Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 27, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 27, 2018

On July 28, 1868, United States Secretary of State William Seward proclaimed that the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution had been ratified and was now part of the Constitution. The first section of the 14th Amendment often forms the basis for litigation and reads:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Georgia initially rejected the 14th Amendment in 1866, later ratifying it on July 21, 1868 as a condition for readmission.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt made his eighth visit to Warm Springs, Georgia on July 29, 1927.

Congress passed legislation establishing the National Aeronautic and Space Admininistration (NASA) on July 29, 1958.

The Doors’ “Light My Fire” became their first #1 hit on July 29, 1967.

On July 27, 1974, the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee approved the first impeachment article against President Richard M. Nixon.

The first such impeachment recommendation in more than a century, it charge[d] President Nixon with unlawful activities that formed a “course of conduct or plan” to obstruct the investigation of the Watergate break-in and to cover up other unlawful activities.

The vote was 27 to 11, with 6 of the committee’s 17 Republicans joining all 21 Democrats in voting to send the article to the House.

The majority included three conservative Southern Democrats and three conservative Republicans.

On July 28, 1978, Animal House was released, instantly becoming one of the greatest films of all time. In case you’ve never seen the film, there is a tiny little bit of adult language in the following clip.

On July 28, 1994, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating “The General” locomotive, which was stolen in 1862 during the Great Locomotive Chase. Today, The General may be viewed at The Southern Museum in Kennesaw.

A bomb exploded at a free concert in Centennial Park in Atlanta on July 27, 1996.

Police were warned of the bombing in advance, but the bomb exploded before the anonymous caller said it would, leading authorities to suspect that the law enforcement officers who descended on the park were indirectly targeted.

Within a few days, Richard Jewell, a security guard at the concert, was charged with the crime. However, evidence against him was dubious at best, and in October he was fully cleared of all responsibility in the bombing.

Carl Lewis won his fourth consecutive gold medal in the long jump at the Atlanta Olympics on July 29, 1996.

Former Georgia Governor Zell Miller took the oath of office as United States Senator on July 27, 2000. Miller would go on to win a special election for the remainder of the term in November 2000.

On July 27, 2014, former Braves manager Bobby Cox and pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with former White Sox player Frank Thomas, who was born in Columbus, Georgia.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal appointed Tom Rawlings as Interim Director of the Department of Family and Childrens’ Services (DFCS). From the Press Release:

Gov. Nathan Deal [] appointed Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) Director Tom Rawlings to be the interim director of the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). Rawlings’ appointment follows the departure of DFCS Director Virginia Pryor. Deal also appointed OCA Deputy Director Rachel Davidson to serve as Interim OCA Director. Both appointments are effective Aug. 1.

“Every child deserves a safe, loving and supportive environment in which to grow and learn,” said Deal. “DFCS and OCA are instrumental in our efforts to protect and care for Georgia’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens, while providing all children with greater opportunities to succeed. Throughout his extensive career in juvenile justice and child advocacy, Tom Rawlings has demonstrated a profound commitment to ensuring the health and wellbeing of young people across our state. I am confident he will serve Georgia well and that Rachel Davidson will build upon our initiatives at OCA. I am grateful for Director Pryor’s leadership and wish her the best in her next endeavor.”

GOP Gubernatorial nominee Brian Kemp said he’ll leave any dealings with Amazon to Gov. Deal’s administration, according to the AJC.

The secretary of state said Thursday he was briefed by Deal on the state’s Olympics-like pursuit of the $5 billion campus, which could bring as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs to Georgia. And he said he’s going to let the governor take the lead.

“I committed to him tonight that I understand there’s only one governor at a time,” he said.

He added: “I’m going to look at anything we’re doing, but I don’t have any control as secretary of state what they’re voting on in the Legislature, whether they’re calling a special session. I trust the governor and the Department of Economic Development to put our best foot forward and make sure we’re getting a good return on our investment.”

The governor said in January he’d call a special session if Amazon narrows its choices to Georgia, which could set up fraught election-year negotiations. The Seattle-based company has said it will select its finalist by the end of the year.

Georgia Democrats have a large number of female candidates on the November ballot, according to the AJC.

Former state lawmaker Stacey Abrams won the top spot in May, and is now running to become the first African-American woman to be elected governor in U.S. history.

