Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 8, 2016

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 8, 2016

Campbell County Courthouse Fairburn GA 3

Historic Campbell County Courthouse in Fairburn, GA.

The first printed copy of the Declaration of Independence arrived in Savannah on August 8, 1776 and was read publicly for the first time on August 10, 1776.

General George Washington created the Purple Heart on August 7, 1782. Click here for an interesting history of the award.

On August 6, 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia began debating the first draft of the Constitution of the United States.

On August 7, 1790, a delegation of Creeks met with the United States Secretary of War and signed the Treaty of New York, ceding all land between the Ogeechee and Oconee Rivers to Georgia.

On August 8, 1863, General Robert E. Lee offered his resignation in a letter to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, following the Battle of Gettysburg.

Theodore Roosevelt, who served as President from 1901 to 1909, was nominated for President by the Progressive Party, also called the Bull Moose Party, on August 7, 1912.

On August 8, 1925, Georgia Governor Clifford Walker signed legislation outlawing the brazen act of dancing publicly on Sunday.

On August 8, 1929, Georgia Governor Lamartine Hardman signed legislation placing on the ballot for Fulton and Campbell County voters a merger of the two.

The old Campbell County Courthouse still stands in Fairburn, Georgia.

On August 7, 1942, Marine forces landed at Guadalcanal.

Voters ratified a new version of the State Constitution on August 7, 1945. Among the new features was the establishment of the State Board of Corrections to ensure humane conditions.

The board was directed to be more humane in its treatment of prisoners and abolished whippings, leg irons, and chains. Until 1945, prisoners in Georgia could expect to have heavy steel shackles put on by a blacksmith upon arrival. They were then taken out to work under severe conditions.

The caravan bearing 43 ounces of Dahlonega gold to be used in covering the Georgia State Capitol dome reached the Capitol and delivered it to Governor Marvin Griffin on August 7, 1958.

On August 7, 1964, Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which would be used as the legal basis for U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act; Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in attendance and was given one of the pens Johnson used to sign the Act. Here is an auction for one of the pens used in the VRA signing.

Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew were nominated for President and Vice President by the Republican National Convention on August 8, 1968.

On August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon resigned, effective at noon the next day.

On August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon resigned, effective at noon the next day.

The first public website went online on August 6, 1991.

John Hughes, director of every meaningful teen angst movie of the 1980s (except Say Anything) died on August 6, 2009.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence will appear at an Atlanta fundraiser at a yet-to-be-released location on Monday, August 29, 2016. $2700 to enter, $25k to co-host, $100k to co-chair.

On Friday, Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced that results from the July 26 Runoff Elections had been certified.

Secretary Kemp affirms that all 96 counties which held run-off contests have provided the total votes tabulated for each candidate and that the returns are a true and correct tabulation of votes cast in each race.

The certified results of the local, state, and federal races can be found on the Secretary of State’s website through the Elections Division. Following certification, certain candidates are now eligible to request a recount.

The most interesting election results this year appear to come from the runoff election for Banks County Probate Judge. On the day after the election, the local news reported that “Keith Gardiner had 594 votes, while Helen Hewell had 593 votes.
It was not known at press time if there would be a recount, however, there is usually one done when the race is this close.”

But two provisional ballots had been cast in the runoff.

“All provisional ballots were voted on by the Board of Elections and Registration (Ga. Code 21-2-419) and all approved ballots have now been counted with the final outcome: Keith Gardiner – 594, Helen Hewell – 595,” said Banks County Elections Superintendent Andra Phagan by email Monday.

I’m not aware yet of another election in which provisional ballots changed the election results, although the final numbers in Senate District 43 did change slightly when military and provisional ballots were counts, increasing the winning margin of former State Rep. Tonya Anderson (D) from eight votes to ten. Anderson moves ahead to the General election against incumbent Republican state Senator JaNice VanNess.

I had a conversation with another political consultant on Friday and we ended up taking about tie votes in elections. Here’s what I’ve come up with for elections that ended in a tie vote in Georgia.

In 2014, the Republican Primary for Harris County Commission District 2 ended in a 384-384 tie vote, sending the only two candidates into a runoff, which James Woods won.

In November 2015, two candidates in an election for Flovilla City Council tied with 77 votes each, sending the race into a runoff. The number one finisher claimed a seat on the council, and the second-place was to take another Council seat. Willie Morgan took the winner’s circle in the runoff.

