Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 31, 2016


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 31, 2016

The Treaty of Augusta was signed on May 31, 1783, between the Creek Indians and Georgia Commissioners. A second, identical document would be signed on November 1 of that year.

The first graduation ceremony for the University of Georgia was held on May 31, 1804.

On May 29, 1836, the United States Senate ratified the Treaty of New Echota, which required the movement of all Cherokee out of Georgia and led to the “Trail of Tears.”

Savannah-born John C. Fremont was nominated for President of the United States by the Radical Republicans on May 31, 1864. Fremont had previously been nominated for President by the Republican Party as their first presidential candidate in 1856. Last year, Bill Nigut at GPB interviewed Cokie Roberts on her book, Capital Dames, and there’s an interesting segment on John C. Fremont and his wife, Jesse Benton Fremont, starting at about 10:30 into the audio track.

The Capital City Club in Atlanta was chartered on May 31, 1889.

On May 30, 1922, Chief Justice of the United States William H. Taft dedicated the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Inside the memorial is a seated statue of Lincoln by Daniel Chester French carved from 175 tons of Georgia white marble.

French also created the statue of Jame Oglethorpe that stands in Chippewa Square in Savannah and a seated statue of Samuel Spencer considered to be a prototype of the Lincoln carving. Samuel Spencer was the first President of Southern Railway and was originally located at the rail station in downtown Atlanta before moving to the Southern Railway passenger station in Buckhead in the 1970s and is currently at 1200 Peachtree Street in front of Norfolk Southern.

On May 29, 1942, Adolf Hitler ordered all Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris to wear a yellow Star of David on their coats.

On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepalese Sherpa, became the first to summit Mount Everest.

On May 28, Tenzing and Hillary set out, setting up high camp at 27,900 feet. After a freezing, sleepless night, the pair plodded on, reaching the South Summit by 9 a.m. and a steep rocky step, some 40 feet high, about an hour later. Wedging himself in a crack in the face, Hillary inched himself up what was thereafter known as the Hillary Step. Hillary threw down a rope, and Norgay followed. At about 11:30 a.m., the climbers arrived at the top of the world.

News of the success was rushed by runner from the expedition’s base camp to the radio post at Namche Bazar, and then sent by coded message to London, where Queen Elizabeth II learned of the achievement on June 1, the eve of her coronation. The next day, the news broke around the world. Later that year, Hillary and Hunt were knighted by the queen. Norgay, because he was not a citizen of a Commonwealth nation, received the lesser British Empire Medal.

The lone surviving member of the Hillary-Norgay expedition tells his story of the assault on Everest.

In 1953, Kanchha Sherpa was just a young boy and had little idea that he would be part of history.

“I didn´t know much,” says Kanchha, now the lone survivor of the first successful expedition to the Mount Everest. “What I knew was I was on a very risky journey.”

Until then, no human being had ever set foot on the Everest. Edmund Hillary was on a risky mission to achieve that unprecedented feat. He was backed by a group of 16 Sherpas from Darjeeling, India. And Tenzing Norge was the leader of the Sherpas.

“Tenzing was a friend of my father,” says Kanchha, now 83. “So, he took me on his expedition. He treated me like his son. So did Hillary.”

The second Brown v. Board of Education decision was handed down by the Supreme Court on May 31, 1955, ordering the Topeka, Kansas schools be desegregated ““with all deliberate speed.”

Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter appeared on the cover of Time magazine on May 31, 1971.

Time Magazine May 31 1971

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The hottest election going today is the Republican Leadership for Georgia 2016 Class Elections. I’m Team Pachyderm, FTW.

If you are an alumnus of the Coverdell Leadership Institute or Republican Leadership for Georgia, contact a current member of Pachyderm to get the password, then confirm your attendance online.

Also on tap for the Friday of the State Convention is a GAGOP Engagement Luncheon at the Pinnacle Club.

Millennials-Minorities-Mavericks:  Convention luncheon featuring nationally recognized speakers, media personalities, policy and political leaders.  Make your contribution to Georgia’s success at winning elections and impacting legislative leadership. Hear from Keynotes including Miami’s Kierstin Koppel,  D.C.’s Karin Agness and a special message from Newt Gingrich.  This is Georgia GOP’s first fundraiser for strategic minority engagement as we plan for election 2016.

