Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 19, 2017


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 19, 2017

On April 20, 1861, Robert E. Lee resigned his commission as a Colonel in the United States Army.

On April 20, 1982, the Atlanta Braves set a major league record, winning the first twelve games of the regular season.

On April 20, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation authorizing a $165 billion dollar bailout for Social Security, saying,

“This bill demonstrates for all time our nation’s ironclad commitment to Social Security. It assures the elderly that America will always keep the promises made in troubled times a half a century ago. It assures those who are still working that they, too, have a pact with the future. From this day forward, they have one pledge that they will get their fair share of benefits when they retire.”

On April 20, 1992, Governor Zell Miller signed legislation naming Pogo ‘Possum the official state possum of Georgia.

On April 20, 1999, two students entered Columbine High School in Colorado and killed twelve student and one teacher, and wounded 23 others before shooting themselves.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former Congressman Dawson Mathis died yesterday at the age of 76. From the Albany Herald:

Mathis, who died Monday, served as U.S. representative for the 2nd Congressional District of Georgia from 1971-81, succeeding U.S. Rep. Maston O’Neal Jr., D-Bainbridge, who decided not to run for re-election in 1970.

Mathis left that House seat to run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1980, and then attempted in 1982 to return to his House post by challenging his successor, U.S. Rep. Charles Hatcher, D-Newton.

Mathis left his 2nd District office in 1980 to challenge fellow Democrat U.S. Sen. Herman Talmadge, who had been censured by the Senate for financial misconduct. Talmadge, who had served in the Senate since 1957, survived the challenge from Mathis and a runoff election against future Georgia governor and U.S. senator Zell Miller, but was defeated by Republican Mack Mattingly that fall in the general election.

In April 1982, Mathis, who had served on House Agriculture Committee subcommittees that oversaw peanut and tobacco legislation, announced he would seek to regain his House seat. Pledging that, if successful, he would not abandon it again to run for higher office, he said that he wanted to remain politically active and described his idea of public service.

Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner died after a long fight with cancer.

Garner is the commissioner for District 4, which encompasses the heart of the City of Atlanta, Midtown, and neighborhoods west of downtown Atlanta to Fulton Industrial Boulevard.

She was appointed to the Transition Team of Mayor Elect Maynard Jackson and the Atlanta Olympic Citizen’s Advisory Commission. She also served as Senior Advisor on Gay and Lesbian Issues under Mayor Jackson.

Under Mayor Kasim Reed, Commissioner Garner served as a member of the Public Works Commissioner Search Committee.

Gwinnett County Commission Chair Charlotte Nash wrote about Garner on Facebook:

Joan was a special person who could find common ground with just about anyone and who disagreed with grace when she felt it was necessary. I was honored that she accepted my invitation to serve as a member of ACCG’s Executive Committee during my year as President. She brought a special sort of wisdom to our deliberations! God’s peace to Jane as she grieves.

Cobb County Commissioners met with employees of the Georgia Secretary of State’s office to discuss the theft of voting equipment before yesterday’s campaign.

The unannounced meeting occurred at about noon Monday in a conference room in the basement of Cobb County State Court on East Park Square in downtown Marietta. Commissioners typically hold meetings in the Cobb Government Building on Cherokee Street, either in the second-floor commission chamber that can hold members of the public, or the third-floor commissioners’ boardroom, which is much smaller.

“We had a special called emergency meeting with the secretary of state’s office, his chief of staff and several of his staff members to discuss the theft and the investigation, and chairman (Mike Boyce) authorized our police department to share information and work with their investigators in anything they needed to continue the investigation,” county spokesperson Sheri Kell said.

Monday’s meeting had been called by Cobb Chairman Mike Boyce in concert with officials with the secretary of state. Boyce said he found out about the theft of the devices at about 9:30 a.m. Monday, and by noon, he, the entire Board of Commissioners and other officials were meeting with representatives from Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office.

“That’s how seriously both sides took this to mean,” Boyce said. “(Kemp’s office) expressed their concern about what had happened over the weekend, so I thought this was a serious enough concern that everyone on the board should hear about. So they came up from Atlanta, sat down with us and explained to us what are the implications.”

Others in attendance at the meeting included Cobb Board of Elections and Registration Chairman Phil Daniell, Cobb County Manager David Hankerson, County Attorney Deborah Dance and County Clerk Pamela Mabry.

Sixth Congressional District

President Trump weighed in on the 6th District results after a brief tweet-storm.

Trump GA6 Post


Trump Tweets GA6

BOB GRAYR10.8120755
DAN MOODYR8.8516994
JON OSSOFFD48.1092390

From the New York Times:

Jon Ossoff, a Democrat making his first bid for elective office, narrowly missed winning a heavily conservative House district in Georgia outright on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. It threw a scare into Republicans in a special congressional election that was seen as an early referendum on President Trump.

Mr. Ossoff received 48.1 percent of the vote, just short of the 50 percent threshold needed to win the seat, and he will face Karen Handel, the top Republican vote-getter, in a June runoff.

Mr. Ossoff released a statement early Wednesday after the race was called.

“This is already a remarkable victory,” he said. “We defied the odds, shattered expectations, and now are ready to fight on and win in June.”

