Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 10, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 10, 2018

On January 10, 1868, the Georgia Equal Rights Association was formed in Augusta.

On January 10, 1870, the Georgia General Assembly convened and seated African-American legislators who had been expelled in 1868.

Eugene Talmadge was sworn-in to his first term as Governor of Georgia on January 10, 1933.

Talmadge fired elected officials who resisted his authority. Others were thrown out of their offices. Literally.

After Julian Bond’s election to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965, the chamber voted against seating him ostensibly because he had publicly state his opposition to the war in Vietnam. On January 10, 1967, after the United States Supreme Court held the legislature had denied Bond his right to free speech, he was seated as a member of the State House.

Georgia Native James Brown was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Shame Fame on January 10, 1997.

Governor Nathan Deal was sworn-in as the 82d Governor of Georgia on January 10, 2011 while snow shut down the planned public Inaugural.

Under the Gold Dome

The Senate Judiciary Committee meets today at 4 PM in Room 307 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building.

The House Ways and Means Committee meets today at 1 PM in Room 406 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former State Rep.  Brian Strickland (R-McDonough) was elected yesterday to State Senate District 17, winning nearly 62% of votes among a field of four.


Republican Brian Strickland of McDonough, who served the last five years as the House District 111 representative, will move into the vacated Senate District 17 post following his win in a special election Tuesday. Strickland, an attorney, is replacing fellow Republican Rick Jeffares, who resigned his post earlier this year to concentrate on his run for lieutenant governor.

Of the 133,001 registered voters in Senate District 17, only 9,060 cast ballots in the special election, a paltry 6.82 percent of the voters.

Republican Geoffrey Cauble (R-McDonough) was elected to the House District 111 seat vacated by Strickland, garnering just over 51% among four candidates.

Cauble said he was excited about his win and what he could do for Henry County.

“We want to continue to grow and diversify the economy,” Cauble said Tuesday night. “I’m all about workforce education, economic growth and infrastructure. We have a delegation focused on building the foundation for Henry County’s future success.

“I love Henry County and the people here,” Cauble continued. “The future is bright and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

Cauble is a general contractor and currently serves as the chairman of the Henry County Development Authority.

The AJC Political Insider writes that Rep. Rich Golick’s decision not to run for reelection opens the door for a possible Democratic pickup.

House District 40, which runs east-west along the intersection of I-75 and I-285, has become increasingly competitive. The timeline has been relentless:

– In 2012, Golick ran unopposed.

– In 2014, a Democratic opponent, Erick Allen, made his first appearance and pulled 40 percent of the vote. (Allen is a former division director with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Development Disabilities.)

– In 2016, Allen again challenged Golick, this time getting more than 46 percent of the vote. Worse, Allen spent $26,159 in his bid. The incumbent Republican spent nearly seven times that.

Other measurements: House District 40 went for Republican David Perdue (52 percent) over Democrat Michelle Nunn in the 2014 race for U.S. Senate, but went for Hillary Clinton (54 percent) over Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential contest. U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Republican, barely carried it in his 2016 re-election bid.

Given that 2018 is likely to be a backlash year for Republicans, the seat could be a hard one to hold — not unlike the Senate District Six seat lost by Republicans in a special election last year. The two districts have significant overlap.

State Rep. Clay Cox (R-Lilburn) was named Vice Chair of the House Juvenile Justice Committee.

“As state leaders, it is essential that we protect our state’s most vulnerable citizens — our children and youth,” Cox said in a statement. “The Juvenile Justice Committee plays a critical role in ensuring all of our state’s children are taken care of, and it is an honor to serve in this new leadership role.

“I look forward to working diligently on behalf of Georgia’s children as vice chairman of the Juvenile Justice Committee.”

Cox is in his second stint in the House of Representatives. He previously served in the chamber from 2005-11. He was re-elected to the chamber by voters in 2016.

State legislators are unlikely to seek a Medicaid waiver this year.

“Everybody wants to talk about waivers,” Sen. Dean Burke, R-Bainbridge, said Monday at the final meeting of the Senate’s Health Care Reform Task Force, which has been meeting for the last year.

“Waivers – at this point in my mind – is kind of getting the cart before the horse because they’re highly, highly technical,” Burke said.

The task force’s report, which was released Monday, noted two different waiver options: One lets a state experiment with restructuring its health-care market. Another allows a state to try different approaches to Medicaid, such as adding work requirements.

Burke said afterwards that it would be difficult to pursue a waiver this legislative session, which started Monday. Rather, the panel sees an opportunity to possibly tee up the issue for next year, he said.

“I think we need to know what our goals are before we start writing waivers,” Burke said at the meeting.

“In our mind, this has got to be driven from the executive branch,” said Burke, who is carrying the measure and who serves on the task force. “This has got to be a priority of the state.”

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle campaigned in Columbus last night.

Cagle, a Republican candidate for governor to fill the office held by Gov. Nathan Deal, was the featured speaker for about 70 supporters during the Muscogee County Republican Party’s monthly meeting at the DoubleTree Hotel on Sidney Simons Boulevard. He faces a crowded field for the Republican nomination with Secretary of State Brian Kemp, former state Sen. Hunter Hill and Sen. Michael Williams.

After attending a fundraiser in downtown Columbus on Thursday, Cagle returned to the city to focus on planning for a state projected to grow by 4.5 million people, expanding broadband connections, allowing choice in education and improving the infrastructure.

“Georgia is expected to grow by 4.5 million people so we have to be ready to plan in what that growth is going to look like,” he said.

A top priority is to build the infrastructure in road and bridges to support the growth. “We’ve got to be willing to have a 10-year strategic plan to think out of the box to go under, over and around things of that nature,” he said before the meeting.

Alton Russell, chairman of the Muscogee County Republican Party, said about 100 people were expected for the event. Other candidates attending the event included attorney Josh McKoon , a candidate for Secretary of State, and Vance Smith, who is seeking a House seat.

Gwinnett County Commission Chair Charlotte Nash will deliver the State of the County on February 14 at 11:30 at Infinite Energy Center.

Lawyers for Glynn County moved to dismiss a lawsuit over short-term rentals.

Glynn County’s attorneys want a lawsuit filed last year dismissed because they say the zoning ordinance doesn’t prohibit vacation rentals in certain neighborhoods on St. Simons Island.

Catherine Kyker, a resident of the King City neighborhood near the Pier Village, filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus in Glynn County Superior Court in November. A writ of mandamus is a legal ruling requiring a government entity to fulfill a legally required duty if a court finds it was not doing so.

The court filing claims short-term vacation rentals are not allowed in residential areas zoned R-6. An R-6 lot is one smaller than 6,000 square feet.

In the motion to dismiss, the county’s lawyers state, among other things, that the Glynn County zoning ordinance doesn’t prohibit vacation rentals in R-6 neighborhoods.

Kyker’s initial court filing cited section 302 of the zoning ordinance, which reads “The term dwelling shall not be deemed to include a hotel, motel, rooming house, hospital or other accommodations used for more or less transient (purposes).”

Kyker’s lawyer argued that the definition of dwelling precludes short-term rentals from being a permitted use in residential areas.

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