The election of Ramone Lamkin over Richmond County Marshal Steve Smith illustrates the growing importance of winning the early and absentee vote.

Marshal-elect Ramone Lamkin, head of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Traffic Division, said his team took advantage of three weeks of advance voting with a tactic to overcome confusion about the election’s move by the state legislature from November to May.

“I had a van going every day during early voting,” said Lamkin, who garnered 52 percent of votes Tuesday. “Everybody said people wouldn’t come out and vote in May. I set out to prove them wrong.”

Lamkin said the Mercedes van’s driver didn’t tell voters how to vote but made them aware of the election and provided easy transportation to the polls.

The effort paid off, according to results. While he and Smith were close in regular voting Tuesday, 9,235 to 9,129, and in mailed absentee ballots, 435 to 453, Lamkin also outpolled Smith in advance, in-person voting.

Results showed that Lamkin garnered 971 more advance in-person votes than Smith, with 3,597 to Smith’s 2,626.

Bibb County School Board member Jason Downey withdrew from the July runoff for his seat, according to the Macon Telegraph.

“After a great deal of prayerful consideration and for professional reasons related to opportunities recently presented to me, I have decided that I will withdraw from seeking re-election to the Bibb County Board of Education Seat for District 6,” Downey said in a statement.

Downey was set for a runoff on July 26 against Bob Easter, who picked up 48.54 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election to Downey’s 39.44 percent.

“I’d just like to thank Jason Downey for his service to our community and look forward to bring our community together for the kids for the next four years,” Easter said.

A rarity in Columbus, as a sitting Superior Court Clerk was defeated for reelection.

Unofficial results late Tuesday showed minister Ann Hardman had unseated incumbent Superior Court Clerk Linda Pierce by 60 to 40 percent.

“I’m excited that the people believed enough in me to put me in office,” Hardman said Tuesday night.

Over the next six months, she would examine office procedures “to see how we’re doing” and look for improvements, she said.

She was unsure how she would deal with a lawsuit Pierce has filed against city leaders over her office budget.

Also in Columbus, a candidate who was disqualified from the Democratic Primary election for Sheriff took more votes than any of the other candidates.

Pam Brown today would be the Democratic nominee for Muscogee County sheriff, had she not been disqualified.

She got 5,798 votes in Tuesday’s primary, more than any other candidate on either party’s ballot.

Next came Republican Mark LaJoye with 3,599, then Democrat Donna Tompkins with 2,358, and finally, with 1,702, Robert Keith Smith, whom the county elections board disqualified along with Brown on March 30, a decision a Superior Court judge upheld on April 21.

The board disqualified LaJoye and Tompkins, too, on May 2, but a Superior Court judge reversed that decision last week.

Now as LaJoye and Tompkins go on to face incumbent John Darr in the Nov. 8 General Election, Brown needs about as many people who voted for her to sign a petition to get her back on the ballot: 5,226.

That’s the precise number needed to qualify as an Independent candidate, if not an incumbent like Darr, who has said he will run as an Independent this year. Incumbents are exempt from the petition requirement.

Sylvia Cooper of the Augusta Chronicle has one of the best reviews of local elections I’ve read.

In the Augusta Commis­sion District 1 race, won by incumbent Bill Fennoy, they’re OK with letting the whole county pay the rain tax to try to fix District 1 flooding problems. It’s still going to flood there, though, because that’s what happens when you live on flat land next to a river.

After years of complaining about Richmond County schools, voters in District 5 elected former school board president Andrew Jefferson to fix city government.

In the Super District 9 contest between two mad men, incumbent Com­mis­sio­ner Marion Williams trounced challenger Ronnie Bat­tle, who as usual had nothing to say. In defeating Battle, Williams killed two birds with one stone – Battle and his friend Com­mis­sio­­ner Sammie Sias, who encouraged Battle to run against Williams. Nobody was actually killed, of course. It’s just a convenient figure of speech.

JUDICIOUSLY SPEAKING: In the Richmond County clerk of court race, Sheriff Richard Roundtree’s secretary Hattie Sullivan soundly defeated Earnest Thompson, which shows that secretaries really do run the world.

