Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 20, 2016


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 20, 2016

Today, the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting gavels to order in Hollywood, Florida, with sessions for State Chairs, the Committee on Arrangements, Debates Committee,  Resolutions Committee, and Budget Committee. Tomorrow will see meetings of the Contests Committee and Standing Committee on Rules. No major surprises are expected from the Rules Committee.

Yesterday, RNC Co-Chair Reince Priebus met with Congressional Republicans to discuss the upcoming RNC meeting and the Rules Committee.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus met with GOP House members Tuesday on Capitol Hill to assuage concerns sparked by presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s accusations the nominating process is “rigged.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who will also serve as the chairman of the Republican convention in Cleveland in July, said that Priebus was “received favorably.”

Ryan said questions about the RNC rules continue to come up, including in his own telephone town hall with his Wisconsin constituents on Monday night.

[Priebus] explained that the rules cannot be changed without the support of a majority of the 2,472 delegates — the same amount needed to win the nomination — and promised the public would know more well before the convention, said Rep. Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican.

Talk of potential changes before the convention has sparked concerns among conservatives, including Cruz supporters.

But Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican who has endorsed Cruz, said he walked out of the meeting confident there wouldn’t be any changes before Cleveland.

After the delegates are together, rules changes are fair game, he said.

“If 1,237 (delegates) do it under the rules, then no one should complain about that. But I’m talking about any sort of behind-the-scenes, committee rules changes that would dissuade or distort the nomination process,” Franks said.

Georgia Republican National Committeeman Randy Evans at the Seventh District dinner on Friday night posed a brain-teaser that’s been occupying many in Washington and in state capitols across the nation:

I’m going to leave you with one brain teaser that’s really occupying the leadership at the RNC and the Congress and the Senate and the campaigns.

And this is the brain teaser, as you know typically with a presumptive nominee, what do they do about two weeks before the convention?

They vet a VP.

Now I participated in that, I participated when Senator McCain was considering Sarah Palin versus Joe Lieberman, I participated all the way through these things.

Now if you don’t even know if you’re going to win or not, because you don’t have twelve thirty seven, how do you go about vetting a VP?

And so you can see one of the not yet written on in the media, oh well, until tomorrow, challenges that we face, really is how we go about vetting with adequate opportunity a viable vice presidential candidate when we don’t even know who the nominee will be.

And I don’t know the answer, so if any of you have an answer to that question, I’d be happy for you to share it with me. I will give you the appropriate attribution, but you can see that the level of detail that we’re now getting into as we approach the convention where we don’t have a presumptive nominee in place.

It’s worth noting that Mitt Romney became the presumptive nominee on May 29, 2012 but on this date he had been leading every single national poll for more than seven weeks.

McClatchey discusses how the Republican National Convention Rules Committee will be selected and what they’re expected to decide later this year.

What matters first are 112 people who have a big say in whom the party nominates as the next president of the United States.

They’re the convention’s rules committee, two members from each state and six other jurisdictions. A week or so before the convention opens, they’ll meet to determine how things will proceed.

They can block someone from being formally considered at the convention. They can make it easier for delegates to ditch their commitments to their candidates.

At this point, “the Cruz campaign doesn’t want to see any rules changed on any subject in the middle of the race,” said Lionel Rainey III, a Louisiana Cruz strategist who had run Marco Rubio’s state campaign. The U.S. senator from Florida suspended his effort last month.

“Technically the rules committee can change anything it wants,” [Marylander Louis] Pope said.

But he also saw little prospect for uprooting the rules at this point. Remember, he said, “The rules committee will be controlled by Trump and Cruz delegates.”

Congressman Tom Graves (R-14) spoke to the Fourteenth District GAGOP Convention on Saturday.

He emphasized the many accomplishments made by the Republican Party, ignored and unreported by the main stream media.

One of the issues he said had gone unreported was the extinction of “Common Core,” and in his words it is “dead and gone.”

He talked about the need for Congress to use the “power of the purse” to curtail many programs pushed by the Obama Administration, at the same time assuring a strong military, a strong defense, and said, speaking of the Isis threat its time “we kill the bad guys.”

