Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 22, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 22, 2018

On May 22, 1856, Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner with his cane. Brooks used the cane as the result of injury sustained in a previous duel, and found Sumner at his desk in the Senate Chamber. In the course of a two-day Senate speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would have nullified the Missouri Compromise on the expansion of slavery, Sumner had criticized three legislators, including a cousin of Rep. Brooks, Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina.

On May 22, 1819, the steamship Savannah left the port of Savannah for Liverpool, England. After 29 days, it became the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. On May 22, 1944, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating the voyage of the Savannah.

On May 22, 1932, New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the commencement address for Oglethorpe University at the Fox Theater in Atlanta.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

It’s election day in Georgia and polls are open statewide until 7 PM. Don’t forget to bring your photo ID.

The Dalton Daily Citizen looks at local races on the ballot.

Chuck Payne (incumbent) and Scott Tidwell face each other in the Republican Party primary for the District 54 state Senate seat. Mike Cowan and Barry Robbins (incumbent) are the two Republicans seeking the District 1 seat on the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners.

The winner of the District 54 state Senate GOP primary faces Democrat Michael S. Morgan in the Nov. 6 general election. There is no Democratic opposition in the board of commissioners race, so the primary winner is expected to win that seat.

The Valdosta Daily Times considers candidates for the local Board of Education.

For Lowndes County Commission District 2, Aaron Strickland qualified as a Democrat; incumbent District 2 Commissioner Scott Orenstein runs as a Republican.

District 3 County Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker and District 4 County Commissioner Demarcus Marshall are running unopposed.

J.R. Rogers and Walter Byrd are challenging incumbent Lowndes County school board member Eric Johnson for the Lowndes County Board of Education District 2 seat.

For Lowndes County Board of Education District 2, incumbent Michael Davis and challenger Willie Harris are running.

For county school board District 3, incumbent Brian Browning and challenger Erin Price are running.

For area Statehouse races, incumbent state Rep. John LaHood faces fellow Republican Coy Reaves.

Bulloch County voters will decide on a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, according to the Statesboro Herald.

One item that does appear on all Bulloch County ballots, in the nonpartisan section, is the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum. A “yes” vote would add a penny tax to fund transportation projects of the county government and the four towns: Statesboro, Brooklet, Portal and Register. Sales taxes on nonexempt items here would then total 8 cents on the dollar, but 4 cents goes to the state.

Bulloch County Board of Commissioners, District 2, which encompasses the larger portion of the county’s population, has a Republican-ballot race among challenger Travis Chance, incumbent Walter Gibson and challenger Sid Jones for Seat 2B. The winner Tuesday or July 24 will meet Democratic challenger Adrienne Dobbs on the November ballot.

Savannah voters will see a slate of Board of Education seats up for election, according to the Savannah Morning News.

In Chatham County elections, voters will cast their vote in four contested races and 17 uncontested races.

Voters have five candidates to choose from for school board president: former school board president Joe Buck, David Lerch, Board District 6 representative Larry Lower, Betty Morgan and Tye Whitely. Current school board president, Jolene Byrne, is not running for a second term.

Also on the ballot for contested local races are elections for school board District 5, 6, and 8 seats.

Candidates in District 5 are incumbent Irene Hines and challenger Theresa Watson. District 6 candidates are David Bringman and Alfreda Goldwire. In District 8, incumbent Ruby Jones is facing challenger Tonia Howard-Hall.

The Rome News-Tribune looks at early voting turnout.

During the early voting period that ended Friday, 2,574 people cast ballots. The Georgia secretary of state’s office listed 50,787 registered voters as of May 1, putting the turnout at about 5 percent so far.

Just under 20 percent of Floyd County voters weighed in during the 2014 primaries, the last midterm election with big state races on the ballots.

[Elections Supervisor Willie] Green said he doesn’t expect long waits at the polls but he asked voters to look over the ballots and be aware of the choices before they step up to a machine.

“Be aware of the questions the Democratic Party is presenting to its voters,” he said. “Also, I want to remind people that some of the candidates have been removed from the Republican ballot and votes for them won’t be counted.”

Albany is a crossroads in the campaign for Governor, with Republican Lt. Governor Casey Cagle visiting, according to the Albany Herald.

