Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 14, 2017


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 14, 2017

On April 15, 1741, the Georgia colony was divided into two counties – Savannah County and Frederica County.


The first American society advocating for abolition of slavery was founded on April 14, 1775, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Benjamin Franklin would later serve as President of the organization.

On April 15, 1776, the Georgia Provincial Congress issued “Rules and Regulations,” which would serve as an interim state Constitution until the Constitution of 1777 was adopted.

On April 15, 1783, the United States Congress ratified a preliminary peace treaty with Great Britain, which was signed in November 1782.

George Washington, recently elected President, left his Mount Vernon home on April 16, 1789 for his inauguration in New York.

“I bade adieu to Mount Vernon, to private life, and to domestic felicity; and with a mind oppressed with more anxious and painful sensations than I have words to express.”

On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln as the President attended a showing of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater, seven blocks from the White House; Lincoln survived nine hours before dying the next day.

On April 16, 1865, Columbus, Georgia fell to Union forces. The Battle of Columbus is widely considered to be the last battle of the Civil War. Though it is not unanimously held to be, a 1935 Act of the Georgia General Assembly declared it the war’s last battle.

RMS Titanic hit an iceberg just before midnight on April 14, 1912. Among those losing their lives was Major Archibald Butt of Augusta, Georgia, who had served as a military aide to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

“Captain Smith and Major Archibald Butt, military aide to the President of the United States, were among the coolest men on board. A number of steerage passengers were yelling and screaming and fighting to get to the boats. Officers drew guns and told them that if they moved towards the boats they would be shot dead. Major Butt had a gun in his hand and covered the men who tried to get to the boats. The following story of his bravery was told by Mrs. Henry B. Harris, wife of the theatrical manager: ‘The world should rise in praise of Major Butt. That man’s conduct will remain in my memory forever. The American army is honored by him and the way he taught some of the other men how to behave when women and children were suffering that awful mental fear of death. Major Butt was near me and I noticed everything that he did.”

“When the order to man the boats came, the captain whispered something to Major Butt. The two of them had become friends. The major immediately became as one in supreme command. You would have thought he was at a White House reception. A dozen or more women became hysterical all at once, as something connected with a life-boat went wrong. Major Butt stepped over to them and said: ‘Really, you must not act like that; we are all going to see you through this thing.’”

“He helped the sailors rearrange the rope or chain that had gone wrong and lifted some of the women in with a touch of gallantry. Not only was there a complete lack of any fear in his manner, but there was the action of an aristocrat. ‘When the time came he was a man to be feared. In one of the earlier boats fifty women, it seemed, were about to be lowered, when a man, suddenly panic-stricken, ran to the stern of it. Major Butt shot one arm out, caught him by the back of the neck and jerked him backward like a pillow. His head cracked against a rail and he was stunned. ‘Sorry,’ said Major Butt, ‘women will be attended to first or I’ll break every damned bone in your body.’”

“The boats were lowered one by one, and as I stood by, my husband said to me, ‘Thank God, for Archie Butt.’ Perhaps Major Butt heard it, for he turned his face towards us for a second and smiled.”

RMS Titanic sunk at 2:20 AM on April 15,1912.

Hall of Famer Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians threw his first no-hitter on April 16, 1940 against the Chicago White Sox in Comiskey Park.

Jackie Robinson, born in Cairo, Georgia, became the first African-American professional baseball player in the Major Leagues on April 15, 1947, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers against the Boston Braves. Robinson scored the winning run in that game.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson visited Augusta, Georgia on a campaign stop this week in 1964.

He came with Gov. Carl Sanders, an Augusta native, as well as U.S. Sen. Herman Talmadge, an influential state leader.

Johnson’s national election over Republican Barry Goldwater appeared certain, and a week later he would easily trounce the Arizona Republican.

Lyndon Johnson, however, would not carry Richmond County on Election Day 1964, and he probably got a hint of things to come during his speech before a crowd gathered in front of the Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building.

He was heckled.

At least four times during a routine stump speech, calls from the crowd interrupted the former vice president who had taken office less than a year before with John Kennedy’s assassination.

“We want Barry!” people would shout.

Johnson didn’t carry The Peach State because he had become unpopular among whites in the Deep South for his civil rights initiatives, according to Merle Black, an Emory University professor who has spoken and written on Southern politics over the years.