Also last November, two candidates for Mayor of Soperton tied and went to a runoff.

The initial election ended in a 243 to 243 tie. Those results came after three of the five provisional ballots were tossed out and a recount that showed Kelly picking up two votes.

Royce Fowler won the runoff and currently serves as Mayor of Soperton.

In 2005, two candidates for city council in Cairo, Georgia, tied in a runoff, resulting in a second runoff. Earlier that year, in Mountain Park, in Fulton County, two candidates for city council tied in the runoff election, then tied again in the second runoff.

Augusta College Republicans teamed with CSRA Minority Engagement to host a public forum with law enforcement leaders.

It was informative: When asked about profiling, Columbia County Sheriff’s Capt. Andy Shedd said his office tracks all officer-citizen interactions. He said the county’s population is 70 percent white and 23 percent African-American – and traffic stops mirror that pretty closely, at 65.3 percent and 31 percent, respectively.

It was inspiring: Shedd and Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree talked about what inspired them to go into law enforcement – Roundtree saying he simply decided one day to become a “crime fighter” and signed up as a mall cop.

State Rep. Jodi Lott shared how impressed and inspired she was on a recent ride-a-long with a Georgia State Patrol trooper – who took a professional, meticulous approach to traffic stops, despite Lott’s concern over who might be lurking behind tinted car windows.

Event co-organizer George Bratcher ended the program with an exhortation to citizen responsibility – noting, accurately, that the quality of a community is up to its residents.

“We hoped to show our neighbors that we, as American citizens and particularly residents of this community, have a responsibility to engage with our elected officials,” says CSRA Minority Engagement founder and forum moderator Jessica Hayes. “And our elected officials need to hear our voice. Our system of government cannot and will not work without our participation, and that’s a beautiful thing.”

State Rep. Joyce Chandler (R-Grayson) received the “Policy Maker of the Year” Award from the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education.

Chandler was named the group’s 2016 Policy Maker of the Year Award winner at its annual convention in Atlanta. Association Executive Director Mathew Gambill said it was in recognition of her years of support for career training programs in schools as a member of the House of Representatives.

“When a student leaves high school with an employable skill, it helps ensure that we will have a well-trained workforce which in turn brings jobs and economic development to Georgia,” Gambill said in a statement. “Representative Chandler’s work has contributed to that effort, and I am honored to present this award to our friend and supporter Joyce Chandler.”

Chandler, who serves on the House education and higher education committees, said in a statement that she was excited to attend the conference, where she mingled with career and technical teachers from across the state.

“I am most grateful to GACTE for this honor, but the real people who need to be recognized and honored are the teachers who provide career and technical information, training, and guidance to Georgia’s young people,” she said.

Supreme Court Justice Harris Hines spoke to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Since Gov. Zell Miller appointed him to the Georgia Supreme Court on July 26, 1995, Hines has heard, considered, decided and answered questions of law in cases brought before the state’s highest court.

“Of the seven members on the court at that time, two had been appointed by former Gov. Joe Frank Harris and five were appointed by Gov. Miller,” Hines said. “I came on as the last one of that, and I think I was the most junior judge on this court for about 10 years.”

Eighteen years after his appointment to the court in August 2013, Hines was sworn in as the court’s presiding justice, the number two spot on the court.

As presiding justice, Hines is in charge of the court in Chief Justice Hugh Thompson’s absence. Recently, Thompson announced he will be retiring at the end of the year, which opens the door for Hines to potentially become Georgia Supreme Court’s next Chief Justice.

The Gainesville Times takes a look at the effect on school budgets of the property tax exemption for seniors.

The value of property exempt from Hall County school taxes has increased 259 percent in the past decade while the overall value of property in the tax digest prepared for the school system has increased by only 11 percent in the same time.

Nath Morris, chairman of the Hall County Board of Education, said the combination of the increasing exemptions and the plummet in property values during the recession create funding problems for the school district.

Full school tax exemptions are granted on property belonging to residents age 70 or older. The assessed value of exempted property has grown to $604.2 million in 2016 from $168.3 million in 2006.

Without the full exemptions, Hall County schools would be collecting $11.4 million more in property taxes.

Without partial tax exemptions some are eligible for at age 62, Hall schools would be collecting another $1.1 million in tax revenue. The assessed value of those exempted properties is $58.9 million.

