Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 7, 2016

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 7, 2016

Georgia Governor Joseph Brown addressed the Georgia legislature calling on them to consider Georgia’s future on November 7, 1860, the day after Abraham Lincoln’s election as President.

Jeanette Rankin was elected to Congress, the first female Member, on November 7, 1916 from Montana. After leaving Congress, Rankin moved to Watkinsville, Georgia in 1925. The Jeanette Rankin Scholarship Foundation, based in Athens, Georgia provides college scholarships and support for low-income women 35 and older.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to a record fourth term on November 7, 1944.

Democrat Sam Nunn was reelected to the United States Senate on November 7, 1978.

On November 7, 1989, David Dinkins was elected the first African-American Mayor of New York and Douglas Wilder was elected the first African-American Governor of Virginia.

On November 7, 2006, Georgia reelected its first Republican Governor since Reconstruction, Sonny Perdue, and elected its first GOP Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Janet Reno, who served nearly eight years as United States Attorney General under President Bill Clinton, has died.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp tallies more than 2 million early votes cast in this year’s General Election.

With over 2,180,000 early ballots cast in Georgia leading up to Election Day, Secretary of State Brian Kemp announces today that Peach State voters have shattered the 2008 early voting record of 2,129,316 total early ballots cast. This new record will continue to climb today as voters hit the polls on the last day of advance in-person voting for the November 8, 2016 election.

“Georgia voters are highly enthusiastic and taking full advantage of unprecedented access to the ballot box to make sure their voices are heard,” stated Secretary Kemp. “As Georgia’s chief elections official, I want to ensure every Georgian has the opportunity to allow their voice to be heard at the polls.”

Thus far, 166,875 mail-in absentee ballots and 2,013,132 advance in-person ballots have been cast in the November election. Secretary Kemp will continue to provide updated early voting totals throughout the day on his Twitter account.

Secretary Kemp encourages Georgia voters to report any voting irregularities or complaints involving elections to the office’s Investigations Division. To submit a complaint, you can contact the office through Secretary Kemp’s social media or use the “Stop Voter Fraud” website and hotline at (877) 725-9797.

On Monday, November 7, 2016, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp will hold a press conference at the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport at 8:00 a.m. on election integrity, preparedness, and security before flying out to make himself available to media in Augusta, Savannah, Albany, Columbus, and Macon. Secretary Kemp will hold press conferences in these cities to ensure members of the public that Georgia is ready to conduct a secure, accessible, and fair election on November 8, 2016.

In 2012, 212,695 mail-in absentee ballots were cast in the Presidential election and 1,706,236 in-person advance votes were cast. I suspect tomorrow will bring higher turnout than 2012.

Senator Johnny Isakson is also flying around the state today, holding GOTV events for tomorrow’s election.

Monday, November 7, 2016
10:00 a.m. – Columbus
Columbus Metropolitan Airport
Flight Ways Columbus
3250 W. Britt David Road
Columbus, Ga.

Noon – Macon
Middle Georgia Regional Airport
Lowe Aviation
2178 Flightline Avenue
Macon, Ga.

2:30 p.m. – Albany
Southwest Georgia Regional Airport
Eagles of America Albany, Inc
3905 Newton Road #111
Albany, Ga.

5:00 p.m. – Marietta
Cobb County Republican Party Headquarters
799 Roswell St NE
Marietta, Ga.

Governor Nathan Deal joined Congressman Buddy Carter and former Senator Saxby Chambliss in Savannah yesterday to get-out-the-vote for Isakson.

The lawmakers spoke about the need to reelect Senator Isakson at the event. They cited Senator Isakson’s commitment to the Port of Savannah over the years and his seniority as reasons to vote for him this Tuesday.

“It is critical that we keep someone like Johnny Isakson in a leadership position with seniority. Maybe you don’t fully appreciate the importance of seniority in the United States Senate. I can assure you that’s one of the most important elements that he brings to this job is his seniority and his ability to get along with other senators,” said Governor Deal.

