Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 19, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 19, 2018

The Georgia Whig Party held its first convention on June 19, 1843 in Milledgeville and elected ten delegates to the 1844 National Convention.

The first Republican National Convention, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ended on June 19, 1856.

The Republicans, who called for the abolition of slavery in all U.S. territories, rapidly gained supporters in the North, and in 1856 their first presidential candidate, John Fremont, won 11 of the 16 Northern states. By 1860, the majority of Southern states were publicly threatening secession if a Republican won the presidency.

The Civil War firmly identified the Republican Party as the official party of the victorious North. After the war, the Republican-dominated Congress forced a radical Reconstruction policy on the South, which saw the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, abolishing slavery and granting voting rights to African American men in the South. By 1876, the Republican Party had lost control of the South, but it continued to dominate the presidency, with a few intermissions, until the ascendance of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.

On June 19, 1864, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston retreated from Pine Mountain and Lost Mountain toward Marietta. Click here to watch a two-minute video by Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Atlanta History Center about this week in Georgia in 1864.

On the same day, USS Kearsarge sank CSS Alabama off the coast of Cherbourg, France in one of the most-celebrated naval battles of the Civil War.

Under its captain, Raphael Semmes, the Alabama prowled the world for three years, capturing U.S. commercial ships. It sailed around the globe, usually working out of the West Indies, but taking prizes and bungling Union shipping in the Caribbean, off Newfoundland, and around the coast of South America. In January 1863, Semmes sunk a Union warship, the Hatteras, after luring it out of Galveston, Texas.

During its career, the Alabama captured 66 ships and was hunted by more than 20 Federal warships.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

My analysis of 2018 Primary Voting: “new” Democratic primary votes do not mean the sky is falling. From the AJC:

Republican strategist Todd Rehm, editor of, notes that primary voters aren’t necessarily a true predictor of general election turnout:

My primary finding is that substantially identical percentages of 2018 Republican Primary voters (96.70%) had voted in the 2016 General Election as 2018 Democratic Primary voters (96.03%). Unless these voters changed their party preference in the last two years, which is possible, the “new” Democratic Primary voters won’t add appreciably to the 2018 General Election numbers for their party.

Click here for more.

Absentee voting in Polk County is underway, with in-person advance voting to begin July 2d, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

“We’ve sent out 140 absentee ballots: 100 Republicans and 40 Democrats,” Floyd County Elections Supervisor Willie Green said Monday.

Both parties still have races to decide from the May 22 primaries because no single candidate took more than 50 percent of the vote.

Those who voted in the Democratic primary are ineligible to vote in the Republican runoff, and vice versa. A voter who picked the nonpartisan ballot in May can opt to participate in either party’s runoff.

“And if you didn’t vote at all in the primary, you can vote in the runoff,” Elections Clerk Donna Maldonaldo said. “As long as you were registered by the deadline, April 24.”

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle announced he has received the endorsement of the Police Benevolent Association in his campaign for Governor.

Casey Cagle, the leading conservative Republican for governor, announced today that he has earned the endorsement of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) of Georgia. Georgia’s division of the PBA has over 13,000 law enforcement officers in all levels of government and is the largest law enforcement association in Georgia.

“I am honored to have earned the support of the Police Benevolent Association,” Cagle said. “Throughout my entire career, I’ve fought to back the badge and lead for our dedicated law enforcement heroes. As governor, I will continue leading the fight to ensure that our officers are fairly compensated for their selfless service. These leaders protect our families and communities every day – they absolutely deserve our unwavering support.”

“We’re excited to endorse Casey Cagle’s campaign for governor,” said Joseph Naia, President of Georgia’s Division of the Police Benevolent Association. “Casey has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to backing the badge and leading for our law enforcement officers. We trust that he is the best candidate to continue making Georgia a great place for law enforcement officers to live, work and raise a family.”

Cagle’s campaign for governor has also secured endorsements of over 100 sheriffs throughout Georgia.

“I am humbled to have such strong support from the law enforcement community,” Cagle said. “I look forward to working alongside the PBA to make Georgia the number one state for law enforcement officers.”

Cagle’s campaign continues to gain momentum after a commanding victory in the GOP primary in which Cagle won 123 out of 159 counties. He has been endorsed by over 100 sheriffs, the National Rifle Association, the Police Benevolent Association, Educators First, the Marietta Daily Journal, the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger, the Rome News Tribune, and earned the support of the Georgia Realtors.

Cagle has pledged to continue cutting taxes, deliver a comprehensive 10-year infrastructure plan, and create 500,000 new jobs in the first four years of his administration. He has also made workforce development a top priority and will continue to lead on developing a world-class education system in Georgia.

