important and we want people who haven’t voted before to vote.”

“These kind of mailers are fraught with risk,” said Republican media strategist Rick Wilson, who has done some work for a Rubio Super PAC. “They do work, but the social pressure stuff has got to be subtle. This, on the other hand, is like a sledgehammer.”

Over the weekend, it turned out that Sen. Marco Rubio did a version of the mailer, but his used softer language and didn’t have words like “VOTER VIOLATION”  and “PUBLIC RECORD.”

Here’s a good backgrounder on “social pressure” tactics in political campaigns, which were pioneered by the Obama Presidential campaigns.

Believe it or not, posting information about voting on Facebook gets people to the polls in the real world, a study looking at data from the 2010 midterm elections found. The researchers presented three varieties of messages to eligible voters on Facebook: one social one that showed friends who’d voted, one that had strict voting information, and one that was no message at all. Those who had their friends’ faces linked to the message were more likely to vote in the real world, proving that my Facebook friend Kathryn (above) isn’t alone in feeling the peer pressure of her social network. It also helps explain why the Obama campaign sent out an email earlier today urging his people to “remind friends to vote” using the Facebook widget above.

The researchers attribute their findings to “social influence,” but other studies suggest it’s more emotional than just seeing a friend do something that can get people to vote. This is about two powerful motivators: Shame and FoMo (the fear of missing out).

Another study found that shame has a lot to do with voting behavior, too. The researchers ran a mailer campaign that threatened to share voting information between neighbors. That move (i.e., shaming) led to a 1.8 percent increase in turnout, as Issenberg explained to Stephen Colbert last night. That follows a 1996 study that found that in-person canvassing increased voter turn-out more than less personal moves like a phone call or mailer. Making people accountable for their voting record matters.

Over the last week, a small group of Georgians went to Iowa to campaign for Ted Cruz. Here’s part of the phone-banking operation. You may notice fellow Georgia Republicans Kathy Hildebrand and Judy Craft in the photo.

Cruz Iowa Phone Bank

Of course, they took homemade cookies to Iowa.

Cruz Iowa Cookies

And a map shows where volunteers came from.

Cruz Campaign Map

The large number of Texans, and Georgians like Brant Frost, IV, below, probably stood out by being less well-dressed for the weather.

Brant Frost IV


Katie Frost 2 phones_1200

Katie Frost of Newnan works the phones in Iowa at the Cruz campaign headquarters. The phones look like the Victory Solutions VOIP system, which I have some experience using here in Georgia.

The best photo I’ve seen out of Iowa, however, is this one: it’s actually a photo of a photo that hangs in the Rick Santorum campaign headquarters.

Santorum Rubio Iowa

A group of Coweta County volunteers for Ben Carson’s campaign have begun working toward the March 1 Presidential Preference Primary, according to the Times-Herald.

Newnan resident Dr. Cindy McCloud is the leader of the committee, which held its first volunteer training Friday, Jan. 22. The committee campaigns for Dr. Ben Carson, who is a 2016 Republican presidential nominee.

“I have never been this involved in politics, other than voting” said McCloud. “I never intended to be. I saw a post on Facebook and the Ben Carson website saying they needed volunteers for the campaign. I contacted the coordinator for the campaign and I was invited to a volunteer training. After the volunteer training, the leader asked me if I was interested in a leadership role, which I was definitely not expecting. I told her I had to pray about it and see what God would lead me to do.”

“He is focused on putting the power of the government back into the hands of the people like it should be,” said McCloud. “He wants to put the country back in line with the principles that this country was built on.”

And the Trump Georgia campaign continues to work the phones from their Headquarters in Cobb County.

Trump Campaign GA

Local Notes

Coweta County Probate Judge Mary T. Cranford announced she will run for reelection this year.

State Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-106 Lawrenceville) announced he will seek reelection.

Thursday at 7 PM, the Ben Cowart campaign for Fulton County Sheriff is hosting an event with Kris “Tanto” Paronto at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

Ben Cowart Event

Monroe Public Safety Director Keith Glass announced he will run for Walton County Sheriff against incumbent Sheriff Joe Chapman.

“Since 2004, my friends and neighbors have asked me to consider running for sheriff of Walton County, but my answer has been no every election cycle,” Glass said in his announcement. “Over the last 18 months I have really spent a lot of time, a lot of thought and a lot of prayer, and after deep consideration and countless hours of toiling over the decision, I present myself, Keith Glass, as a candidate for Sheriff of Walton County.”

Sheriff Joe Chapman, who has been aware of the rumors for several months, said he would prefer to have some time to digest the announcement by Glass before commenting.

“But I am definitely running for reelection,” Chapman said, adding he would be making an official announcement in the coming days. However, he has already begun campaigning, sending out a mailer touting his successes during his three terms as Sheriff.

Newnan City Council has endorsed the plan promoted by the City of Columbus for high-speed rail between Atlanta and Columbus.

Columbus Mayor Teresa Pike Tomlinson has been a strong advocate for the rail line for several years. She spoke several months ago at a Newnan Rotary Club luncheon at Newnan Country Club about the project.

Tomlinson contacted Newnan Mayor Keith Brady earlier this month – asking him for “a letter or resolution of support” and expressing appreciation for Brady’s “interest and partnership in this exciting endeavor.”

The proposal calls for placement of a rail line along existing interstate right-of-way, running 90 miles from Columbus to Atlanta with a single stop in Newnan. The rail line – with trains running up to 220 miles per hour – would make a 15-minute trip to Atlanta possible.

A commission named by Tomlinson has been meeting since January 2012 to study passenger rail options. Tomlinson has cited a study that shows revenues of $28.5 million would exceed annual maintenance/operations costs of $23.5 million the first year.

Total cost of the project is estimated at $3.9 billion. The project is estimated to create 42,900-109,200 jobs.


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