Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 30, 2017


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 30, 2017

On May 29, 1836, the United States Senate ratified the Treaty of New Echota, which required the movement of all Cherokee out of Georgia and led to the “Trail of Tears.”

On May 30, 1922, Chief Justice of the United States William H. Taft dedicated the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Inside the memorial is a seated statue of Lincoln by Daniel Chester French carved from 175 tons of Georgia white marble.

French also created the statue of Jame Oglethorpe that stands in Chippewa Square in Savannah and a seated statue of Samuel Spencer considered to be a prototype of the Lincoln carving. Samuel Spencer was the first President of Southern Railway and was originally located at the rail station in downtown Atlanta before moving to the Southern Railway passenger station in Buckhead in the 1970s and is currently at 1200 Peachtree Street in front of Norfolk Southern.

On May 29, 1942, Adolf Hitler ordered all Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris to wear a yellow Star of David on their coats.

On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepalese Sherpa, became the first to summit Mount Everest.

On May 28, Tenzing and Hillary set out, setting up high camp at 27,900 feet. After a freezing, sleepless night, the pair plodded on, reaching the South Summit by 9 a.m. and a steep rocky step, some 40 feet high, about an hour later. Wedging himself in a crack in the face, Hillary inched himself up what was thereafter known as the Hillary Step. Hillary threw down a rope, and Norgay followed. At about 11:30 a.m., the climbers arrived at the top of the world.

News of the success was rushed by runner from the expedition’s base camp to the radio post at Namche Bazar, and then sent by coded message to London, where Queen Elizabeth II learned of the achievement on June 1, the eve of her coronation. The next day, the news broke around the world. Later that year, Hillary and Hunt were knighted by the queen. Norgay, because he was not a citizen of a Commonwealth nation, received the lesser British Empire Medal.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Advance Voting in-person for the Sixth Congressional District begins today. From Secretary of State Brian Kemp:

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp reminds Georgia voters that advance in-person voting starts Tuesday, May 30, 2017, in the 6th Congressional District run-off in parts of Cobb, DeKalb, and Fulton counties. Democrat Jon Ossoff faces Republican and former Secretary of State Karen Handel in the contest to replace Tom Price, now serving as Health and Human Services Secretary in the Trump administration.

“All eyes are on Georgia as we approach June 20,” stated Secretary Kemp. “Now more than ever, voters need to get engaged, do their research on the candidates, and head to the polls to take part in this important contest. The right to vote for our public officials should never be taken for granted. Get out and vote, and wear your peach voting sticker with pride.”

Georgia voters can use the office’s “My Voter Page” or download the “GA SOS” app to check registration status, view a sample ballot, find their voting location, or request an absentee ballot. Voters in CD 6 are advised to request absentee ballots well in advance of the June 16, 2017 deadline to vote by mail in the runoff.

The 6th Congressional District includes parts of Cobb, DeKalb, and Fulton counties. All three counties will offer Saturday voting in the 6th Congressional District run-off.

In Cobb, individuals can vote on Saturday, June 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. In DeKalb, individuals can also vote on Saturday, June 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. In Fulton, individuals can vote on Saturday, June 3 or Saturday, June 10 from 8:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Election Day is June 20, 2017. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Democrats and their allies appear to be outspending Republicans and conservatives in the Sixth District.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis shows that Democrats have narrowly outspent Republicans in the runoff phase of Georgia’s 6th District contest, the nationally-watched race that could prove an early test of the GOP agenda.

The contest, by far the most expensive U.S. House race in the nation’s history, has now cost more than $36 million overall. That includes about $21 million spent or reserved for advertising since April 18, when Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff notched spots in the June 20 runoff.

National Democratic groups and Ossoff’s campaign have combined for about $11.3 million of that spending – the vast majority on a flood of broadcast TV ads inundating the suburban Atlanta district.

Ossoff’s campaign has now spent or reserved $7.3 million in broadcast, cable and radio ads through the vote. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pumped in another $3.6 million, and the left-leaning House Majority PAC has spent about $250,000.

Republicans have poured in nearly $10 million into the runoff so far, though only a fraction has come from Handel’s campaign.

