Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 14, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 14, 2018

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention began assembling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 14, 1787, the designated starting day. Because a large number of delegates had not arrived the opening of the Convention was moved to May 25.

On May 14, 1791, George Washington addressed the Grand Lodge of Georgia Masons in Savannah.

On May 14, 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left St. Louis, Missouri to explore the Northwest United States from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.

One hundred fifty years ago today, on May 14, 2014, the VMI Corps of Cadets marched 15 miles and camped overnight at Mt. Tabor, near New Market, Virginia. The next day they would march into history.

On the same day, the Battle of Resaca was fully engaged in Northwest Georgia.

On Saturday, May 14, the fighting at Resaca escalated into a full-scale battle. Beginning at dawn, Union forces engaged the Confederates along the entire four-mile front. In the early afternoon Schofield’s Army of the Ohio attacked the sharply angled center of the Confederate line. The assault was badly managed and disorganized, in part because one of Schofield’s division commanders was drunk. As the Union attack unraveled and became a fiasco, Johnston launched a counterattack on Sherman’s left flank. The counterattack collapsed, however, in the face of a determined stand by a Union artillery battery. In the evening Union forces pushed forward and seized the high ground west of Resaca, which placed the bridges leading south from the town within artillery range and threatened Johnston’s line of retreat.The following day Sherman renewed his assault on the Confederate center.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The AJC looks at early voting this year, calling it “apathetic.”

Four election workers. Fifteen voting machines. Zero voters.

The scene at 10:30 Saturday morning at the C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center in southwest Atlanta underscored an apparent lack of excitement surrounding Georgia’s May 22 primary elections. Entering the final week of advance in-person voting, on the last weekend days when polls were open, voters trickled into polling places Saturday, drawn more by a sense of duty than of enthusiasm.

“People are not excited,” said Philip Francis, the poll manager at the C.T. Martin center, in the Adamsville neighborhood. “It should be more. It’s usually more, let me put it that way.”

As of Friday, 90,200 voters had cast early ballots across Georgia, according to the secretary of state’s office. During the 2016 presidential primary, that many people voted early in Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties alone.

Barring a surge this week, the number of early votes also will fall far short of the roughly 200,000 cast four years ago, the last time Georgians nominated candidates for governor and other statewide offices.

In Columbus, the Ledger-Enquirer calls early voting “underwhelming.”

So far the local turnout for early voting in Georgia’s May 22 party primaries and county nonpartisan elections has been underwhelming, like one of those old one-liners with reverse extremes: People stayed away in droves. The silence was deafening. The shallow enthusiasm was unfathomable.

On Friday, the total of mail-in absentees and in-person votes came to 4,647. Those voting in-person as of 7 p.m. Friday came to 2,773. With 12 days of voting since the early poll opened April 30, the average was 231 a day.

Gone are the presidential passion and devotion of 2016, with its long line that stretched from the voting machines down the hall, winding through the service center lobby and sometimes trailing out the back door.

Most of the people voting early in Muscogee County are picking Democratic Party ballots. Counting both the early in-person votes and those mailed in, the elections office Friday had recorded 1,926 Democratic ballots, 741 Republican, and 54 nonpartisan.

Early voting in Gainesville produced more than 300 votes cast on Saturday, according to the Gainesville Times.

As of Friday, 1,386 people in Hall had cast ballots in the primary election in Georgia, which covers a slew of local races, contests for state House and Senate seats, the governor’s race and the 9th Congressional District primary.

On Saturday, 306 people turned out to vote at four sites around the county. Of those, 239 were Republicans and 60 were Democrats. Seven voters took nonpartisan ballots, according to the Hall County Elections Office.

Total votes stand at 1,265 Republican, 410 Democratic and 17 nonpartisan.

Democratic candidates for two Gwinnett County Commission seats are profiled in the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The May 22 primary will feature contested Democratic battles for the Board of Commissioners Districts 2 and 4 seats. The winner of those contests will face District 2 Commissioner Lynette Howard and District 4 Commissioner John Heard, neither of whom are facing challengers in the Republican primary election.

