Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 16, 2017


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 16, 2017

The Georgia Trustees visited the first group of settlers on November 16, 1732, the day before they were scheduled to depart England for the New World.

On November 16, 1737, the Georgia Trustees learned that England’s King George II would send 300 soldiers, along with 150 wives and 130 children to the settlement in Georgia.

On November 16, 1864, Sherman left Atlanta in smoking ruins.

A 2010 Wired article argues that Sherman’s rampage through Georgia and the Carolinas changed modern warfare.

Vengeance aside, the real objective of Sherman’s march was to cut the Confederacy in two, cripple Southern industrial capacity, destroy the railroad system and compel an early Confederate surrender. It was also intended to break Southern morale — in Sherman’s words, to “make Georgia howl.”

Sherman was vilified for his barbarism, but the Union commander was a realist, not a romantic. He understood — as few of his contemporaries seemed to — that technology and industrialization were radically changing the nature of warfare.

It was no longer a question of independent armies meeting on remote battlefields to settle the issue. Civilians, who helped produce the means for waging modern war, would no longer be considered innocent noncombatants. Hitting the enemy where he ate and breaking him psychologically were just as important to victory as vanquishing his armies in the field.

Sherman grasped this and, though he wasn’t the first military proponent of total war, he was the first modern commander to deliberately strike at the enemy’s infrastructure. The scorched-earth tactics were effective. The fragile Southern economy collapsed, and a once-stout rebel army was irretrievably broken.

Meanwhile, the marshals of Europe watched Sherman’s progress with fascination. And they learned.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former State Representative Melvin Everson (R-Snellville) announced he will run for Republican National Committeeman from Georgia, assuming Randy Evans vacates the seat upon his confirmation as Ambassador to Luxembourg. From the press release:

In a letter to members of the Republican State Committee former State Representative Melvin Everson announced that he will run for Republican National Committeeman.

Fellow Republicans serving on the State Committee, after prayerful consideration, I have decided to announce my candidacy to become Georgia’s next Republican National Committeeman.

It is a great, and well-deserved honor, President Trump has bestowed upon Randy Evans in nominating him to become the next U.S Ambassador to Luxembourg. Randy has earned the respect of Republicans nationwide for his wisdom, his capabilities as a fair arbiter, and trusted leader within the Georgia Republican Party.

When Chairman John Watson sets in motion a called election to fill Randy’s position, I will enter the race and formally begin my campaign. At that time, there will be ample time for you to consider all the candidates’ qualifications, so that you can make an informed decision as to whom you will support and choose to serve our great state.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…”

Humbly, I ask for your consideration to become the next Georgia Republican National Committeeman, while looking forward to the opportunity to personally speak with you about the future of the Georgia Republican Party.

Melvin Everson

State Rep. Amy Carter (R-Valdosta) announced her resignation from the State House, effective December 31, 2017. From the Press Release:

Rep. Carter will assume her new role as Executive Director of Advancement at the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).

Currently, she represents House District 175, which includes Brooks County as well as portions of Lowndes and Thomas counties. As a member of the House leadership team, Rep. Carter chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government.

“It has been an absolute honor to serve my district as a state legislator for the past 11 years, and I am forever grateful to my constituents for entrusting me to represent them,” said Rep. Carter. “I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside what I consider the greatest delegation in the state, and I am proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish as a team.”

As a classroom teacher for more than 20 years, Rep. Carter has devoted herself to educating and empowering students.

“Representative Carter has been an invaluable asset to the House of Representatives, and we will certainly miss her insight and leadership,” said Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). “Without a doubt, her work in the classroom brought a fresh perspective to the House of Representatives, and I know her students will equally miss her leadership. She is truly a champion for education, and the role she is assuming will allow her to continue touching the lives of students at an even greater level, which will ultimately build a better Georgia for us all.”

Rep. Carter added, “Impacting the lives of students on the classroom level has been an incredible experience. While leaving the classroom and my legislative position was an extremely difficult decision to make, I will now have the opportunity to extend that impact to more than 130,000 TCSG students across our state.”