The West Georgia Neighbor spoke to the candidates for Douglas County Sheriff about their qualifications and the issues voters are talking about.

The Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology was ranked the top high school in Georgia by U.S. News and World Report, as well as #27 in the country and #10 among charter schools.

Gwinnett County Commissioners postponed a decision about a $75 million dollar expansion to the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.

Lonzy Edwards suspended his campaign for Mayor of Macon-Bibb County, citing health concerns, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Barring a last-minute surprise, the campaign suspension effectively clears the way for [Mayor Robert] Reichert’s fourth term as mayor. Edwards’ decision comes two weeks before early voting begins and just five weeks from Election Day. Edwards took part in a mayoral forum April 12, but several days later a doctor told Edwards he was too sick to undergo a “necessary” medical procedure, he said.

The Telegraph also takes a look at the reelection effort of Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-2).

Bishop, 69, will face the winner of the May 24 Republican primary, either Leesburg optician, Greg Duke, 55, who lost to Bishop in 2014, or Macon registered nurse, Diane Vann, 63.

Another Republican candidate for Bishop’s seat, Columbus attorney Bobby Scott, 40, died last week of diabetic ketoacidosis.

[Cook Political Report Editor David] Wasserman said it’ll be difficult for Vann or Duke to unseat Bishop, a 12-term fixture in the largely rural district dominated by agricultural interests.

“November’s outcome is pretty much pre-ordained,” Wasserman said of Bishop’s chances. “Sorry to burst the bubble.”

But after narrowly defeating Republican Mike Keown by less than 3 three percentage points and less than 5,000 votes in 2010, Bishop takes nothing for granted.

“The job doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the people,” he said in an interview. “And I believe I have discharged my duties and my responsibilities over the period of my service. I look at it as a public trust.”

State Senator Fran Millar (R-DeKalb) penned a letter suggesting that the current structure of the DeKalb E-SPLOST may be unconstitutional.

Millar said in a letter to the school superintendent that the school system’s plan to seek a five-year renewal of the ESPLOST violated the state constitution.

While no ESPLOST ever has been defeated by Georgia voters, no school system ever has asked for a tax without specifying each proposed capital project and its maximum cost.

Millar sought the advice of legislative council and the former counsel to Gov. Roy Barnes. Each noted that the laws on education taxes for capital construction are anchored in the state constitution.

That document says the resolution calling for the tax and ballot question shall describe “the specific capital outlay projects to be funded” and “the maximum cost of such projects.”

“I’m trying to throw a lifeline to DeKalb,” Millar told The Crier. “It’s in DeKalb’s interest to ask Atlanta and Fulton County to postpone their ESPLOST votes until DeKalb can put together a project list and individual cost estimates.”

In Millar’s opinion, if the vote of the other two jurisdictions stands and DeKalb’s is invalidated, the DeKalb system can’t go before voters for another five years. He said a suit is likely if DeKalb proceeds May 25.

Two candidates for Muscogee County Sheriff will learn soon whether a state judge upholds a decision by the elections board to disqualify them from the May 24 ballot.

The board on March 30 voted three to one to disqualify Democratic Party candidates Pam Brown and Robert Keith Smith because they failed to submit fingerprints for a criminal background check by a March 16 deadline.

Georgia law specifies those fingerprints must be submitted by the close of business three workdays after qualifying ends. Qualifying ended Friday, March 11, so the deadline was 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 16.

“The law is the law,” Judge J. Richard Porter III of Cairo said as Tuesday’s hearing ended, asking attorneys, “Is there any exception to the three-day rule? … The rule, it says ‘shall’ in three days.”

Porter declined to “stay” or delay the board’s decision after attorneys for the board said election workers already mailed ballots overseas with notices the sheriff’s candidates were disqualified but appealing. Were the judge to alter the candidates’ status, election workers would need specific instructions on whether voters were to be sent some additional notice and if so, what it would say.

Candidates for Muscogee County Board of Education discussed the role of the elected Board members.

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