Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 11, 2018

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 11, 2018

On June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert R. Livingston of New York to draft a declaration of independence from Britain. Language in the original draft that condemned the introduction of the slave trade in the colonies did not make the final draft.

Abraham Baldwin, founder of the University of Georgia, arrived in Philadelphia on June 11, 1787 to attend the Constitutional Convention. Baldwin was joined by three other delegates, William Few Jr., William Houston, and William Pierce; Baldwin and Few would sign the Constitution on behalf of Georgia.

On June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy issued proclamation 3542 ordering Governor George Wallace of Alabama to allow two African-American students to register at the University of Alabama, as ordered by a federal court.

On the morning of June 11, the day the students were expected to register, Wallace stood in front of the University of Alabama campus auditorium flanked by Alabama state troopers while cameras flashed and recorders from the press corps whirred. Kennedy, at the White House, and Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, in Tuscaloosa, kept in touch by phone.

When Wallace refused to let the students enter for registration, Katzenbach phoned Kennedy. Kennedy upped the pressure on Wallace, immediately issuing Presidential Proclamation 3542, which ordered the governor to comply, and authorizing the secretary of defense to call up the Alabama National Guard with Executive Order 11111.

That afternoon, Katzenbach returned with the students and asked Wallace to step aside. Wallace, knowing he was beaten, relented, having saved face with his hard-line, anti-segregation constituency.

On June 11, 1986, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was released.

[T]he most memorable performer may have been an automobile: the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California, a custom-built car revered by auto collectors.

According to Motor Trend, the first Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California—colloquially known as the “Cal Spyder”—was produced in 1957 and the last was built in early 1963. In addition to the long-wheelbase (LWB) Spyder, Ferrari also produced a sportier, short-wheelbase (SWB) model. Though estimates vary as to exactly how many were made—Cameron says “less than a hundred” in the film—approximately 46 LWB and between 50 and 57 SWB Spyders were produced in all. For “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the filmmakers used a modified MGB roadster with a fiberglass body as a stand-in for the Ferrari. The filmmakers reportedly received angry letters from car enthusiasts who believed that a real Ferrari had been damaged.

One 1961 250 GT SWB Spyder California, with chassis number GT 2377GT, belonged to the actor James Coburn (“The Magnificent Seven”), who died in 2002. On May 18, 2008, at the second annual Ferrari Leggenda e Passione event at Maranello, Italy, the British deejay Chris Evans bought that car at auction for 6.4 million Euros, or $10,894,400 (including fees), the highest price ever paid for an automobile at auction.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal appointed Billy E. New, Jr., a retired law enforcement professional, to the Georgia Board of Natural Resources, representing the 13th Congressional District.

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle was the subject of a secret recording made by 4th-place finisher in the Governor’s race, Clay Tippins. From the AJC:

Cagle’s conversation with Tippins, who finished fourth in the race, took place two days after the May 22 primary in Cagle’s campaign headquarters in DeKalb County. It was surreptitiously recorded on Tippins’ phone, which was in his coat pocket. 

The recording begins with Tippins questioning the fallout involving Cagle and Tippins’ uncle, state Sen. Lindsey Tippins, a Cagle supporter who resigned as Senate Education Committee chairman shortly after the legislative session ended.

Cagle: And listen, Lindsey — there’s a reason I put him as education chair. Because it is my biggest issue, and it’s the issue that I’m the most passionate about, that I care the most, it’s where I focus my efforts. And Lindsey is the guy I can trust to get it done. So, I just told Lindsey point-blank. I said, ‘Lindsey, the SSO bill, I’ve got to have it.’

Tippins: Why did you have to have it? I know you rely upon him, and he felt — he knows his (expletive). I know you trust his judgment on education, and he knows his (expletive). Why did you have to have that so bad? Because I love him, and I can see the pain on him …

Cagle: It was bad, it was bad.

Tippins: Why? You turned on him. And there are reasons for that. Why did you have to have it?

Cagle: Exactly the reason I told Lindsey, that you need to listen to: It ain’t about public policy. It’s about (expletive) politics. There’s a group that was getting ready to put $3 million behind Hunter Hill. Mr. Pro-Choice. I mean, Mr. Pro-Charters, Vouchers. …

From an AJC interview with LG Cagle:

“During the political exchange that I had with Clay Tippins, it was just that: A political exchange. In terms of the importance of doing something good for Georgia, we did. And I’m proud of what we accomplished. Just like President Trump didn’t get everything he wanted on the budget deal or the tax cut, it was certainly for the greater good. My record speaks for itself …

“When I made the statement that this was bad legislation, I will tell you there were things that I did not like. And I don’t back away from that. In the context of the way it was framed, I would probably have said things a little differently. But you always have to look at whether the greater good is being accomplished. And in this instance it was.”