In District 2, Ben Ku and Desmond Nembhard are squaring off in the Democratic primary for the chance to face Howard in November. Meanwhile, in District 4, Marlene Fosque and Greg McKeithen are facing each other in the Democratic primary for a shot at going against Heard in November.

The Gainesville Times profiles two Democratic challengers to Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville).

On one side, Josh McCall: Gainesville teacher, ardent progressive and first-time candidate who has spent more than a year in the race campaigning on a platform of health care for all, economic fairness and a message of passionate, Christian equality.

On the other, newcomer Dave Cooper: Clayton pilot and a former Army officer and EPA official who for the past decade has volunteered for Democrats in races throughout the country — including stints in multiple states working precincts for Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary — and who said he was motivated to run after the “Trump tax theft of 2017.”

Both candidates call for a form of universal health care or insurance, both want higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations, and both argue in favor of additional restrictions on firearms ownership (though Cooper goes much further than McCall on this point).

The Savannah Morning News looks at candidates for Chatham County Board of Education.

The Brunswick News profiles candidates for Board of Education District Two.

The Brunswick News also looks at campaign spending in local races.

Georgia State Senator Chuck Hufstetler told the Rome News-Tribune that important healthcare legislation survived Gov. Deal’s veto pen.

Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, said the Georgia General Assembly funded consultants to work with federal authorities on potential Medicaid waiver programs. A team also is still slated to go to the University of Pennsylvania’s Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy training center to learn about creating and using a centralized database of information about state services.

“There’s also HB 769, which establishes a Rural Health System Innovation Center,” Hufstetler said. “That’s an important piece of the puzzle going forward.

The rural innovation center bill contains incentives to lure physicians to underserved areas, although funding wasn’t allocated this year.

Meanwhile, consultants — “We don’t have the expertise,” Hufstetler said — will be working with CMMS officials to develop Medicaid waiver programs that could address mental health, opioid addiction and other problems that are overwhelming the state system.

“We need programs that promote personal responsibility and reforms, while at the same time getting more access,” Hufstetler said. “The issues are access, cost and outcomes, and we have to bring in the data statewide and work on solutions.”

Bibb County is on track to break its current record for murder, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Over the past quarter-century, the homicide toll here has eclipsed 30 just twice — 32 were slain in Macon alone in 1994, and 30 were killed countywide last year.

During violence-plagued 1992, as former Macon police detective Jimmy Barbee told The Telegraph this week, “We stayed tired because we worked all the time. … We would help one squad with their homicide and pray we didn’t have one on our shift.”

Much of the killing then was fueled by the crack-cocaine epidemic. And, in fact, nearly half of the 1992 slayings were drug-related.

A Bald Eagle with a broken wing was rescued by motorists in Macon, according to the Macon Telegraph.

[Sonja Adams] is manager of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office Animal Enforcement Division. She was off duty but happened to be in the area of Sardis Church Road at around 11:30 a.m. That’s when a call went out that a bald eagle had been hit by a car, just west of Love’s Travel Stop off Interstate 75.

She was there quickly and found a group of passing motorists had stopped and were trying to help the bird, which had a broken wing. The motorist who hit the bird did not stop. A witness who saw it said the car clipped the bird.

Ordinarily there is a local licensed wildlife rehabilitation specialist that can be called, but not for the federally protected bald eagle. It could only be picked up the Georgia Department of National Resources Wildlife Resources Division, and it took about an hour for a representative to arrive.

Meanwhile, Adams, two deputies and the citizens did their best to help the bird and keep it calm until DNR could get there. Adams used a bottle to give it water and the eagle opened its beak to let her drop water in. Citizens kept it shaded by holding up towels.

The eagle was taken to a veterinarian who specializes in eagle rehabilitation. Adams could not say for sure what the prognosis might be for the bird, but she believed the broken wing to be its only injury, so she thought likely the bird could be rehabilitated.

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