Black recalled the Augusta incident in his 1992 book The Vital South: How Presidents Are Elected, which he wrote with Earl Black. He also described Johnson gaining the crowd’s support with the anecdote about his earlier abuse by hostile crowds.

“Earl Black and I wrote in The Vital South that, ‘There was no more booing from the young Goldwaterites after he finished his story,’” Merle Black wrote in an e-mail from Atlanta. “President Johnson’s leadership in passage of the civil rights bill was the main reason he lost Georgia that year.”

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” on April 16, 1965. On April 16, 2006, a new, larger portrait of Dr. King was unveiled in the Georgia State Capitol.

The Atlanta Ladies Memorial Association was formed on April 15, 1966 to assist and honor Confederate veterans. One of its most well-known projects was the “Lion of the Confederacy” memorial in Oakland Cemetery.

Photo: J. Glover (AUTiger)

Kennesaw Junior College became a senior college on April 14, 1976 by vote of the Georgia Board of Regents.

By this time, enrollment had tripled from an initial student count of 1,014 in the fall of 1966 to 3,098 in the fall of 1975. Numerous local leaders were involved in the fight for four-year status, but the two politicians playing the most pivotal roles were state Representatives Joe Mack Wilson and Al Burruss of Marietta. In time the memories of both would be honored by having buildings named for them on the Kennesaw campus

A U.S. Postage stamp bearing Georgia’s state bird and state flower was issued as part of a series including all 50 states on April 14, 1982, with first day ceremonies held in Washington and each state.

On April 15, 1989, Chinese students and intellectuals in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, mourned the death of Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaoban, considered a liberal reformer.

DeForest Kelley, born in Atlanta and known for playing Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy on the original Star Trek series, was inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame on April 15, 1992.

On April 14, 2010, a signature by Button Gwinnett, one of Georgia’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence sold at auction for $722,500 at an auction by Sotheby’s. About 50 examples of his signature are known to exist and six have been auctioned since 1974.

Three years ago today, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon killing three people and wounding more than 260 others.

Happy birthday to former Atlanta Braves David Justice and Greg Maddux, who were both born on this date in 1966.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Trump I_85 Responders

President Trump met yesterday with representatives of the first responders to the I-85 bridge fire and collapse.

Trump commended the first responders, saying their fast action, skill and courage as they battled 40-foot flames saved lives and represented the true strength of America.

Channel 2’s Justin Gray was in the Roosevelt Room of the West Wing of the White House as Trump paid tribute to the Atlanta firefighters, police and Georgia state troopers who rushed to the scene of the fire and bridge collapse on I-85.

“On behalf of the nation, I say you are amazing people,” Trump told the emergency workers.

Gray said Trump offered not just praise, but also promised continued federal support for repair efforts.

Ten million dollars for emergency construction had already been sent an hour after it was requested.

The president also pledged new infrastructure spending.

 Early voting in the 6th Congressional District:


From the AJC:

An analysis of state voter data by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows that voter registration in the northern Atlanta suburbs that form the district has barely budged since the November presidential election.

While Democrats have pinned their hopes on front-runner Jon Ossoff, a party favorite who has so far outpaced the race’s 17 other candidates, they’re also facing a stark reality.

The 6th District electorate is essentially the same as the one that just last fall overwhelmingly re-elected Republican Tom Price but narrowly went for Trump for president.

The key takeaway, however, is that little has changed among the makeup of voters in the district. The 6th has long been a Republican stronghold. It’s more a question whether the national debate has changed any minds.

I disagree with the AJC’s concentration on the amount of change among registered voters, because it’s not registered voters who will make the choice on Tuesday, it’s only those voters who show up.

Elsewhere, the AJC noted that Republican early voting turnout caught up to Democrats.

Nate Cohn, the New York Times polling expert, tweeted that roughly 42 percent of the 46,000 or so early ballots cast are from Democratic-leaning voters, while Republican-leaning voters have cast 41 percent of the ballots. He predicted Republicans will take the lead on Friday, the final day of early voting.

That’s in line with the analysis of Michael McDonald, a University of Florida political scientists who also crunched the numbers.

McDonald tweeted:


From the Los Angeles Times:

“Nothing like this has ever happened before in Georgia,” Charles S. Bullock III, a University of Georgia political science professor, said of the exorbitantly expensive free-for-all the race has become.