Q: You tied this bill several times to an effort to prevent Hunter Hill from getting outside support.

Cagle: “The policy is the right policy. Is it perfect? Maybe it’s not as perfect as we would like. It’s certainly good policy. And the reality is I have not received any money whatsoever centered around any of this. And I stand on my record and the things that I’ve done as lieutenant governor.”

Q: How do you reconcile what you said? 

Cagle: “Everybody recognizes when you come into an environment and someone is taping you that you’re not aware of, there are things that are said in private that come across sometimes in a wrong way. And that is not in the context of the overall point we were trying to make to him in a political context.”

Q: Is there anything you said that you regret?

Cagle: “Well, certainly, in situations like this to say the bill was bad in a thousand different ways is really an overstatement. It would be better to have stated that the bill was not perfect. There were many ways in which we could have perfected the bill, but in a political process that becomes very challenging …”

The Lieutenant Governor also spoke to his hometown Gainesville Times about the issue.

“Obviously, it was a private conversation that was supposed to be confidential,” Cagle said Saturday in an interview with The Times. “It doesn’t change the fact that I certainly said what I said, but it was in the context of a political discussion by which he wanted to have.”

“Politics is sometimes … it has to be created in a way that builds consensus,” Cagle said during the grand opening of his Gainesville headquarters. “And when you pull back the curtain, that’s not always a pretty process. But in the end, it is about doing the greater good. And I think people that know me, people who have seen my record, recognize that I am a person who wants to advance the state of Georgia and make life better for others. And I’ll be true to that.”

“Listen, there’s politics in the House, there’s politics in the Senate, there’s politics in the governor’s office and there’s politics externally,” Cagle said. “And you know, was the bill perfect? No. But did it advance the cause in terms of improving public education and more educational options? Absolutely.”

“I didn’t vote for Casey to be my pastor, I voted for him to be the leader of the state, and that doesn’t require him to be a pastor,” [Gainesville resident Sheila] Jones said. “I would like for him to have a good set of moral values, which I do think Casey does or I wouldn’t have voted for him, but I don’t expect him to be the pastor. I’m not looking to him for that.”

Savannah-Chatham Board of Education members clashed in an open meeting, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Board President Jolene Byrne had balked in an email at a suggested two-day board retreat in late August to help fulfill requirements set out by state accreditation investigators.

The issue was brought up by board member Julie Wade and ranged from an insinuation Byrne wasn’t truthful about her conflict and ended with board member Larry Lower erupting in anger.

“I’m sorry to say but you are the stumbling block in trying to address this,” Lower said to Byrne. “I’m very disturbed that we got this committee so that we can address these needs and every time they come up with something to address these needs, you have an excuse as to why you can’t get involved.”

“You are taking us down a road to destroy this board, and I’m not going to let it happen as long as I’m on it (the board),” Lower said.

“I actually don’t appreciate that you brought some of this up in the public meeting,” Byrne said. “I think it’s contrary to the spirit of what we are trying to accomplish … particularly when you question whether I’m being honest about having a conflict. That’s not professional, respectful or helpful.”

The Bulloch County Board of Education voted to develop cost estimates for placing school resource officers at every public school in the county, according to the Statesboro Herald.

“It’s a serious problem, and I’m passionate about doing something – I suspect we all are – because I am not willing to gamble the lives of our kids by us sitting back and not being able to make a decision,” said District 3 board member Dr. Stuart Tedders. “I’m just not.”

He had noted that the local concern picked up in response to the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, but that it was not the last school shooting. The Parkland massacre left 17 people dead and 17 others injured.

Thirteen Glynn County voters cast their ballots for Jesus in the recent primary election despite his not being a declared candidate. From The Brunswick News:

The son of God pulled 13 votes during the May 22 elections, in which voters were allowed to write-in candidates for office in the nonpartisan races, which included most judicial races and one seat on the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission. Of those 13 votes, six were for state Supreme Court seats, six were for state Court of Appeals seats, and one was for the seat of Glynn County Superior Court Judge Roger Lane.

God did less well, garnering 11 votes — four for the Supreme Court, seven for the Court of Appeals. Following Jesus and God in popularity was the always-dependable “Anybody Else,” who received five votes for Supreme Court, three votes for the Court of Appeals and two votes for Glynn County Superior Court.

Among real, living people, President Donald Trump pulled eight votes spilt between the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, but former President Barack Obama garnered nine votes, including one for Lane’s seat.

Some might argue with the characterization of Jesus as not being “among real, living people.”

Glynn County is urging residents who might need help in the event of an evacuation to sign up with the Need A Ride program, according to The Brunswick News.

The Augusta Chronicle looks at Georgia donors to South Carolina campaigns.

