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

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

On July 20, 1864, the Battle of Peachtree Creek took place in Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a special online section on the Battle of Atlanta.

Sir Edmund Hillary was born on July 20, 1919 in Auckland, New Zealand. He and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first to summit Mount Everest on May 29, 1953.

Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton gave the speech nominating Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis for President on July 20, 1988 at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta. Dukakis accepted the nomination the next day.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Yesterday, Donald J. Trump was nominated for President of the United States by the Republican National Convention. From the New York Times,

In the roll call vote that began the night, formally marking Mr. Trump’s capture of the Republican nomination, 721 delegates cast their votes for candidates other than Mr. Trump.

As Georgia’s delegates were bound by the results of the Presidential Preference Primary, the delegation cast 42 votes in favor of Trump.

Yesterday, I spoke to two of Georgia’s delegates about the procedural vote on whether to have a roll call vote on the Convention rules.

The Macon Telegraph asked some of their local delegates to the Republican National Convention about the 2016 platform.

When he was young, Vance Dean recalls that it was common for nearly everyone in the community to work on farms. But these days, the alternate Macon-area Republican National Convention delegate said, “There are some jobs people, unfortunately, won’t do.”

Stemming illegal immigration is a major plank in the 2016 GOP Platform approved Monday night.

But, as Dean and others realized as they reflected on the details of the 58-page document, there is plenty of work ahead.

For instance, Dean ardently supports the use of the temporary work visas that allow immigrants to stay in the country for a limited amount of time. Ideally, he says, they will then return home to their families.

Alternate Delegate Bill Knowles noted that immigrants play a large role in Georgia’s agricultural economy.

Knowles said he recognizes that sending all illegal immigrants back to their native countries does have some caveats. The sheer scale may make it unfeasible, and it could break up families.

The social side of the platform marked a divide between the younger and older Georgia delegation members. The GOP platform moved even farther right against the LGBTQ community, condemning multiple marriage rulings as the result of “an activist judiciary.”

[Jade] Morey, though, said she thought the party was heading in a different direction, socially.

“You have to remember, the platform is controlled by a very small number of people who have been involved for a very long time and purposefully wanted to be on that committee,” said the 28-year-old Houston County woman.

The Gainesville Times spoke to some local folks at the convention.

“There’s no convention to look forward to,” U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, said. “There are no other theories. He is our nominee.”

“The brutal primary is officially over,” [Ashley] Bell said. “Now we can finish the process of uniting the party and offering America a unified vision of how the Republicans are ready to lead.”

And that’s just the message Collins said he delivered to all of Georgia’s delegates on Tuesday.

“What I tried to emphasize was looking forward,” Collins said. “At this point, it makes it a very clear choice.”

The Savannah Morning News spoke to Dr. Jerry Williams, who is attending the Republican National Convention.

The local doctor was invited to attend the 2016 Republican National Convention by Georgia at-large delegate Jeanne Seaver and Georgia alternate delegate Josh Campbell.

Williams, a pediatric neurosurgeon and “Day-one Trump supporter,” said he’s been enjoying himself at the convention so far.

“It’s a very interesting and fascinating thing. Yesterday, I didn’t miss a single speech,” Williams said. “I wouldn’t even get up to eat until there was a break, because I didn’t want to miss anything.”

Williams said the most impressive part of the convention has been the hospitality he’s been shown by the people of Cleveland and the tireless dedication of the convention’s law enforcement and security officers.

“I can’t say enough about the law enforcement people at the convention center,” he said. “They are unbelievable. Obviously, there’s a tremendous amount of security here. I feel very safe. And the people of Cleveland have been so magnanimous. I’ve been shown true Southern hospitality in the upper Midwest.”

WSB-TV spoke to Gwinnett County’s Rachel Little about the Convention.

“We made a decision a year ago that we wanted to play a role in this presidential race and so I think we will,” Georgia Republican delegate Rachel Little.

Georgia’s 70 plus delegates at the RNC wanted more than just a supporting role at the convention, and they’ll get it.

“I think the fact that Georgia has been asked to be one of the states that actually puts Mr. Trump into nomination speaks volumes about how important Georgia is and where we are.”

Georgia is one of the eight nominating states for the convention as part of the official nominating process.

“Georgia’s not had that honor before. And it’s my understanding Donald Trump requested Georgia to be one of the eight states. I got to sign those documents as a delegate so that was very, very cool,” said Georgia Republican Delegate Liz Hausmann.

“I don’t want to get greedy but I want to win big because this is a directional issue. This is not about Donald Trump, it’s not really about just this election in my view, and it’s about the direction of the country,” Perdue told Farmer.

Perdue said solidifying a big lead in Georgia early will free up Trump and his supporters to focus their resources and attention on swing states.

Seventh District Congressman Rob Woodall (R-Gwinnett) spoke to the AJC Political Insider about the Trump nomination.

“I’m just happy to be happy again. Do you know what I’m saying? You should not come to me for election advice. I picked a candidate and I was wrong. Then I picked another and I was wrong again. Anybody part of that angst brigade? Let’s just hold hands and let it go.”