Cagle, along with his wife, Nita, made a stop at the Eagles of America base of operations at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Monday morning, one of eight stops he was expected to make around the state. There to greet him were several of his supporters from the Albany area, along with officials from the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission and the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. He made a brief appearance before moving on to his next planned stop.

The lieutenant governor made specific mention of Albany’s Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy and the role it has in helping students achieve the knowledge and skills to be successful.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp also campaigned in Albany seeking the GOP gubernatorial nod.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp gave a speech and met with supporters during a fly-in campaign stop at Albany’s Eagles of America base at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport on Monday.

The stop was part of a statewide tour Kemp was making in advance of today’s primary elections.

“We started this campaign literally 14 months ago with the message of putting Georgians first,” Kemp said. “We’ve literally been to all corners of our state. …We’re the first campaign to organize in all 159 counties, and that’s going to serve us well tomorrow night when the returns start coming in.”

Democrat Stacey Abrams brought her campaign bus to Albany.

Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Stacey Abrams, who announced her plans to seek the state’s top office in Albany, returned to the city on Monday as part of the final leg of her campaign, mere hours before voters were to head to the polls for today’s primary election.

“As much as we want to do work, you have to have people who believe that the work should be done,” Abrams said, thanking all of the people who came out on Wednesday to support her campaign.

Abrams talked about the importance of the inclusion of all of Georgia when it comes to statewide matters. She said she thinks that southwest Georgia, especially the city of Albany, has too long been overlooked by the state. Abrams said that Georgia needs a governor who recognizes that the city of Atlanta and its surrounding counties are not the only part of Georgia.

Casey Cagle‘s hometown Gainesville Times has a prediction for today’s elections.

Casey Cagle will wake up on Tuesday and win Georgia’s Republican primary election.

No one ever doubted that Georgia’s longtime lieutenant governor, born in Gainesville and raised in Hall County, would come out on top on Tuesday. With almost 100 percent of voters recognizing his name and more than twice the campaign cash of anyone else in the race, Cagle’s four other major challengers haven’t raced for first place; even the day before the election, they proclaim they’re happily “surging” into second place.

Cagle will win — but will he win by enough?

If Cagle, 52, doesn’t get a majority of votes cast in the primary, he’s bound for a runoff against the second-place finisher. That’s why former state Sen. Hunter Hill, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and businessman Clay Tippins have all made the case that they’re the only ones who can topple the lieutenant governor in a July runoff — a runoff is their only hope.

The Gainesville Times also lists local offices on the ballot in Hall County.

Gwinnett County early voting shows a trend that may be worrisome for Republicans, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The figures released by Gwinnett’s elections departments show 14,997 ballots were cast early. The majority of them — 8,447 ballots to be exact — were for the Democratic primary while another 5,846 early ballots were cast in the Republican primary. The county said 704 nonpartisan early ballots were cast as well.

Among Democratic voters, 7,981 voted advance in person by going to one of the county’s early voting sites between April 30 and last Friday. The county had also received 458 absentee by mail ballots in the Democratic primary as of Monday and another eight ballots were received by electronic ballot delivery from military and overseas voters.

Among Republican voters, 5,314 ballots were cast through advance in person voting while 532 absentee by mail ballots had been received. No ballots cast by electronic ballot delivery were received for the Republican primary.

The City of Stockbridge filed suit and is seeking an injunction, alleging that legislation setting up a referendum to create a new City of Eagles Landing is unconstitutional, according to The Henry Herald.

In addition, attorneys representing the city also indicated they would file a federal civil rights suit in the coming weeks.

The city is seeking a declaratory judgment and an injunction stating that the Eagles Landing bills that were signed by Gov. Nathan Deal are unconstitutional. The bills were referred to as Act 548 and Act 559 by attorneys on Thursday.

In addition, the city also seeks an interlocutory injunction against the BOC and the Board of Elections and Registration “from taking any action to aid or abet the creation of the city of Eagles Landing.”