GOP groups have rushed to try to fill the void. The National Republican Congressional Committee has laid out more than $4.1 million and the Congressional Leadership Fund – which has close ties to House Speaker Paul Ryan – doled out $2.8 million. The U.S. Chamber put in about $1 million.

The New York Times looks at the tricky business of how to support a Republican in a district that only narrowly went for President Trump.

Some of the biggest players on the right are involved. The Koch network, the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and various socially conservative and faith-based organizations are using the campaign as a dry run for untangling the conservative crosscurrents they will have to manage with Mr. Trump as the party’s leader.

Ms. Handel is struggling with the same knot. She welcomed the president for a fund-raiser last month, but kept it closed to the public. She batted away reports that Mr. Trump had shared highly classified information with the Russians by saying they could just be a “gross assumption” by the media, a view many in the district share. But she added that she supported an investigation to resolve the matter.

And when the White House sends in reinforcements to campaign with Ms. Handel ahead of Election Day on June 20, Vice President Mike Pence will be the headliner, not Mr. Trump.

Ms. Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, embodies the contradictions and competing interests that will make races like hers so hard for Republicans. As a more conventional chamber of commerce-type Republican, she appeals to the party’s traditional constituency. But she is also struggling to excite the voters who rejected that type of Republicanism when they voted for Mr. Trump last year.

The national implications seem clear to many voters, who understand the vulnerability that a Republican loss would telegraph to the country. Bob Harris, a retired sixth-grade science teacher who lives in once reliably Republican east Cobb County, said he was not exactly “on fire when it comes to Karen Handel.” He wishes Mr. Trump would get off Twitter and take a lesson in composure from more coolheaded advisers like Rex W. Tillerson, the secretary of state, and Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff.

But he wants a Republican to win the seat so badly that he is volunteering for Americans for Prosperity, the group funded by the billionaire conservatives Charles G. and David H. Koch, and was making phone calls to voters from its office in Marietta on a recent rainy evening.

Alan Judd writes in The Atlanta Journal Constitution about the birth of the modern Sixth Congressional District.

For decades, the 6th District had covered several counties west and southwest of Atlanta, all the way to the Alabama border. But in 1991, lawmakers created an entirely new footprint. The district’s new heart was Cobb County, the fast-growing suburb northwest of Atlanta. Democrats hoped Gingrich might drop out rather than offer himself to a new constituency.

Their plan backfired. Gingrich quickly moved to Cobb and spent weekends and congressional recesses there introducing himself to voters. The next year, Gingrich easily won his new district. Then, two years later, he masterminded the Republican surge that elevated him to U.S. House speaker, shut down government services for 27 days, impeached President Bill Clinton over his affair with a White House intern, and subsided only when Gingrich, admitting his own extramarital activity, resigned from Congress.

“Murphy has just hated me ever since we ran a candidate against him in ’88,” Gingrich said in a 1991 interview.

“Scared him so bad that he repudiated Dukakis,” Gingrich said, referring to the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts. “And then we took his repudiation of Dukakis … and faxed it all over the South and within a week they closed every Dukakis campaign headquarters in the South.

“Murphy never recovered from that humiliation. He told people privately he had only one goal in reapportionment, and that was to get rid of me.”

Attorney General Chris Carr spoke to the Gwinnett County Bar Association about his priorities in office.

Human trafficking. Substance abuse. Drug rehabilitation. Elder abuse.

These are all issues that Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr told the Gwinnett Bar Association must be addressed by the state in the months and years to come. Georgia’s top prosecutor outlined the threats they pose as he addressed Gwinnett County attorneys and judges from around the county at the 1818 Club in Duluth on Friday.

“One of the things I have found out is this: Most Georgians know there is an attorney general and we have an office,” Carr said. “Beyond that, they’re a little bit unclear about what we do, and that’s because each state does it a little differently, so what I’d like to do is reintroduce you, the Gwinnett Bar, to the Department of Law and then talk about a couple of initiatives that we are working on.”

In recent years, there has been a push, for example, that State Rep. Chuck Efstration and Sen. Renee Unterman have been involved in, to address the issue of human trafficking. Carr pointed to one result of that work, a bill passed this year to strengthen penalties for customers of prostitutes.

“Some statistics will tell you there are 2.5 million children (globally) who are victims,” Carr said. “There’s 100,000 nationwide. This is not an issue that’s out there somewhere else. This is in our community.”