Mr. Ossoff’s strong showing will ensure that national Democrats continue to compete here and will increase pressure on the party to contest a special House election next month in Montana that it has so far ignored. Combined with Democrats’ better-than-expected performance in a special House election in Kansas last week, the Georgia result will be an immediate boon to Democratic groups, lifting their fund-raising and bolstering candidate recruitment efforts, while sobering Republicans who are assessing whether to run in Mr. Trump’s first midterm election. Already, Republican candidates and outside groups have had to spend over $7 million against Democrats in a series of deeply conservative districts.

As Mr. Ossoff faces Ms. Handel in a head-to-head race on June 20, it is unclear whether he will be able to sustain the success he enjoyed on Tuesday, in an 18-person field.

Karl Rove weighed in with his runoff prediction:

Karl Rove said if Ossoff doesn’t get the 50% needed to avoid a runoff the question turns to where he finished. If the candidate is in the high 40s it looks like he will win the runoff, if he’s in the low 40s then the Republican candidate will win.


Handel called for Republican unity as she claimed victory.

“Tomorrow we start the campaign anew,” she said, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “Beating Ossoff and holding this seat is something that rises above any one person.”

“We are going to rally behind Karen Handel,” tweeted Gray, who was backed by the Club For Growth, which aired TV ads attacking Handel. “We wish her Godspeed.”

“In a one-on-one race over a 9-week period, he’s going to have to answer questions he didn’t have to answer in the primary, like any issue on policy, on Syria, on tax reform. That becomes a lot harder for him,” said Chip Lake, a Republican consultant in the state. “When there’s 18 people in a race, it’s a bar brawl and no one knows what to look at. But when it’s one-on-one, it’s easier for voters to understand and easier to define it.”

A nationalized race could continue to benefit Ossoff, said former GOP Rep. David Jolly, who said he saw parallels between the current situation in Georgia and the special election he won in Florida in 2014.

“For my race, it was Obamacare. It was a clearly nationalized race about Obamacare. For Ossoff, it will be the first 100 days of Donald Trump,” Jolly said. “The Republican in the runoff will have to struggle to figure out, is it my job to defend Trump, who has a historic unpopularity right now, or is it not? But Ossoff gets to talk non-stop about how the last 100 days are bad.”


From the Marietta Daily Journal:

The fact that a Democrat took the most votes in the 6th District came as a surprise to everyone, said Kennesaw State University political science professor Kerwin Swint. “Nobody expected this to be competitive,” Swint said. “Republicans at first were assuming they would get the two runoff spots. I think everyone thought that. The Ossoff campaign has just blossomed as national Democrats have tuned in to the race and seen his potential. And the fundraising has really made the difference. It’s a very different situation than anyone expected.”

That’s not true. On December 1, 2016, I wrote:

Democrats do have significant underlying strength in the Sixth District, and if a single Democratic candidate is on the ballot with five to seven Republicans, the Democrat will almost certainly come out of the first round of the special election, possibly even garnering first place.

This dynamic could even happen with an Independent in the race, as happened in DeKalb County in 2014 when Independent Holmes Pyle took the lion’s share of non-GOP votes, taking first place over four Republicans.

But the December 2014 runoff in DeKalb also shows us what would be the likely result in a CD-6 runoff. Republican Nancy Jester, who took second place in November 2014, consolidated GOP votes in the runoff, taking first with a commanding majority and a margin greater than 3-1.

The Democrat part of the ballot effectively became a one-person race, as Ossoff consolidated Democratic organizational support behind him.

Senate District 32

State Senate District 32 goes to a runoff election between Democrat Christine Triebsch and Republican Kay Kirkpatrick.

The runoff is scheduled for May 16.

Triebsch — a Democrat — received 13,386 votes, or 24.4 percent of the vote, while Kirkpatrick, a Republican — received 11,774 votes, or 21.4, according to unofficial numbers posted by Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office.

GUS MAKRISR10.195963

From Michelle Baruchman at the AJC:

[Republican Kay] Kirkpatrick campaigned on a promise to increase public safety disaster preparedness, with an emphasis on addressing the Heroin and opioid epidemic, as well as simplifying the tax code and using conservative principles to change health care at the state level. She was the leading fundraiser with contributions from state Reps. Beth Beskin, R-Atlanta and Deborah Silcox, R-Atlanta, and U.S. Health Secretary Tom Price’s wife, state Rep. Elizabeth Price.

[Democrat Christine]Triebsch, a political newcomer who raised the least amount of money among candidates, said her grassroots campaign resonated with voters.

Other 2017 Elections

William B. Edwards won the runoff election for Mayor of the City of South Fulton, taking 59.85%.

South Fulton voters also chose Catherine Rowell, Carmalitha Gumbs, Helen Willis, Naeema Gilyard, Rosie Jackson, Khalid Kamau, and Mark Baker for City Council.

Lori Henry won the Special Runoff Election for Post 4 on the Roswell City Council with 57.81%.

Chris Coughlin was elected to the Johns Creek City Council seat vacated by Bob Gray.

The City of Stonecrest chose Rob Turner, George Turner, and Diane Adoma for City Council.

2018 Elections

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle will almost certainly kick off his campaign for Governor in 2018 at an event on April 30 at Infinite Energy Center in Duluth.

Casey Cagle Event

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