Gainesville gun manufacturer Honor Defense is having problems with financial institutions that don’t want to do business with them, according to the Gainesville Times.

Honor Defense was dropped without notice by its online payment processor, Stripe, in August 2017 because the San Francisco-based company no longer wanted to do business with the Gainesville manufacturer, according to Honor Defense CEO Gary Ramey.

Ramey was notified last year that his company violated Stripe’s terms of service, which bars businesses dealing in weapons and munitions from using the online payment company.

Intuit Quickbooks, who provided phone payment services to Ramey, told him in March that the company was cutting ties with Honor Defense.

Now, after initially shrugging off the decision from Stripe, the Gainesville business owner is trying to rally a defense for his business and others like him.

Georgia has a law prohibiting unfair treatment of the firearms industry, called the Georgia Firearms Industry Nondiscrimination Act. The law is enforced through a complaint system, but here too Ramey has hit a dead end.

He said on Monday that the Georgia Attorney General’s Office won’t take up his case as both Stripe and Intuit are licensed as “money transmitters” and not banks. The law was written to prevent banks and other financial institutions from blocking access of firearms businesses to the financial system.

From the AJC’s coverage:

A credit card processor’s role in handling a Georgia gunmaker’s financial transactions has suddenly become a hot issue in the race for governor, a sharp example of how Second Amendment rights continue to help frame the July runoff.

Both Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp slammed Intuit, a financial firm that processes credit card payments, for “discriminating” against Honor Defense, a fast-growing gun manufacturer and retailer based in Gainesville.

The Republican candidates for governor seized on the issue after it was publicized by a gun rights publication.

“It’s not an Honor Defense issue. It’s an issue for retailers around the country,” said Gary Ramey, the company’s owner. “The world still runs by credit cards. It could really debilitate our business.”

Five Macon businesses object to opening a new abortion clinic, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The plaintiffs say the description of the medical office prior to the zoning meeting was inadequate in that it was not fully disclosed what procedures would be performed there. They want the court to decide if proper notice was given and if the hearing was held properly.

Also, traffic and congestion from protesters are affecting their customers and employees, the businesses say, and if the zoning commission approval “is allowed to stand, the beneficial use and enjoyment of the Plaintiffs’ properties will be substantially, adversely and permanently affected,” the court filing said.

“Plaintiffs… have seen and observed increased protesters, and Plaintiffs have some concern for the safety of their employees and customers,” it said. The owners also “have legitimate and real fear for their safety, (and) the use and enjoyment of their property for their various business interests.”

Lula City Council approved a FY 2019 budget that includes 10% raises for all employees, according to AccessWDUN.

Gainesville City Board of Education members adopted a FY 2019 budget and millage rate unanimously, according to AccessWDUN.

Glynn County Commissioners are considering an impact fee for St Simons Island, according to The Brunswick News.

Grayson City Council scheduled two hearings on the FY 2019 millage rate, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The public hearing for comments will be at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday, July 2, and the one for adoption will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, July 9.

Savannah City Council is considering eliminating the new fire fee that generated a firestorm of opposition, according to the Savannah Morning News.

After almost six months of growing public criticism, the Savannah City Council on Monday directed staff to develop a plan for eliminating the controversial fee that was to be billed this fall and come up with a way to make up for millions in lost revenue.

Staff estimates they will need to make up for about $16.5 million as a result of eliminating the fee that has faced widespread opposition from property owners and residents since it was implemented as part of the 2018 budget in January.

“They were not interested in having another fee imposed,” said Mayor Pro Tem Carol Bell. “At this point we need to recognize that that’s what the public was saying and they are the people who we represent.”

The fee was expected to generate about $20.5 million for fire services, but another $4 million set aside for a fire fee reserve fund that will no longer be needed will decrease the revenue deficit that results from the fee’s elimination.

The City of Hogansville held it’s own debt intervention, according to the LaGrange Daily News.

The City of Hogansville’s debt was discussed at its Town Hall meeting Thursday at the Hogansville Public Library. City Manager David Milliron presented how the city will soon have a debt of $14,720,274.

“This (Hogansville City) Council did not put you in this position,” Milliron said. “No one council would put you in this position. This goes over many, many years and many decisions, but this is the council that has to deal with it, if they want to.”

“Under Georgia law, the city cannot file for bankruptcy,” Milliron said. “You don’t have municipal bankruptcy in Georgia. The city could relinquish its charter, but the debt would still be due.”