“Folks I don’t know of any other Georgian who is been with the Republican Party as long as Johnny Isakson has. He deserves to be reelected. We need to get out. We need to vote for him,” said Representative Carter.

Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach highlighted Senator Isakson’s work over the years building up the Port of Savannah as well as the expansion project as to why he is endorsing the senator.

“We’ve got $700 million coming in to do the ports, we have got our portion in place but we are waiting on the federal government. He is there with his finger on the pulse to push that issue,” said Mayor DeLoach.

The Augusta Chronicle looks at elections across the state tomorrow.

REPLACING REP. WESTMORELAND: Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland is leaving Congress after six terms. West Georgia voters in the 3rd District have to elect his replacement.

The advantage goes to GOP candidate Drew Ferguson, a dentist and former mayor of West Point. The district was drawn to favor Republicans, and Westmoreland won his last contested campaign with 69.5 percent of the vote in 2010.

Ferguson’s opponent, Democrat Angela Pendley of Grantville, reported raising no cash for the race. Ferguson raised more than $1.1 million.

STATE LEGISLATURE: Two state lawmakers who won special elections last year to fill vacancies in the Legislature are back on the ballot.

State Rep. Taylor Bennett is trying to keep metro Atlanta’s 80th District in Democratic hands in a race with Republican Meagan Hanson. The GOP previously held the seat. Similarly, Republican state Sen. JaNice Van Ness hopes to defend her 43rd District seat in metro Atlanta, which was vacated by a Democrat last year. Van Ness faces Democrat Tonya Anderson.

In a controversial south Georgia state House race, Democrats have put their hopes in an independent candidate to topple a Republican incumbent. GOP Rep. Gerald Greene faces the Rev. Kenneth Zachary in the 151st District. Zachary was recruited to run as an independent after Democrat James Williams was told he lived outside the district and was disqualified.

Ron Daniel of The Douglas County Sentinel reviews the state of voting.

For voters who didn’t cast their ballots during advance voting, this will be the final shot at weighing in on who occupies several important offices over the next four years — or two in the case of state legislators.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, at all 25 of Douglas County’s precincts.

The good news for those who waited — more than half of active registered voters cast their ballots early.

There were 36,234 early in-person votes cast in Douglas, 1,916 mailed and 24 electronic, totaling 38,174 and those numbers aren’t final. That total is more than 53 percent of the 71,000 active voters the Douglas County Elections Office reports here.

While advance voting ended Friday, absentee ballots will continue to be accepted through Tuesday.

Carroll County saw heavy advance voting leading up to tomorrow’s election.

Early voting ended at 7 p.m. on Friday with approximately 23,877 residents casting their ballots in Carroll County.

On Friday alone, elections officials reported more than 2,600 voters as Georgia was setting a state record for early voting.

Hall County posted record early voting numbers.

Whether they voted for Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton — or even Mickey Mouse — early voters in Hall County expressed a kind of joyous relief at the polls on Friday about nearing the end of a presidential election that has been as bitter and outrageous as any in recent memory.

On Friday, nearly 3,200 county residents voted, a single-day record.

Wait times neared an hour, according to several voters in line in the late afternoon, and the last voter cast their ballot at 6:25 p.m., nearly an hour and a half after polls closed.

Strong turnout all last week pushed the total early voting turnout to 34,921, which surpassed the record set in 2008 by about 1,000 votes.

In addition, Hall Elections Director Charlotte Sosebee said about 3,000 absentee and 200 overseas military ballots had been received by Friday.

Latino voting was higher in Georgia.

So far, Latino voting in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina is significantly up from 2012, according to Catalist, a data company that works with progressive candidates and groups to receive detailed early vote return information this year.

At this point in 2012, 12,933 Latinos, or 0.9% of early voters, cast early ballots. In 2016, that number has increased to more than double at 31,623 people, or 1.7% of all voters who cast their ballot early.

The Hispanic electorate in Georgia isn’t large, but Hispanic early turnout has increased by 144% from 2012.

Lowndes County saw roughly one-third of voters during the advance and absentee voting period.