“All you need to know about this district is Mitt Romney won it by 22 points and Trump won it by one and a half points,” said GOP pollster Whit Ayres, who is working as a consultant for Handel. “This defines the kind of upscale suburban district where Trump struggled. Karen is the type of person this district has tended to support.”

One Trump loyalist who threatens to overtake her on Tuesday is Bob Gray, a telecom executive backed by the Club for Growth. He dismissed as hype all the chatter that the local electorate is so uneasy with Trump that it could go blue. “I don’t think it’s in the cards,” Gray said. “This is a conservative seat. Let’s be real: Newt Gingrich, Tom Price. The district hasn’t changed that much.”

Said Judson Hill, an anti-tax advocate and Republican candidate: “Donald Trump is not on the ballot here.”

US House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has recorded a robocall urging Republicans in the Sixth District to vote in the Special Election.

According to a House political aide with knowledge of the plans, Ryan taped a get-out-the-vote robo-call set to reach Republican voters in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, where the GOP is hoping to hold on to the seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

A script for the call was not immediately available, but Ryan is not expected to endorse a particular candidate in the fractured Republican field.

Maggie Lee writes in the Macon Telegraph about the relative lack of party line votes in the Georgia General Assembly.

Most bills that get to the state House or Senate floor pass with far more than two-thirds approval.

Republican state Rep. Matt Hatchett of Dublin has a front row seat at the House: his actual desk, and his role as Majority Caucus chairman.

“We do listen to each other,” he said, speaking of Democrats and Republicans.

Charles Bullock, a political scientist at the University of Georgia, has been watching Georgia politics for decades.

He said a lot of things in the Legislature just aren’t that partisan. But he also said there’s a big difference between the Georgia General Assembly and the U.S. Congress: Georgia lawmakers interact and socalize with each other across party lines and they have personal ties with each other.

“Congress used to be much more bipartisan too when you actually knew and liked people,” said Bullock.

State Rep. Geoff Duncan (R-Cumming) spoke to Forsyth County News about his campaign for Lieutenant Governor in 2018.

“The Duncans are excited about this next chapter in our life. It’s going to be a long 18-month journey, but we’re ready for the challenge,” Duncan said. “I think the encouragement we’ve gotten from around the state in the last six months has been very encouraging, and I think the folks are wanting to see folks step up to run for these leadership positions that have policy in mind and not politics in mind.”

“We started minutes after we filed the paperwork; we’ve been fielding calls and requests and speaking opportunities all over the state and continuing to make contact with as many key stakeholders across the state.

“I’m very, very encouraged with the response we’re getting. We know … essentially to be effective in this you’ve got to run a marathon at a sprinter’s pace.”

“I think there is going to be an opportunity to really champion process and procedures,” he said. “One thing that Geoff Duncan as the lieutenant governor would be there to allow good policy ideas to come in and be fully-vetted by the Senate and by hardworking Georgians and hopefully getting those ideas across the finish line.”

He said that if he is elected, it will be a chance to show the entire state the conservative principles of Forsyth.

“I think we get so many things right in Forsyth County – we tackle our problems with conservative solutions,” Duncan said. “I get to hit the campaign trail in 158 other counties to show them the hard work that we’re doing in Forsyth County. We educate our kids at a standard that is off the charts, and I’m very proud of that.”

State Rep. Meagan Hanson (R-Brookhaven) has been named to GOPAC’s 2017 Class of Emerging Leaders.

“As we grow the roster of Republicans who are ready to lead in their state legislatures and run for higher office, our 2017 Class of Emerging Leaders exemplifies men and women focused on boosting their state’s efforts to create jobs and protect their communities. This year’s honorees join the members of Congress, statewide elected officials and state legislative leaders who have benefitted from our mission and programs. We welcome their involvement and are excited to help foster their success,” said GOPAC Chairman David Avella.

The Emerging Leaders program is a yearlong initiative to coach and develop state legislators from across the country on how to be effective legislative leaders. This year’s class will begin their involvement at the 7th Annual Emerging Leaders Summit, which takes place from June 12th to 15th. The Summit gives participants the opportunity to learn from policy experts, veteran lawmakers, communications professionals and seasoned political strategists as well as each other. These leaders return to their states better equipped to advance the ideas they are championing and prepare for the rigors of campaigning for higher office

The Columbus Mayor’s Commission on Government Center and Judicial Building was urged to consider the historic significance of the 1971 building.