On the topic of substance abuse, Carr’s comments came as local officials, led by Unterman and Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader, work on coming together to find solutions to substance abuse and mental health issues.

“In Gwinnett County over the past several years, there have been 2,500 overdoses,” Carr said. “The way we’ve got to tackle it, as it’s been mentioned many, many times, there are those that we’ve got to prosecute. If you over prescribe and you know it, you’ve got to be prosecuted. If you’re putting cheap heroin on the streets, you need to be prosecuted.”

Georgia Department of Natural Resouces is counting on hunters to help control coyote population in the state.

House Bill 241 by State Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) will allow state screening for Krabbe disease.

Cove’s Law was named for a North Georgia child with the disease. Cove’s grandmother is a client of Hawkins, a Gainesville dentist, which is how he came to know about the genetic disorder.

The law allows the Department of Public Health to offer screenings to new parents as part of the existing suite of illnesses already being screened. The test costs between $3 and $5, Hawkins told The Times, and isn’t mandatory.

“I looked at it as a way to save the lives of some of these babies. There is treatment available, but like any other type of situation similar to this it’s not 100 percent treatable,” he said. “… I approached it from a health care perspective … going back to giving the patient a choice — giving them the information.”

Krabbe disease in an insidious condition that surfaces in the first six months of a child’s life, but can only be prevented if stem cell treatment starts in the first 30 days after birth — before symptoms surface.

2018 Elections

Candidates for statewide office in 2018 are watching the Handel-Ossoff race for a preview of how their elections might unfold next year.

The battle lines have already being drawn: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle didn’t mention Trump at his campaign kickoff, while Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s official announcement practically oozed Trump-ian themes. More Trump loyalists could join the race, including a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence.

Democrats are practically salivating over the chance to energize left-leaning voters by painting whichever Republican emerges as Trump lite. A pair of Democratic rising stars – state Reps. Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans – both figure to put their opposition to Trump at the center of their bids.

The maneuvering underscores the volatility of the race to replace a term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal as the growing field starts to solidify a year before the primary. Each candidate well knows that what could help them win the GOP nomination could be devastating in a general election.

House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, who has filed paperwork to run for governor, said Trump isn’t changing her strategy but that there’s no doubt he has energized left-leaning voters – and unnerved independents and moderates who might be receptive to the Democratic Party’s message.

“What he creates is an even sharper example of why this is possible. Not just Trump, but the entirety of this administration and the national reaction to his antics. It’s galvanized voters,” she said.

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens has endorsed Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer for Lieutenant Governor.

Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens endorsed Shafer, R-Duluth, for the post last week, following on the heels of philanthropist Bernie Marcus’ endorsement of the longtime legislator. Hudgens highlighted the fact that he and his wife are longtime friends of Shafer, who is the Senate president pro tempore, in a statement announcing his endorsement.

“Suzanne and I have known David Shafer for nearly 30 years,” Hudgens said. “He is a man of great integrity who helped build our Republican party and advance conservative ideals in the state senate. I am proud to endorse him for lieutenant governor. We are happy that he is in the race and will be be actively campaigning for his election in 2018.”

The lieutenant governor’s race is wide open next year with current Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s decision to run for governor. In light of Cagle’s decision to seek higher office, several legislators, including some from Gwinnett, encouraged Shafer to run for the open seat.

“Ralph Hudgens has a significant following within the Republican party and his endorsement is a significant boost to David Shafer’s campaign for lieutenant governor,” state Sen. P.K. Martin, R-Lawrenceville, said in a statement. “Shafer continues to build momentum.”

State Senator Rick Jeffares (R-McDonough), who chairs the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee, will also run for Lt. Gov. in 2018.

It’s been whispered about for a while now, but state Sen. Rick Jeffares, R-McDonough, has filed paperwork to run for lieutenant governor.

He joins a crowded field in the race for lieutenant governor. Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, R-Duluth, is considered the early front-runner. He has already picked up endorsements from Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, a top GOP donor, and colleague Sen. Burt Jones, R-Jackson.

State Rep. Geoff Duncan, R-Cumming, is also in the race.

On the Democratic side, former state Rep. Ronnie Mabra, D-Fayetteville, and former state Sen. Doug Stoner, D-Smyrna, are considering bids.

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