State Court Judge John Flythe defeated attorney Evita Paschal in the race for Su­perior Court judge. In each of her speeches, Pas­chal asked people to “punch Paschal” when they voted, but since voters don’t really punch anything anymore, they must have been looking around for something to punch and forgot to vote.

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of Ms. Cooper’s analysis, but I can vouch that she has a way with words and certainly makes local politics that doesn’t affect me interesting.

In Fulton County, incorrect district lines left some voters in the wrong districts after changes in two house seats.

Fulton County officials got caught by surprise when a data glitch caused some voters to cast the wrong ballot in Tuesday’s primary. Turns out, Georgia officials and state Democrats knew of the problem since February but no one told the county until Election Day.

According to emails shared with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, officials with the Democratic Party of Georgia emailed the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office on Feb. 17 after noticing voter maps for House District 59 and House District 60 — seats held by two Democrats on the south end of Atlanta that stretch into East Point — were coded incorrectly, putting some voters in the wrong district.

That means some voters may have received the wrong ballots and voted in the wrong race.

[Fulton County] officials … on Wednesday said they believe fewer than 40 voters may have cast the wrong ballots. Officials were also able to get the correct ballots to an additional 53 voters before the polls closed Tuesday evening, preventing any further problems. The issue was isolated to one polling location and precinct in East Point.

The race for House District 59 resulted in a runoff between the top two vote-getters, but the number of voters affected by Tuesday’s problem would not have made a difference in that outcome.

This morning, we learned from Tim Bryant via Facebook that Athens-Clarke County Tax Commissioner Mitch Schrader died. Schrader had earlier this year decided against running for reelection because of his health. His Deputy Tax Commissioner, Toni Meadows, won the Democratic Primary on May 24 for the seat, apparently without General Election opposition.

Meadow said she has no immediate plans for the tax commissioner’s office, which she will take in January.

Meadow decided to run after incumbent Tax Commissioner Mitch Schrader opted not to seek re-election for health reasons. Meadow ran for the seat with Schrader’s endorsement, along with the endorsement of Athens-Clarke County Mayor Nancy Denson, herself a former county tax commissioner.

Meadow, an 11-year veteran of the tax office, said she “always thought I’d retire under Mitch,” but decided to seek the office with his encouragement.

In Carroll County, Deputy Coroner Keith Hancock is in a runoff with Keith Jiles after a three-way election yielded no one with a majority plus one vote.

A Porous Border

Remember the border dispute between Tennessee and Georgia, successful resolution of which would allow the Peach State to tap into the Tennessee River? North and South Carolina are in the midst of a truing-up of their border based on modern GPS technology. Only a handful of residents of either state are affected, but what a difference technology makes.

South Carolina and North Carolina have redrawn the line between the two states with GPS technology that allows them to confirm the boundary lines established under an English king in the 18th century down to the centimeter.

Nineteen homes are changing states. Three currently in North Carolina will end up in South Carolina, while [Dee] Martin and 15 others are going to change residency to North Carolina.

Bills finalizing the boundary change are currently in the North Carolina and South Carolina legislatures.

North Carolina’s Senate has passed its bill, sending it to the House. South Carolina’s Senate also took action, although with three days left in South Carolina’s annual session it isn’t clear whether the bill has time to pass in that state’s House.

The bills in both states include several items meant to make it easier for people switching states. North Carolina is allowing their soon-to-no-longer-be residents and their dependents in-state tuition at schools in the University of North Carolina system for the next 10 years, provided they live on the same property.

Children who attend a North Carolina K-12 public school but wind up in South Carolina can keep attending that school for free.

A Predator in Savannah

An alleged predator has been arrested in a series of attacks against girls age 13 to 17 in Savannah, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Between August 2014 and last February, girls between the ages of 13 and 17 were followed, grabbed, [assaulted or worse] as they walked through secluded areas on Savannah’s westside. Most were headed to or from school.

All 11 reported attacks and disturbing encounters within a mile and a half of each other.

The descriptions and circumstances weren’t always the same, but it was obvious young girls in the area were being targeted. Yet the attacks went on and on.

“It should have been known that this was going on so the community could have done more to protect their girls,” said Ruby Jones, a Savannah-Chatham Public School Board member who grew up and attended school in the area. “I had no idea that this was going on for this long. … There is a tendency to overlook what happens with our inner-city students because the attitude is that inner-city violence is normal.”

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