Macon-Bibb County Commission appears to have agreed on how to spend $280 million from a SPLOST passed in November 2016 that will generate funds beginning April 1, 2018.

Savannah City Council approved the sale for $5 million of a property in downtown.

Gwinnett County Commissioners revised the animal ordinance to reflect changing the animal welfare shelter from the Gwinnett County Police Department to the Department of Community Services.

Hall County Commissioners adopted a new ordinance setting lower minimum fees for film-making.

The original regulations included a $500 daily fee for road closures and a $1,500 daily fee for use of the Hall County Courthouse. The resolution unanimously approved on Thursday only requires film crews pay a $100 daily fee and a $75 application fee while leaving open the option for steeper fees “considering the duration and scope of any particular project,” the ordinance states.

The new fee structure isn’t intended to replace the initial fee structure, according to Dickson, but instead will be a minimum fee while giving county staff the ability to estimate additional costs of accommodating film crews.

Susan Rector, the director of the county’s business license office that will issue applications to film crews, said the intent of the regulations is to ensure that Hall County and its residents are “treated respectfully” and to “ensure that (film crews) are good neighbors to us while they’re here.”

The resolution still requires film crews to notify the Hall County business license office of their intentions and apply for a permit before they begin a project. Dickson said this aspect of the regulations will be a “major improvement to our current process,” which requires little notice.

It doesn’t apply to noncommercial filming, newsgathering or filming that is deemed to be for a public purpose. The resolution references commercial still photography in its definitions, noting that it’s subject to the application process, but Rector said the intent of the county and resolution is to regulate only large-scale film production.

“We’re talking about motion picture filming or television shows – production,” Rector said after the commission meeting. “We’re not talking about someone who is just wanting to do random photography, whether it’s landscapes, portraits, whatever. That’s not the intent.”

Georgia Ports Authority is planning to expand rail and multimodal service and increase throughput.

“Right now, we have the capacity to do about 500,000 container lifts a year at our two intermodal yards,” Pyron told a packed house at the Port of Savannah Propeller Club’s monthly luncheon Thursday at the Pirates House.

“Our new mega-rail expansion, which is just getting underway, will allow us to double that capacity in the next three years or so, something that will dovetail nicely with the completion of the harbor deepening and the increasing size of container ships calling on our port,” he said.

Meanwhile, strong demand continues to drive record growth at the port, with total tonnage numbers making last month the busiest March in GPA history.

Container numbers were up 5.6 percent, with nearly 312,000 TEUs moved; break-bulk cargo grew 10.5 percent to 232,600 tons for the month, and roll-on/roll-off cargo – autos, trucks and tractors – came in at 56,580 units, up 22.5 percent over March 2016.

“Strong demand from retail and manufacturing customers … is driving growth in Savannah and Brunswick,” said GPA executive director Griff Lynch.

Habersham County is overseeing the rescue of more than 350 animals kept in substandard conditions.

Habersham County Animal Care and Control staff is being assisted by the Humane Society of the United States Cruelty Response Team, Gwinnett County Animal Control officers, the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia staff, approved Habersham County shelter volunteers, Tailwaggers 9-1-1 and Cashiers Highlands Humane — some 50 to 60 people in all.

Additionally, there is livestock on the property, as well as a horse, goats, pigs, a donkey, birds, chickens, doves, pigeons, two chinchillas and a squirrel, Hawkins said.

Hawkins said animal control officers happened onto the animals while responding to a complaint of barking dogs Wednesday.

“We immediately heard barking and it appeared from the sound of the barking they were in distress,” Hawkins said. “I could see 50 to 100 dogs in my field of view.”

With the cooperation of other agencies and county government, Habersham County Animal Care and Control created a temporary emergency shelter at an undisclosed location. Four veterinarians were on site Thursday to triage the animals being brought to that facility, including vets from Northeast Veterinary Hospital, Cornerstone Animal Hospital, Gwinnett County Animal Control and the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia.

“We did have a handful of animals that were critical and had to be transported to an emergency clinic,” Hawkins said Thursday night. “We have found deceased animals on the property as well.”

“As far as I can tell, this is a breeding operation — a puppy mill,” Hawkins said. “I believe these have been under this ownership for some time. We believe they were brought in from out of state. There were 11 animals there on the initial complaint back in January.”

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