Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 11, 2016

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 11, 2016

On April 11, 1768, Benjamin Franklin was named Georgia’s agent “to represent, solicit, and transact the affairs of this province in Great Britain.” Arguably, this makes Benjamin Franklin the first American lobbyist.

Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, was exiled to Elba Island in the Mediterranean, on April 11, 1814

On April 11, 1853, John Archibald Campbell was appointed Justice of the United States Supreme Court by President Franklin Pierce. After graduating from the University of Georgia at 14, he attended West Point, where his fellow cadets included Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. After the beginning of the Civil War, Campbell resigned from the Court and was appointed Assistant Secretary of War for the Confederacy by Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

The American Third Army liberated Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany on April 11, 1945. Among the survivors of Buchenwald was Elie Wiesel; in 1986, Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Apollo 13 was launched on April 11, 1970.

The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the Service Module (SM) upon which the Command Module (CM) depended. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of potable water, and the critical need tojury-rig the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely to Earth on April 17.

Congratulations to the following winners of the Masters Tournament who donned the green jacket on April 11: Seve Ballesteros (2d – 1983), Jack Nicklaus (2d in 1965; 3d in 1966), Ray Floyd (1976), Nick Faldo (1996), Jose Maria Olazabal (2d – 1999), Phil Mickelson (1st -2004; 3d – 2010), and Claude Harmon (1948), the first Georgian to win the Masters.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Last week, charges of false imprisonment were dropped against Wright  McLeod, who is running for State Senate.

A special prosecutor looking into the case against McLeod says the state can not prove its case, so the charges are being dismissed. District Attorney Dennis Sanders says the facts show Jamison was free to leave at the time of the incident and there is insufficient evidence to convict Palowitch and McLeod.

Sylvia Cooper of the Augusta Chronicle took a closer look at the charges,

McLeod was put through the criminal justice wringer by former Augusta Warrior Project employee Janice Jamison who got fired, got mad and decided to hang McLeod out to dry.

But it all came out in the wash Thursday when Toombs Circuit District Attorney Dennis C. Sanders dismissed Jamison’s charge of false imprisonment against McLeod and Augusta Warrior Project Director Amy Palowitch.

Everyone involved agreed that neither McLeod nor Palowitch touched or restrained Jamison. And that day, Jamison did not tell the deputies that they’d kept her from leaving. And when they specifically asked whether she wanted a police report done, Jamison declined.

McLeod called the entire episode a “colossal waste of taxpayer dollars.”

“My wife is mad as hell,” he said. “I’m still a believer that truth prevails. I don’t think my children will ever get over it. If this could happen to me, it could happen to anybody, any small business owner. But at least I was prepared to handle the pressure. Most people would not be.”

Floyd County Republican Party Chair Layla Shipman has stepped down, according to Northwest Georgia News.

Andy Garner, vice chairman of the party, will serve as interim chairman for 30 days before a new chairman in elected.

“We greatly appreciate her service over the last three years,” Garner said.

The party’s committee will meet within the 30-day period and elect a new chairperson. The committee is made up of the executive board of the party and local elected Republican officials, Garner said.

Layla was a model of good leadership for a local party and they were blessed to have her. We wish her well in her next endeavors, and have no doubt she will continue to lead our party in some capacity.

Walter Jones writes for the Augusta Chronicle about the upcoming Georgia Republican Party State Convention in Augusta June 3-4, 2016.

The process began in Feb­ruary when large counties held precinct-level meetings to elect delegates to the March county conventions. The number of delegates at each level is determined by a formula based on the votes for the Republican nominee from there in the previous presidential election. ­

The county conventions pick delegates to the district and state conventions. Preference usually goes to reward past campaign volunteers, but in many counties there were enough delegate slots for anyone wanting to go. Some of the new faces might have been relegated to being non-voting alternates.

The 14 district conventions will be held April 16. The 12th District meeting will be in Douglas, three hours south of Augusta. Having to drive that far to arrive by 8 a.m. on a Saturday discourages some people from becoming delegates.

Each district elects three delegates to the national convention. Then at the state convention, the remaining 34 delegates are elected.

District 12 is hosting the state convention, District Chairman Michael Welsh said events will be planned for Friday and Saturday evenings and a brunch on Sunday.

“We’re trying to make ours more of a destination, get people to stick around and enjoy the city,” he said.

And Walter Jones again, in the Savannah Morning News, on the Georgia GOP Convention,

If Trump, the current leader in delegates, can’t win on the first ballot, then the question is how delegates will vote on subsequent ballots.

“We believe that seasoned Republicans are deserving of the delegate slots, and we believe that Ted Cruz will fare very well with those people,” said Scott Johnson, a former chairman of the Cobb County and 11th District committees and the state grassroots coordinator for the Cruz campaign.

“These are the diehards,” Johnson said. “They are committed. They’re going. They’ve spent a lot of their personal money to fly, stay in the expensive hotels, and they are committed to the task.”