“We’re asking the court to hold everything in place until the constitutionality of the two actions is determined,” [attorney Bob] Wilson said. “No case is perfect, and no case is a certainty, but we believe as a legal counsel this is a solid case. Not only have the constitutional provisions been violated, but the Supreme Court of Georgia, since the 1950s, ruled on exactly these same points, and each time, they ruled in the direction we’re asking the courts to find now.”

The Gwinnett County Commission may consider purchasing the OFS site on Jimmy Carter Boulevard, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gwinnett County commissioners will decide whether they support the county purchasing more than 100 acres of the OFS property near Norcross on Tuesday.

The agenda shows the commissioners will take up a resolution “in support of the Urban Redevelopment Agency of Gwinnett County entering into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with OFS Brightwave Solutions Inc. to purchase 104 acres of land.” County tax records show OFS owns 168.85 acres of land at the site. The company will continue an ongoing expansion on the property it will keep, according to county documents.

The URA plans to pay $330,000 per acre — which amounts to a total of just over $34.3 million — for the property, according to the meeting agenda.

The resolutions shows plans for the portion of the OFS property that the URA is buying would be used for economic redevelopment, but the nature of that redevelopment was not specified in documents.

Macon protestors gathered outside a planned abortion clinic site, according to the Macon Telegraph.

“We’re here today to pray and silently protest the fact that this space has been authorized as an abortion clinic,” said Ann Beall, director of the The Saint Maximilian Kolbe Center for Life, which she described as a pregnancy resource center supported by the Catholic Church. “Our goal is to hopefully ever prevent them from opening.”

Beall said opponents have reached out to local government officials but added, “we have not had a specific conversation about this clinic, but that is coming.”

Last week, the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission approved a conditional-use permit for the Summit Center PC, to allow a medical office at 833 Walnut St. No one attended the meeting to oppose the application. The parent company, Summit Medical Centers, has offices in Atlanta and Detroit. It would provide low-cost women’s gynecological health services including pap smears, vaginal infection treatment, flu vaccines, contraceptive prescriptions and “first trimester only abortion care and gynecological exams,” according to its application.

Democrats go to Court

The ACLU of Georgia represents Democrat Maria Palacios in a lawsuit alleging she was unlawfully removed from the ballot, according to the Gainesville Times.

Until Friday, May 18, Maria Palacios was running as a Democrat in the primary for Georgia House District 29. Running unopposed, Palacios was lined up to face Rep. Matt Dubnik, R-Gainesville, and independent challenger Nancy Stead in the November general election.

But on Friday, Secretary of State Brian Kemp signed an order declaring Palacios was unqualified to run for office because she didn’t become a U.S. citizen until 2017. Kemp and his office have ruled that because Palacios hasn’t been a citizen for more than two years, she doesn’t meet the state requirements for public office.

The Georgia statute quoted by the secretary of state’s office states, “At the time of their election, the members of the House of Representatives shall be citizens of the United States, shall be at least 21 years of age, shall have been citizens of this state for at least two years, and shall have been legal residents of the territory embraced within the district from which elected for at least one year.”

The ACLU of Georgia, which is representing Palacios in a lawsuit filed this week, argues the term “citizens of this state” is up for interpretation.

Democrat Ken Montano filed a complaint with the USDOJ alleging election improprieties against his campaign for State House District 107, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Ken Montano, a Democrat running for the House District 107 seat, said he was told by a voter that a sign that said Montano withdrew from the race had been posted in the advance polling location where they cast their ballot. Montano, who is running against Shelly Hutchinson in the Democratic primary for the seat, said he did not drop out of the race, however.

“My campaign has been irretrievably harmed by the actions taken prior to Primary Election Day,” Montano said in an email. “My civil rights, and the rights of voters to select the candidate of their choice, were violated. Removing the Notices on Tuesday and even making a public announcement about the error will not suffice. The harm has already been done.

“There may be grounds to invalidate the election. I have reached out to a local civil rights attorney for assistance, and filed a formal complaint with the Department of Justice Elections Division.”

The incident raises questions about how the notices were posted in the polling sites during early voting. Montano said he was told by Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections Chairman Stephen Day that the signs had been posted at the early voting sites because they had been authorized by the Secretary of State’s Office.

Montano said he spoke with an official in the Secretary of State’s Elections Division on Monday and was told the county had not been authorized to post the notice.

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