Throughout her service in the state legislature, Carter has made several notable accomplishments, which have made monumental impacts on both the community and state.  For example, she played a crucial role in securing funding for Valdosta State University’s construction of the Health Sciences and Business Administration building. In addition, she was the lead sponsor of the Music Investment Act of 2017, as well as the chair of the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Commission of 2016 and a working member of the Georgia HOPE scholarship and grant revision. She also served as Governor Nathan Deal’s House Floor Leader.

In recognition of her positive impact on education in Georgia, Rep. Carter has received numerous awards including Lowndes County Schools’ Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Educators Legislator of the Year Award, and Georgia School Counselors Association Legislator of the Year Award.

Representative Carter also participates in multiple community service organizations and has been recognized for her service through several civic awards.  In 2012, she received the Loyce W. Turner Public Service Award and an Above and Beyond Award from 4-H in honor of her support of youth development education.   In addition, she was named Valdosta’s Woman of the Year in 2002 and Brooks County’s Woman of the Year in 2014. She also received the Liberty Bell Award from the Valdosta Bar Association, the Mac McLane Award from Leadership Lowndes, and holds an honorary state FFA degree. In 2013, Rep. Carter received the high honor of being named one of only four “Power Women” in the state by Georgia Trend Magazine.

Rep. Carter is an alumni of Leadership Lowndes, Leadership Georgia, Valdosta Junior Service League, First Lady’s Children’s Cabinet, and the Valdosta-North Rotary Club. Upon resignation, she noted she looks forward to continuing participation in her community.  “Even though my work will be statewide, I will continue to reside in South Georgia,” she stated. “This is where my home and my heart are located.”

Bobby Christine has been confirmed by the United States Senate as the new United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today applauded the Senate’s unanimous confirmation of Christine.

“Bobby Christine has served our state and nation in countless ways, including in the U.S. military as Judge Advocate General in Iraq, and I look forward to his continued service as U.S. attorney,” Isakson said in a news release from his office. “I applaud the Senate for its bipartisan unanimous confirmation of Bobby, and I am proud that he will be serving in this important role.”

Christine replaced Augusta attorney Ed Tarver, who was appointed by President Obama to the job in 2009. Tarver was one of the 46 U.S. attorneys asked to resign by President Trump when he took office.

The Southern District of Georgia includes 43 of Georgia’s 159 counties in the southeastern region of the state.

Former First Daughters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush will be in Metro Atlanta this weekend on a book tour.

[Their book] “Sisters First” may help put an end to that. Less celebrity tell-all than a raising of the blinds on two simultaneously intertwined and independent lives, the book largely comprises alternating chapters written by Hager Bush and her sister, Barbara Pierce Bush.

The fraternal twin daughters of former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, will headline a sold-out event at the Book Festival of the MJCCA on Saturday night. They’ll be “in conversation” with best-selling novelist and Atlantan Emily Giffin.

At Georgetown University, Congressman John Lewis (D-Atlanta) called the Trump Administration “hell on wheels.”

Republican Businessman Clay Tippins has kicked off his campaign for Governor.

Clay Tippins, 44, formally entered the race Wednesday to succeed a term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal. He enters the race as a virtual blank slate, with no public profile or voting record, little name recognition and without the huge trove of cash needed to finance his campaign on his own.

A graduate of Shiloh High School, Tippins was captain of Stanford University’s swim team and joined the elite Navy SEALs shortly after graduating. In the mid-2000s, he re-enlisted in the Navy Reserves and was recently dispatched to Iraq for a counter-terrorism tour of duty.

He’s now an executive vice president of Capgemini, the global consulting firm, and lives with his wife and two kids in Buckhead.

Tippins kicked off his campaign at his Buckhead headquarters and dozens of supporters, including his uncle, state Sen. Lindsey Tippins. He compared the campaign to a “mission” that he’s determined to successfully carry out.

Tippins’s entry to the election probably most affects Senator Hunter Hill, whose campaigns have always highlighted his military service and who also shares a geographic base in Buckhead and Vinings.