… “If Donald Trump is ahead of America, Congress is going to say speed up. Or slow down. Or move to the right or left. The job of Congress is not to be the cheerleader, and Donald Trump understands that.” 

“I look forward to working with all of you to walk and knock on doors and make sure the election turns out the way we want it to,” he said.

Governor Nathan Deal spoke on a panel in Cleveland about Georgia’s experience with criminal justice reform.

In Georgia, for example, Deal recalled how his state was the 10th largest in the country in terms of population, but had the fourth largest prison population—a statistic that both surprised and worried him.

Additionally, with 56,000 Georgians in prison, he was told that the state needed to build two new adult prisons costing $264 million—a figure much higher in Bevin’s state, the Kentucky governor said.

Deal and the Georgia state legislature first reformed sentencing for nonviolent offenders, diverting those to accountability courts. He then reformed the juvenile justice system and worked with private partners to help prisons up for parole security jobs once they are released.

“I believe a Republican point of view shows that Republicans are not what many people paint us to be, the lock them up and throw away the key party,” Deal said. “The whole purpose of government, one of the main purposes, is to keep people safe. We know the old methods weren’t doing that.”

Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Hugh Thompson announced he will retire after 45 years on the Court, giving Governor Nathan Deal the opportunity to appoint Thompson’s predecessor.

Gwinnett County and its municipalities reached an agreement on dividing proceeds from a 6-year, $950 million dollar SPLOST to be on the November ballot.

Although Gwinnett County has had SPLOSTs for most of the last 30 years, this will mark the first time the county has ever done a six-year SPLOST. If voters approve it in November, the next time a county and city SPLOST could come before voters would coincide with the 2022 gubernatorial election.

In addition to approving the intergovernmental agreement with the cities, the commission also approved a call to place the referendum on the Nov. 8 General Election ballot.

“Giving everyone a sense of certainty about what’s going to be available for capital projects (was attractive), ” said commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash about why officials opted for a six-year SPLOST. “It gave folks a chance to look at it over a longer period of time.”

DeKalb County Commissioners withdrew a proposal to put a SPLOST and Enhanced SPLOST on the 2016 ballot.

Significant concern was expressed by Commissioners during the morning BOC session regarding language in House Bill 596, that if passed, the Bill would essentially do away with the DeKalb County Homestead Property Valuation Freeze. More specifically, if County Officials place a SPLOST and E-HOST referendum on the November ballot and voters also approve, for the term of those measures, the freeze would be suspended.

Interim CEO Lee May said earlier in the day Tuesday, “It [HB 596] was intended to simply extend the tax freeze that has been going on for nearly a decade. Unbeknownst to any of us, there was a section in there that really has nothing to do with the extension of the tax freeze. If you replace two words in that Legislation, we would not be here today.”

Senator Johnny Isakson (R) has raised $800,000 in the last quarter and has $5.7 million cash on hand as he heads toward reelection in November.

The Dalton Daily Citizen profiles the candidates in a judicial runoff election.

[Steve] Farrow, 58, is running for the Superior Court seat being vacated by the retirement of Judge Jack Partain at the end of the year and faces Chief Assistant District Attorney Scott Minter in Tuesday’s nonpartisan runoff. In May, Minter received 5,865 votes (38.4 percent), while Farrow received 5,535 votes (36.3 percent).

Farrow has held a variety of posts within government. He served in the state Senate from 1993-96 and a two-year term on the State Transportation Board in 2008-09. While in the Senate, he was chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, and he served four years on the State Ethics Commission (2003-06), serving as chairman for two years. He was also on the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, presiding as a judge over cases (2009-13).

“I think the difference is the breadth and depth of my experience,” Farrow said. “My opponent has been a prosecutor 20 years and has represented the state. My career spans 30 years of law practice and six years as a judge. My career has encompassed both criminal law — representing both sides — and civil cases representing both sides through the years all over Northwest Georgia.

Scott Minter is also in the runoff election.

“I think what anyone wants in a judge is someone who will of course be fair and impartial, but they also want someone with a good judicial temperament,” said Minter, currently the chief assistant district attorney for the Conasauga Judicial Circuit (Whitfield and Murray counties).

“If they were ever in a situation where they were standing before a judge, they would want someone who will treat them with respect and dignity, and I have always tried to do that in the district attorney’s office. I come into contact with people who are in a tough spot and in most cases have put themselves there, but I have always tried to treat them fairly and treat them like a person and not a case and not a number.”

Minter, who has worked in the district attorney’s office for 20 years, faces attorney Steve Farrow in Tuesday’s nonpartisan runoff to fill the Superior Court judge’s position being vacated by the retirement of Jack Partain at the end of the year. In May, Minter received 5,865 votes (38.4 percent), while Farrow received 5,535 votes (36.3 percent).

Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Richard Winegarden dismissed charges against Fannin Focus publisher Mark Thomason.

The Marietta Board of Education will vote tonight to set the property tax millage rate.

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