During the 17 available days of early voting, 25,554 voters voted in Lowndes County, according to information released during the weekend by the Lowndes County Board of Elections.

On the last day of early voting, Friday, Nov. 4, 2,417 voters cast a ballot.

The numbers reflect ballots completed in person and by mail, according to elections officials.

Lowndes County has approximately 67,000 active and inactive voters, said Deb Cox, Lowndes County election supervisor.

Absentee ballots received between Saturday and Tuesday, Nov. 5-8, will be added to the early voting number, according to the elections office.

Reuters gets a little ahead of itself, asking about what happens if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency.

The comments from U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, who is up for re-election on Tuesday, and U.S. Senator David Perdue came after Republican Senators John McCain and Ted Cruz suggested they might block any of Clinton’s potential nominees.

“You don’t shirk your responsibility when you’re an elected official. You sanctify your responsibility, and that’s what I’ll do. I’ll consider who she nominates at the time she does and make a decision that’s right for the people of Georgia,” Isakson told the Atlanta newspaper.

A spokeswoman for Perdue, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the AJC: “He wants to ensure we have a Supreme Court justice who will uphold the Constitution, and he will examine each nominee independently based on their merits.”

Isakson said he expects the Senate will confirm [Federal Court of Appeals Judge Merrick] Garland before January in the event of a Clinton victory. Some Republicans fear Clinton would nominate a more liberal justice, swinging the ideological balance of the court even further to the left.

Kyle Wingfield looks at the money behind the anti-OSD Amendment 1 groups.

If passed, it would create a new statewide Opportunity School District. Struggling schools that receive an “F” grade for three consecutive years could be transferred to the new district, which could then make changes, convert them to charter schools or close them.

This isn’t so much an experiment as a replication. Georgia’s plan is modeled in part after Louisiana’s Recovery School District, which spurred remarkable gains in student achievement after Hurricane Katrina. It also resembles Tennessee’s Achievement School District, which the legislature created in 2010.

That is what worries America’s education establishment. Teachers unions do not want this model of school reform to spread further. As of Nov. 1, campaign disclosures show, the National Education Association alone has poured $4.7 million into opposing Georgia’s amendment. For the most part the unions are making a conservative pitch: They argue that the Opportunity School District would create a new, unaccountable state bureaucracy that would take schools out of local control.

It’s the same case the unions made in 2012. The Georgia ballot then included a constitutional amendment allowing the state to create charter schools—a workaround if local education boards didn’t want them. That measure passed easily, 59% to 41%, and opponents’ dire predictions haven’t come to fruition. But the union effort this year is better funded, and opinion polls indicate that the Opportunity School District won’t pass nearly as comfortably. Balloting is expected to be close.

Georgia’s economic future—and America’s more broadly—depends on turning around “dropout factories” in cities like Atlanta, Savannah and Augusta. But what worries the teachers unions is that a good idea might spread—from Louisiana, to Georgia, to a dozen other states that are serious about fixing failing schools.

I will vote for the Opportunity School District Amendment Number One tomorrow. I believe in local control, but persistently failing schools suggest that local control doesn’t always deliver the results Georgia’s children deserve. Having watched DeKalb and Clayton County school boards removed after accreditation trouble, I think we need the ability to take pro-active steps before an entire district is on the brink of failure. Sometimes the voters choose unwisely.

That said, I expect Amendment One to lose by 60% or more.

President Barack Obama recorded robocalls endorsing a number of Georgia state legislators.

President Barack Obama endorsed a West Georgia state lawmaker for re-election Thursday, reportedly as part of his first public backing of state legislative candidates in his eight-year presidency.

District 66 State Rep. Kimberly Alexander, D-Hiram, received the endorsement of her bid for re-election against challenger Bruce Emory of Douglasville. District 66 includes central Douglas County and southeast Paulding County.

Other Georgia House candidates endorsed by Obama include challengers Donna McLeod, District 105; Bill McGowen, District 138; Floyd Griffin, District 145; Kenneth Zachary Jr., District 151; Tommy Hill, District 173; and Erick Allen, District 40; and incumbents Taylor Bennett, District 80; Scott Holcomb, District 81; and Pedro “Pete” Marin, District 96.