Citizen James Shambles asked how bad of an impact all of the debt would have on the city. Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz said there were several ways out of debt, but he could not be specific because of ongoing negotiations.

“There’s several alternatives that will alter that debt picture,” Stankiewicz said. “I can tell you personally I lose sleep over it. I wake up in the middle of the night, and I’ll start thinking about this debt situation, and it just drives me nuts.”

Corrugated plastic campaign signs may not be recyclable, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Supporters for Philip Schley found success in the District 8 race on the Muscogee County School Board but struck out when they tried to go green with 1,000 yard signs.

Cameron Bean, the chairman and manager of Schley’s campaign, said they were turned away from the city’s Recycling and Sustainability Center after they attempted to recycle styrene signs. Schley, a former school board member, defeated incumbent attorney Frank Myers in the May 22 local election.

Pat Biegler, director of Public Works which includes the recycling center, said there is no market for recycling styrene and mixing the plastic coated material with cardboard does more harm than good.

“I can tell you basically that most of the signs are plastic coated and we can’t recycle that,” Biegler said Friday.

Bean said the campaign selected the styrene signs because they are lightweight and more durable over a long campaign season compared with the paper-type signs.

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled that Sandy Springs may effectively ban strip clubs, according to the AJC.

Sandy Springs can ban the sale of alcohol at strip clubs and other adult establishments within its city limits, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled Monday.

But the state Supreme Court, in a decision written by Justice Britt Grant, said such laws can “constitutionally regulate negative secondary effects of strip clubs without unduly inhibiting free speech or expression.”

Sandy Springs adopted its ordinance after holding public hearings in late 2005. Council members were told that strip clubs depressed values of nearby properties and increased criminal activity, leading to higher costs for law enforcement and the court system. The city hired private investigators to conduct surveillance of the city’s adult clubs, and they reported seeing prostitution and public lewdness and intoxication.

“(The strip club) argues that by prohibiting the profitable combination of live nudity and alcohol, the city will effectively eliminate constitutionally protected conduct; that is, nude dance,” she wrote. “But constitutional protections are extended to speech and expression, not to profits.”


Pierce County Republicans have floated the idea of South Georgia seceding from Atlanta the rest of the State, according to the AJC.

The provocative question appeared on ballots in the Pierce County Republican primary last month: Should the counties south of Macon join together to “form the 51st state of South Georgia?”

As results came in, the referendum received even more support than its backers anticipated—over 27 percent of GOP voters answered yes.

Now, Republican activists who put the question on the Pierce County ballot say they plan to organize similar referendums throughout South Georgia. And while the the ballot question was initially intended as tongue-in-cheek, it reflects a genuine sentiment: As lawmakers in Atlanta tout Georgia’s rapid economic growth, voters in rural counties and those far from the capital are feeling left behind.

“There’s some frustration down here that’s no different from frustration anywhere else in rural Georgia,” said Robert M. Williams, Jr., the editor of the Blackshear Times in Pierce County. “Rural Georgia is suffering. We hear about an economic resurgence, but we’re not seeing it here.”

Kay Godwin, the head of the Pierce County GOP, said that the referendum to secede from Georgia was initially intended as a joke, but stemmed from real frustration among voters in the majority-Republican county.

A group of Gwinnett County residents wants to preserve the character of their still-rural part of the bustling suburban county, according to the AJC.

[A zoning dispute] involves 160 acres way out near the Walton County line, in one of the few areas of Gwinnett that could still be considered largely rural. It involves a proposal to build a big new subdivision with a few hundred houses near the corner of June Ivey and Indian Shoals roads. It involves a band of locals trying to preserve what’s become an endangered way of life, especially in a county that’s been growing since the ’80s, already has more than 900,000 residents and may add as many as half a million more over the next two decades or so.

The protests have been sizable, both online and at meetings. “Rural Gwinnett” signs line the nearby roads.

“I just think it’s a shame,” Laura Walsh, the leader of the resistance, said during a recent walk through the pine-flanked battleground. “It’s kind of that whole feeling that we’re paving paradise and putting up a parking lot, you know?”

The Rural Gwinnett movement has more than 600 followers on Facebook. It’s also become sizable enough to have an impact on a race for the local state House seat — House District 105, already one of Georgia’s most competitive.

Republican candidate Donna Sheldon got involved in the Rural Gwinnett movement early on, Walsh said. Fellow Republican Robin Mauck — who will face Sheldon in next month’s primary runoff — caught flak from the group for suggesting on her campaign signs that she was involved with the cause before she actually was.

Click here to visit the Rural Gwinnett website.

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