Steve Watson, Hall County property assessor, said 15.3 percent of the taxable value in the county is exempt from the school tax. That includes 7,597 taxpayers.

The portion of the county population 65 and older increased 36 percent from 2010 to 2015, from 20,010 to 27,256, according to census numbers. The overall population for the same period increased 7.7 percent, 179,684 to 193,535.

Unfortunately, the domestic violence shelter in Gainesville has also seen increasing demand.

The Gainesville domestic violence center, which has 16 beds for those in need of shelter, has been over capacity the first six months of 2016, a trend that’s been growing in recent years.

“The demand for emergency shelter beds in our community is huge,” Butler said.

The center often operates above capacity, placing people in hotel rooms or at centers in neighboring counties.

“It’s a few thousand dollars a year just for hotel rooms … in addition to running a full shelter,”

Tybee Island is considering how to address increasing demand for infrastructure that accompanies increasing tourism. Meanwhile, vegetation is receding in the salt marshes off the Georgia coast.

The Floyd County Republican Party will hold its 12th annual Tillman Hangar Rally on Saturday, August 13, with doors opening at 10 AM and the program starting at 11 AM. From Northwest Georgia News,

There is no charge to attend, but a barbecue lunch from Duffy’s Deli can be purchased for $10 a plate and will be served starting at 10:30 a.m.

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and former state superintendent of schools John Barge are scheduled to speak. A complete list has not been finalized.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign is planning on sending a representative to the rally, but Garner was unsure who it would be. He said an announcement will be made later this week.

State legislators Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, Rep. Eddie Lums­den, Rep. Katie Dempsey and Rep. Christian Coomer will be there too, Garner said.

Local Republican candidates who are contested in the Nov. 8 general election will also address the crowd.

Hope for the Millennial Generation comes to us from the Brunswick News,

A Glynn Academy graduate, [Emma] Johnson, now 18, discovered a passion for politics and the Republican Party, encouraged by her mother, Cate Gooch-Coolidge. Johnson volunteered in support of Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

Earlier this month, the six Republicans competing in today’s runoff for three elected positions spoke at the Golden Isles Republican Women’s luncheon. At Hall’s invitation, Johnson addressed the members as well — surprising and delighting them with her enthusiasm.

At the convention, “Emma was very knowledgable about the current amendments that were being introduced,” Hall said. “She knew all the local people that were running and what offices they were seeking. She has invigorated me in my belief in young people.”

“Younger people have to become involved at the local and state levels,” she said. The Glynn County Commissioners and and other county and City of Brunswick officials are shaping policy now, Johnson said.

She will enroll at Brenau University in Gainesville next month. Through dual enrollment classes, she will bring college hours already earned. Johnson will study history and of course, political science, with plans to attend law school and return to Brunswick and again, seek out millennials to establish a Young Republicans club.

“Emma is our future,” Hall said. “She is so knowledgable and well-spoken. She is a leader and will be a mentor to other young people.”

Craig Camuso from the CSX discusss the importance of rail, freight transportation, and the port of Savannah to Georgia’s economy.

The Newnan Times-Herald opines that the Georgia Public Service Commission was correct in approving expenditures to assess a location in Stewart County for a future new nuclear reactor.

Georgia Power now has authority to investigate the construction of another nuclear power plant, and that was a good decision on the part of regulators.

[T]he commission voted 4-1 to give the investigation the green light. The one dissenting vote from Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald had nothing to do with the arguments cited above. A supporter of nuclear power, he simply thinks utilities should put up their shareholders’ funds for probing new revenue streams.
This panel of commissioners has years of experience and is as well-versed on nuclear power as any in the country after overseeing Plant Vogtle’s two new reactors. Indeed, those reactors are the first to be built in this country in three decades, putting this commission and this utility under an international microscope where every decision is scrutinized by the global industry and environmental community.

In its vote late last month, the commission is reserving the right to ultimately deny construction of the Stewart County plant, even if Georgia Power wants to proceed. And it still hasn’t decided whether to make the company swallow the cost overruns at Plant Vogtle.

“Adding renewables and nuclear together makes sense,” said Commissioner Tim Echols. “I am committed to keeping rates low and energy plentiful, diverse and clean.”

Preserving the option to build a plant for operations roughly 20 years from now is a sound decision and a vital one to maintaining our area’s long-term prosperity. A better option may come along by then, but closing off options prematurely would have been shortsighted.

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