Some old hands at politics dismiss the grumbling, like Michael Welsh, 12th District chairman.

“They are unhappy because they feel like they’re being cheated,” he said. “A lot of that is they just don’t understand the rules, but the rules have been out there a long time.”

Cruz’ Johnson says there have been Trump fans at the county conventions around the state, but he says they weren’t as organized.

“We have been clear on some things that are very important: making phone calls and turning people out to vote in the primaries,” he said. “The other thing we’ve been saying for months and months is you’ve got to attend your county and precinct meetings and your county convention in March. … We’ve been saying those all along because we’re seasoned, party-building Republicans.”

Clayton County will be awash in campaign signs from now until at least the May 24th Primary Elections, with more than 40 candidates on the ballot.

Some 40 people have qualified to run for county commission, district attorney, school board, sheriff and other local offices. It is the most candidates of any election season in the last decade and residents will have a chance to hear candidates’ views at several political forums in coming weeks. The May 24 primary essentially will be the main election for local candidates since no Republican chose to run for any local offices in Clayton.

“It’s going to be an exciting year,” said Pat Pullar, chairperson of the Clayton County Democratic Party and a political consultant who tracks southside politics. “People are paying more attention to what’s going on and who wants to be an elected official.”

A federal district judge struck down Georgia’s requirement that third party candidates seeking a slot on the presidential ballot collect signatures from 50,000 registered voters.

U.S. District Judge Richard Story’s March 17 order in the four-year-old case brought by Georgia’s Green Party and Constitution Party would significantly lower the qualifying threshold for third-party candidates seeking a place on this year’s presidential ballot.

Randy Evans, a Dentons partner in Atlanta who is also a member of the Republican National Committee’s rules committee, called Story’s order “particularly noteworthy” given that it “comes at a time when institutional powerbrokers are meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss the creation of another party should Donald Trump become the GOP nominee.”

Atlanta attorney Doug Chalmers, who served as counsel to Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign, concurred, calling the timing of Story’s order “extremely interesting given the discussion going on nationally among Republicans who are dissatisfied with Trump as the potential nominee.”

Story’s 80-page order, handed down Thursday, permanently bars Georgia’s secretary of state from making political organizations that want to place candidates on the statewide presidential ballot first collect signatures from 1 percent—or more than 50,000—of the state’s registered voters. Instead, Story set the bar for the 2016 presidential race at just 7,500 signatures.

The judge wrote that the 7,500-signature requirement is an interim measure that will expire when the Georgia General Assembly enacts a permanent—and constitutional—provision.

Georgia and Florida negotiators met in an 8-hour conference looking to settle a decades-old suit over water in the in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, (ACF) which includes Lake Lanier.

“The Governor’s office, the Attorney General’s office and Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division have participated in each of the phone calls and were present at the mediation,” the brief states.

A second in-person mediation session is scheduled for this month.

“In advance of that session, Georgia officials will continue to devote time and resources to developing and considering specific solutions that might allow the parties to resolve their dispute,” Georgia lawyers say in the filing.

Well-known Georgia Republican Harris Blackwood has written a column on the death of Merle Haggard that’s worth reading.

I met and spent a short time with Haggard in 1996. He was heading to a concert in Myrtle Beach, S.C., when Hurricane Fran decided to show up at the same time. His road manager called and asked if he could come a couple of days early to Hiawassee for a concert at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds. I gladly obliged.

Haggard asked if we had any fishing tackle and if we could get him a license. I went to town and accomplished both. I sat with him for a little while on the banks of Lake Chatuge. I don’t remember much about the fishing or the conversation, but I enjoyed the time.

The Gainesville Times covered a debate matching Congressman Doug Collins (R-9) and his four opponents in the May 24 Republican Primary.

On taxes, foreign policy, immigration and social issues, the five candidates on the May 24 ballot played to an audience in little need of convincing about the broad policy positions the party stands for.

The candidates generally agreed, for example, on a desire to implement a flat tax; the need to build a border wall with Mexico and increase deportations; and stricter vetting of immigrants and refugees entering the country, particularly Muslims.

It was in their personalities, however, where incumbent Doug Collins and challengers Paul Broun, Roger Fitzpatrick, Bernie Fontaine and Mike Scupin carved out their niche.

“I’ve never run from my record and never will,” Collins said by way of introduction.

Collins’ re-election message is centered as much on what he will do with another term as what he has done in office thus far.

Broun, a former congressman from Georgia’s 10th District, spared no opportunity to question Collins’ votes, often foregoing the microphone to deliver his critiques.

“I have a proven record of fighting for the people,” Broun said.

Collins, versed in Broun’s record, also went on the offensive, calling for facts and truth in the most heated moments of the debate.

The candidates sparred over who best represented the pro-life position before Fontaine took the opportunity to make peace among them all by saying that in-fighting was just what the Democrats wanted to see.

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