Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 3, 2016


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 3, 2016

General Nathan Bedford Forrest led troops who captured raiders near Rome, Georgia who were intent on disrupting the Western & Atlantic Railroad on May 3, 1863.

General William Tecumseh Sherman began the Atlanta Campaign on May 3, 1864 with troops marching from Tennessee toward Catoosa Springs, Georgia.

Margaret Mitchell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Gone With the Wind on May 3, 1937.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

If the Muscogee County Board of Education were a warplane, it would now have an elephant and three donkeys painted on its fuselage. The Muscogee County Board of Elections has now disqualified every challenger to the incumbent Sheriff, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The Muscogee County elections board disqualified two more candidates for sheriff Monday, leaving incumbent John Darr unopposed in the November general election.

The board voted three to one to disqualify Democrat Donna Tompkins and Republican Mark LaJoye for failing to file affidavits swearing they graduated from high school and failing to file certified copies of their birth certificates by a March 16 deadline.

The board disqualified Democrats Pam Brown and Robert Keith Smith on March 30, so Tompkins was the only Democrat still in the race. Unless challengers mount successful independent or write-in campaigns, Darr will return to office in January. He was first elected as a Democrat in 2008, but now is running as an independent.

When Darr last ran as a Democrat in 2012, he narrowly defeated Brown in the primary. A recount showed only about 60 votes separated the two.

The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) has released grades for Georgia legislative candidates.

Today, Governor Nathan Deal is expected to sign HB 768, the ABLE Act, today at the Capitol. The act will allow individuals with disabilities to save money up to a set amount in a tax-advantaged account to pay for their own care. It helps parents and other family members provide for future needs without reducing the individual’s government benefits.

Gov. Deal is also expected to sign HB 34, the Georgia Right to Try Act, which will allow some terminal patients access to new treatments that have passed the first stage of federal review but are not yet approved for general use.

Deal has also said he will sign House Bill 927, which creates two new seats on the Supreme Court of Georgia, which he will then appoint.

The AJC took a look at Governor Deal’s history with vetos.

Gov. Nathan Deal has only struck down one piece of legislation [religious liberty] so far this year.

Jim Denery [of the AJC] ran the numbers, and found that the governor has averaged about eight vetoes each year, along with a scarcer number of line-item vetoes. He’s never rejected more than 11 pieces of legislation.

Asked yesterday at a bill signing for the FY 2017 budget whether he would sign the Campus Carry bill, Deal demurred.

“Tomorrow (Tuesday) is even a better day to answer that question,” Deal responded, “and that’s when the answer to that question will be provided.”  The governor added that he did not have a press conference planned for announcing his decision.

The Gwinnett Daily Post covered Deal’s bill signing at Lanier High School.

Gov. Nathan Deal used Gwinnett’s Lanier High School as a backdrop to highlight the emphasis that was put on education in the new state budget as he signed it into law on Monday.

The 2017 budget includes $23.7 billion in state appropriations, including pay raises for many state employees. Among the budget items highlighted by the governor were the pay raises for teachers: $300 million for k-12 teachers and another $26.2 million for pre-k teachers.

The Move on When Ready dual-enrollment program also received an additional $29.4 million in funding.

“An education that is cherished and applied can be a catalyst of opportunity,” Deal said during his visit to the Sugar Hill area. “However, if we know the right answers, but never say them, then education becomes a dangerous silence. If we learn old solutions, but never apply our learning to come up with new ones, then education becomes scholarly stagnation.

“If we learn valuable skills, but never put them to use, then education becomes unfinished masterpieces.”

Deal said education has been a priority of his administration because it can give students better opportunities later in life and break cycles of poverty. He called the offering of a quality education that inspires students something “we must strive to.”

The Cherokee County Farm Bureau and Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce will host a candidate forum tonight at 6:30 PM at Cagle’s Family Farm, 362 Stringer Road in Canton, Ga.

Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown has been posting signs urging voters to oppose two of his fellow commissioners and a third candidates for an at-large seat on the Commission, according to

The signs highlight “No Haddix, No Barlow, No Oddo,” referencing three candidates up for the May 24 primary. The sign is referring to Don Haddix, a candidate for the at-large commission seat, David Barlow, the sitting commissioner for District 1, and Charles Oddo, the current commission chairman.

Barlow is running against Eric Maxwell in the Republican primary. The winner would face Pamela Devonne Reid in November.
Oddo is running for the at-large seat. He is being opposed by Haddix, Greg Clifton, Alan McCarty, and Emory McHugh.

Late last week, photos surfaced on Facebook showing commissioner Steve Brown placing copies of that same sign, catching the interest of many, in particular for its stance against his fellow commissioners. Steve Brown is not up for re-election until 2018.

“The public response to the signs has been overwhelmingly positive and are causing some of the politically apathetic to pay attention, which is why Oddo and Barlow are concocting these conspiracy theories, but I have been making my complaints for several years in the public meetings, letters to the editors, and in the County Administrator’s annual reviews,” said Brown. “I am just one in a large group that supported Oddo and Barlow four years ago and deeply regret that effort, watching helplessly as they grind our efforts to protect our quality of life to a halt.  The May 24 primary election is where we all say ‘NO.’”

Commissioner Steve Brown being photographed placing the ‘No Barlow’ signs around the county is the epitome of hypocrisy,” said Barlow. “Commissioner Brown is bitter that he is no longer the chairman of the Board of Commissioners, and he will stoop to any level to regain that position.”

Clarkesville City Council amended its alcohol ordinance, according to

Senator David Perdue announced a series of Mobile Office Hours across Georgia this month.

Northwest Georgia Region
Friday, May 6
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Cherokee County School District
111 Academy Street
Canton, GA 30114

West Central Georgia Region
Monday, May 9
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Upson Regional Medical Center
Conference Room
801 West Gordon Street
Thomaston, GA 30286

Southwest Georgia Region
Monday, May 9
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
UGA Tifton Conference Center Room 4/5
15 RDC Road
Tifton, GA 31794

Northeast Georgia Region
Tuesday, May 17
10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Rabun County Public Library
73 Jo Dotson Circle
Clayton, GA 30525

Metro Atlanta Region
Tuesday, May 24
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Clayton County Board of Commissioners
112 Smith Street
Jonesboro, GA 30236

Central Georgia Region
Tuesday, May 24
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber
130 South Jefferson Street
Milledgeville, GA 31061

The Gainesville Times takes a look at the election for Hall County Commission Chair later this month.

Former District 3 Commissioner Steve Gailey and former Hall County Board of Education member Richard Higgins are vying for this seat in the Republican primary, with the winner likely running uncontested in the November general election.

Current Chairman Richard Mecum is not seeking re-election.

Gailey said his first priority, if elected, is to facilitate partnerships.

“I think we’ve got to try to come to a better working relationship with local municipalities,” he said.

Higgins said his reason for getting in the race is simple: He just wants to serve, whether in church, business or politics.

“I felt like I could make a difference,” he said. “You can’t go through life sitting on the sidelines.”

Candidates for State House and Senate met in a Columbia County forum, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Candidates running for Geor­gia House District 123 and Senate District 24 took part in a panel discussion Mon­day that was preceded by a meet-and-greet and statements from four others running for county commission and school board seats. The forum was held by the Co­lum­bia County Chamber of Com­­merce and the Colum­bia County News-Times.

Peach County will have a new Probate Court Judge after the incumbent announced her upcoming retirement.

Two candidates — attorney Karin Vinson and Probate Court employee Kim Wilson — are in the running for Peach County Probate Court judge.

Longtime Judge Deborah W. Hunnicutt is retiring at the end of May. And while her successor will be determined in the May 24 election, an associate judge will fill in until either Vinson or Wilson takes office in January.

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