News reports said it was the first time Obama has endorsed candidates on the state legislative level since his election in 2008.

Georgia Democrats are also working a Get Out the Vote campaign across the state.

Executive Director Rebecca DeHart said the party has 13 offices open across the state with 60 paid staffers. More than 2,600 volunteers have worked shifts to make 420,000 phone calls and knock on more than 95,000 doors. The party has also mailed 472,000 absentee ballot request forms directly to “lower-propensity” voters in a new effort to make casting a ballot as simple as possible.

Now, House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, said, their mission is different.

“The focus now is going to shift from those who early-voted to those who indicated they want to vote but haven’t yet planned to vote on Tuesday,” she said. “We’ll be encouraging people to make plans. The more certain they are about voting the better we’re going to feel about Tuesday.”

[T]he party has tapped U.S. Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson, former U.S. Rep. John Barrow, the Rev. Raphael Warnock of Atlanta’s Ebeneezer Baptist Church, Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson, D-Tucker, Abrams and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin to hit the road for events across the state.

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, too, is barnstorming across South Georgia. In Albany, Carter praised Clinton as a fellow mother.

The Gwinnett Daily Post looks at local legislative races in the county.

Of all of the legislative races taking place in the county this week, however, none may have gotten the attention of both parties quite as much as the House District 105 race between Rep. Joyce Chandler, R-Grayson, and Donna McLeod.

Chandler narrowly won re-election two years ago with just over 52 percent of the vote. Since then, the Republican-controlled General Assembly redrew the lines for Chandler’s district, a move that McLeod argues was done to to ensure the seat stayed in Republican hands. Republican candidates from across the state have also poured money into Chandler’s campaign.

Chandler, a retired educator, explained to the Daily Post earlier this year that she is running for re-election because she wants to continue serving as voice for residents of her district.

“As their representative, I am to be their voice at the Capitol and to help them with state matters of concern,” she explained during the primary election season. “We actually tally the phone calls and email messages regarding various issues, and I vote accordingly. I pledge to always do so unless it is an ethical or moral issue, and then I must vote my conscience.”

Another race where Democrats are buzzing about their candidate is the House District 102 race where Rep. Valerie Clark, R-Lawrenceville, faces a challenge from attorney Sam Park.

It’s been four years since Clark faced a Democrat, having won the last challenge in 2012 with just over 56 percent of the vote. The retired educator and former Central Gwinnett High School principal was elected to the House in 2010 when she defeated then-incumbent Rep. Lee Thompson, a Democrat.

If I still lived in Gwinnett County, I would happily vote for either Joyce Chandler or Valerie Clark for their leadership on education issues.

Gwinnett County voters will see a long ballot and possible lines to vote tomorrow.

What’s up for grabs on election day? A lot, and not just in Gwinnett County. Voters will decide the fate on a range of issues from the county’s proposed SPLOST to who will occupy the White House for the next four years.

“It is a long ballot and, because of the interest, people should be prepared for there to be a little bit of a line,” Gwinnett Elections Director Lynn Ledford said earlier this week. “I wouldn’t say much (of a wait), but it could be as much as 20-30 or maybe even 45 minutes depending on how big the precinct is and the time of day.

“Early morning, lunch and late afternoon are going to be the heaviest times.”

Gwinnett voters have already turned out in droves for early voting in this election, breaking the county’s early turnout record from 2008 last Tuesday. Local early voting sites reported long lines, ranging from one to two hours before the polls closed on Friday night.

In all, Sorenson said 150,367 votes were cast in-person in Gwinnett during the three-week early voting period. Another 14,244 absentee by mail ballots had been returned to the county (out of 22,646 issued) as of Thursday. Sorenson added that 397 of the 959 military and overseas electronic ballots that had been issued had been filled out and returned.

The Savannah Morning News looks at the E-SPLOST vote Chatham County voters will see on their ballots.

Butts County voters will decide on an E-SPLOST in March 2017.

 

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