“A Voice for all of Georgia” is a group attempting to recall Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

The group needs to collect nearly 800,000 signatures of registered voters by December 27 to put the recall on the ballot.

The number of signatures needed, as well as the fact that historically, roughly half of election petition signatures are invalidated, make this more of a negative public relations campaign than an actual recall.

The Liberal Athens tabloid Flagpole has an interesting story on the Democratic victories in this month’s special legislative elections.

[Republican Houston] Gaines made some strategic choices that, in retrospect, obviously didn’t work. He labeled himself “the voice of a new generation,” but surrounded himself with old-school Athens figures like Denson and Vince and Barbara Dooley. It seemed like he was the only person in his campaign photos under 70. Past ACCDC chairman Russell Edwards hounded him about Trump, and he never could figure out a good answer. Then he stumbled again when Flagpole lobbed him a softball about his “unique perspective,” and he responded that, “It’s obvious just by looking at us that we have a different perspective.” He might have meant their age, but he was running against a Latina woman, so not everyone took it that way.

In the end, Gaines couldn’t justify why he was running as a 22-year-old, other than that a lot of powerful people liked him. Gonzalez has a lifetime of experience as a working-class mom and as a media and entertainment lawyer, and voters grew more comfortable with her as they got to know her.

“I think it was a lack of motivation” among Republicans, said Watkinsville City Councilman Dan Matthews. “[Gaines] didn’t have an issue that fired people up, and the lack of experience led people to not want to vote for him.”

Meanwhile, Wallace’s Republican opponents—Tom Lord, Steven Strickland and Marcus Wiedower—all wholeheartedly embraced Trump. That didn’t work, either.

While Gonzalez emphasized progressive, populist positions like Medicaid expansion, a $15 minimum wage and net neutrality, Wallace ran a more centrist campaign focused on pocketbook issues like lowering Georgia’s car insurance rates, which are among the highest in the nation. “My goal in entering this race was to push the conversation back to the middle, where I think most of this district, this state, this country lives,” Wallace said.

Bob Trammell must have known something we didn’t. House Democrats recently elected the Luthersville representative their leader—replacing Stacey Abrams, who resigned to run for governor—and he trekked all the way to Athens to drop in on Gonzalez and Wallace. After years of leaving deep-red districts uncontested, Democrats ran for all eight open seats and flipped three of them.

“I think the takeaway is we should always strive to have competition,” Trammell said. “We should contest districts like this [119] where we haven’t had candidates, because voters are craving choice.”

If there’s one lesson for Democrats and Republicans to take from the Athens elections in HD 117 and HD 119, it’s that step one to an election victory is a name on the ballot.

Absentee votes appear to have swung the Hampton City Council elections.

Just over 13 percent, or approximately 135, of the 1,035 votes cast in the city of Hampton’s election this year were submitted by mail. That’s more than the average 3 percent of absentee voters in the cities of McDonough, Stockbridge and Locust Grove.

Winners Mayor Steve Hutchison and council members-elect Errol Mitchell, Willie Turner and Elton Brown each received 100 or more absentee votes in the election.

The defeated candidates received eight votes or fewer from absentee voters.

“We win the best way we know how. We do know a lot of our people, if they can do absentee, they prefer not to go to the polls,” said Turner. “It was up for us to get on the ground and rattle the ones we can in the neighborhoods. We needed to get as many absentee votes as we could on the ground. If we could be competitive out there, then we knew the absentee could be the key to pull us over the top. We knew the community and from the last election a lot didn’t want to go to the polls. So we talked to them and told them they need to do absentee ballots.”

The Republican Governors Association is meeting in Austin, Texas this week ahead of the 2018 elections.

Vice President Mike Pence will be the keynote speaker during the two-day gathering of the Republican Governors Association, which kicks off Wednesday in Austin, Texas.

Earlier this year, Democrats lost special congressional elections in Kansas, Montana, Georgia, and South Carolina, but last week won the governorships in Virginia and New Jersey. The party also erased a previously dominant Republican majority in the Virginia House and gained control of Washington state’s Senate.

Republicans will still hold a 33 to 16 advantage in governorships nationwide after January. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is an independent up for re-election next year.