Ahead of Tuesday’s primary, Republican attorney Catherine Templeton is the top pick of donors with Georgia addresses as she challenges GOP Gov. Henry McMaster.

Templeton’s Georgia fundraising included 36 contributions of $3,500, the maximum South Carolina allows from an individual, from donors listing addresses in tiny south Georgia locales such as Lake Park, Kite, Hahira, Quitman, Lenox, Sylvester and Ty Ty. She had nine donors give the maximum from Valdosta, including Georgia Forestry Commission Chairman John W. Langdale III.

“Catherine’s conservative message resonates with Gamecocks, Tigers and even Bulldogs,” Templeton campaign manager R.J. May III said.

Of his $4.4 million in fundraising, Georgia donors gave McMaster a combined $88,874, with two-thirds of it coming from metro Atlanta and none from southwest Georgia. McMaster enters the primary with $769,101 on hand.

Redistricting

A three-judge federal court panel found evidence of racial gerrymandering in a Georgia case, but held that it fell short of the standard for issuing an injunction, according to the AJC.

The court wrote in its June 1 decision that although “changing demographics” were a reason the Georgia General Assembly redrew the districts in 2015, the plaintiffs couldn’t refute testimony that partisanship — not race — was a primary motivation. A pending U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a Wisconsin case could determine whether partisan redistricting is constitutional.

The ruling came in a case filed last year by several voters and the Georgia chapter of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, who alleged that legislators illegally gerrymandered state House districts to increase the percentage of white voters to protect incumbent Republicans.

“Their express purpose was to change Districts 105 And 111 just enough to protect the incumbents there, without endangering the incumbent Republican House members in the neighboring districts. And that’s exactly what they did,” according to the court’s order.

“We did not move these voters because they are black, the state tells us. We moved them because they were Democrats. And under current Supreme Court precedent, the state tells us this motive is perfectly acceptable,” the order said.

From Kate Brumback with the Associated Press:

A panel composed of 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Beverly Martin and U.S. District judges Timothy Batten and William Duffey on June 1 declined to grant a preliminary injunction.

A claim of racial gerrymandering must show that race was the main factor behind the decision to move a significant number of voters into or out of a particular district, the opinion written by Martin says. But the state is claiming partisan motivation.

The panel had previously dismissed a partisan gerrymandering claim in the case because the plaintiffs did not provide “any judicially manageable method for measuring discriminatory effect.”

The case “turns on a credibility determination, where one side has taken an oath that race was not a factor in how the redistricting lines were drawn, and the other side is not in a position to swear that it was,” Martin wrote.

Those doing the redistricting were openly trying to help Republican incumbents and, in the process, “moved many black voters from districts where their votes would have made an impact into districts where they did not,” Martin wrote.

From the Daily Report:

Judge Beverly Martin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, who authored the majority opinion, said the process that led the Georgia General Assembly in 2015 to redraw two politically competitive state House districts to benefit Republican incumbents was “decidedly not” fair and effective representation of voters, most of whom are African-American.

While the panel agreed an injunction wasn’t warranted, Martin’s majority opinion questioned the veracity of legislative staff who testified in pretrial depositions and the ultimate fairness of the redistricting process drew sharp criticism from Duffey in a separate concurring opinion.

The push to redraw the two Georgia House districts began shortly after Rep. Joyce Chandler, District 105’s white Republican incumbent from Grayson, won her 2014 race with only 52.8 percent of the vote, and Rep. Brian Strickland of McDonough, also a white Republican, won District 111 with 53.1 percent.

Fearing a demographic shift, the two legislators sought help from Wright’s staff and House Reapportionment Committee Chairman Randall Nix, R-LaGrange.

But, Martin wrote, “This record leaves no doubt that Ms. Wright, Mr. O’Connor, and all the other stakeholders involved, knew plenty about the racial demographics of Districts 105 and 111.”

Duffey disagreed. The majority opinion, he contended, “conjures up a group sitting in a room clicking on Maptitude to move black voters from one district to another with the intent to depress black voting strength.”

An expected ruling by the United States Supreme Court may change the rules about the permissibility of partisan gerrymandering, according to the AJC.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule in the coming weeks on whether it’s unconstitutional to change district borders to benefit one political party over another.

Because partisan redistricting is currently allowed, the federal court on June 1 denied a request for a preliminary injunction to halt upcoming elections in those districts.

A ruling from the high court on partisan gerrymandering — by Republicans in Wisconsin and Democrats in Maryland — could be handed down by the end of this month.

From Bloomberg on the U.S. Supreme Court case:

A broad ruling against gerrymandering could bolster Democrats, letting them attack Republican-drawn maps around the country, though it almost certainly won’t come soon enough to affect the November midterm elections.

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