The Democratic successes revealed some potentially troublesome trends for Republicans. In Virginia, suburban women failed to turn out strongly for GOP candidates. In 2016, that demographic helped put Mr. Trump in the White House. By comparison, minority turnout for Democrats was strong.

Republican Governors Association spokesman Jon Thompson called the results a “voice of displeasure with some things that are happening in Washington.”

Even so, Mr. Thompson said Republicans should not panic.

“You already have Republican governors in some blue states that have their own brand separate from Washington,” said Thompson, pointing to Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Larry Hogan of Maryland.

Georgia’s own Paul Bennecke serves as Executive Director of the Republican Governors Association.

National GOP Strategists are also accelerating their plans for 2018 ahead of midterm elections, where the party holding the White House usually loses seats.

Republican strategists are warning that some of the party’s veteran House incumbents aren’t adequately preparing for the 2018 election, putting the GOP majority at risk by their failure to recognize the dangerous conditions facing them.

Nearly three dozen Republicans were outraised by their Democratic challengers in the most recent fundraising quarter. Others, the strategists say, are failing to maintain high profiles in their districts or modernize their campaigns by using data analytics in what is shaping up as a stormy election cycle.

“There are certainly incumbent members out there who need to work harder and raise more money if they want to win,” said Corry Bliss, executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund, the House GOP’s top super PAC. “They’re fundamentally not prepared for how they’re about to be attacked.”

After Democrats’ sweeping victories last week, Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm, wrote a pointed memo — titled “Surviving the 2018 Election” — addressing Republican incumbents. The firm counseled incumbents to start their reelection campaigns earlier than planned, to do early message testing and to begin planning their voter turnout operation now, as opposed to next fall.

“Some [members] get it and some don’t,” said Glen Bolger, a Republican pollster with POS. “First thing we’re saying to them is, ‘Don’t be in denial, this can happen to you.’”

The [Congressional Leadership Fund]  test-ran the on-the-ground strategy this spring in Georgia’s special House election, where more than one-third of its spending to help Republican Karen Handel went into its field program and other non-TV work. The super PAC will likely need to do the same next November for GOP voters, who have grown frustrated with Congress’ failure to repeal Obamacare.

Stockbridge city government could lose between $4.2 million and $6.1 million in annual funding if a new city of Eagles Landing is incorporated.

City spokeswoman Charisma Webster said Mayor Judy Neal and the city council heard the results Nov. 8 from the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government in a hearing before the state Senate committee on state and local governmental operations.

Henry delegation members District 17 State Sen. Rick Jeffares, R-McDonough, and state representatives Dale Rutledge, Andy Welch and Brian Strickland submitted bills supporting the city of Eagle’s Landing in the 2017 session, which can be carried over in 2018.

If enacted into law and approved by voters, the legislation can be “damaging,” Neal said.

“To remove between 44 percent and 64 percent of the city’s revenues is wrong and will tear this community apart,” she said in a statement.

Webster said the property proposed to be de-annexed will, if approved, put about 33 percent of the existing city’s population into the new one.

It will also relocate 48 percent of the assessed value of the city’s residential properties and 54 percent of commercial properties’ assessed value, she said.

The Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District (CID) has changed its name to Gateway 85 Gwinnett CID.

The United States House of Representatives passed a defense bill that includes money to keep A-10s flying.

The 2018 defense spending bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday includes money to keep Warthogs flying.

The bill contains $103 million for replacing aging wings for the Air Force’s A-10C “Warthog” ground attack planes, some of which are stationed at Moody AFB. Lack of money for replacing the aging parts led an Air Force general earlier this year to warn that some of the Warthogs would have to be grounded.

Boeing is under contract with the Air Force to deliver 173 wingsets through 2017. Defense News reports that Boeing is having trouble delivering wingsets on time due to a part that is being reworked. Moody’s Warthogs are newer so the base “is in better shape than a lot of units,” said Rachel Ledbetter, spokeswoman for Ga. Rep. Austin Scott (R-8th Dist.)

Tybee Island will begin a program of grants targeted to raising some homes above flood levels.

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