But with Tuesday’s vote, we now know that the Nov. 6 ballot, in addition to Abrams, will feature 10 other female candidates for federal and statewide offices — a number unprecedented in Georgia political history.

Nine of those 11 Georgia women are Democrats.

In addition to Abrams, Democrats have nominated women for lieutenant governor (Sarah Riggs Amico), insurance commissioner (Janice Laws), and two open seats on the Public Service Commission (Lindy Miller and Dawn Randolph).

On Tuesday, Lucy McBath and Carolyn Bourdeaux were added to the Democratic list, winning the Sixth and Seventh District congressional nominations, respectively. Two other women, Lisa Ring and Tabitha Johnson-Green, won their congressional nominations in May.

Democrats may take issue with Brian Kemp’s record on election security, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Daniel Franklin, a political science professor at Georgia State University, said the issue could have an impact in November.

“If Stacey manages to convince Georgia that Kemp was incompetent at the one thing that he had to do as secretary of state, which is monitor the election … some Republican voters might not turn out to the polls,” he said.

Ryan Mahoney, a Kemp campaign spokesman, had a different view.

“According to the Department of Homeland Security, Georgia was not targeted by Russia or any other bad actors during the 2016 presidential election,” Mahoney said.

Under Kemp, “Georgia launched online voter registration, enhanced cybersecurity, implemented voter ID and citizenship check laws, and stopped radical groups from undermining the democratic process,” Mahoney wrote in an email.

Gwinnett County Commissioner John Heard opposes a November transit referendum, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Heard, who is up for re-election and facing a Democratic challenger this fall, said plans for bringing MARTA to the county are “fatally flawed” and a “rushed, poorly conceived ‘Pig in a Poke.’” He also called the transit agency a “tax-eating boondoggle” in a statement.

One of the commissioner’s qualms was with how many representatives Gwinnett would have on the MARTA board, versus how many representatives are on it from other communities.

“The board is dominated by representatives of Fulton County, DeKalb County and the city of Atlanta,” Heard said. “The current MARTA Board has 13 members. If Gwinnett joins Gwinnett will have three members on the board. Gwinnett will be outnumbered 13 to 3.

“Gwinnett’s tax dollars will be used to subsidize an inefficient, top heavy, politically influenced board for 10 years with no visible or tangible benefit to Gwinnett.”

Hall County voters will decide on a “Brunch Bill” referendum in November, according to AccessWDUN.

Hall County has now officially joined the list of local governments that will place a question on their November General Election ballots pertaining to Georgia Senate Bill 17, commonly known as the Brunch Bill, signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal on May 8, 2018.

Voters will be asked if they would like to move up the time on Sundays when alcoholic beverages can be served by as much as 90 minutes, allowing sales to begin at 11 a.m.

Gainesville, Oakwood and Flowery Branch leaders have already considered that action (Gainesville and Flowery Branch approving the question, Oakwood will decide next month); the Hall County Commission followed suit Thursday evening with a 3-1 vote to include the question.  Commissioner Scott Gibbs was opposed; Commissioner Jeff Stowe was absent.

The Macon Telegraph has a great story on the geography of 2018 elections in Georgia.

Republicans are also looking to turn out voters in smaller cities and rural areas, as they watch Democratic winning margins climb in metro Atlanta and indications of a blue wave rippling outward through the city’s suburbs. At a Thursday night “unity rally,” top Republicans urged a few hundred party leaders and elected officials to muster for conservative values to keep the state red.

In this Georgia election, the most important area to watch will be the Atlanta suburbs, said Coker.

Donald Trump failed to break 50 percent in the suburban GOP strongholds of Cobb and Gwinnett counties in the 2016 general election. The loss of those counties spooked some Georgia Republicans.

Republicans won’t concede Atlanta’s suburbs easily, but Democrat gains there are the more reason to make sure GOP supporters outside metro Atlanta vote. Kemp himself often mentions that he’s visited all 159 Georgia counties during the campaign. Vice President Mike Pence went to Macon in endorsement of Kemp.

“There’s going to be a much clearer choice here than we’ve had in the past between the parties,” said Alan Abramowitz, a political science professor at Emory University.

“Now I think with a liberal, African-American Democrat running against a very conservative full-throated Trump supporter, it’s going to be a very polarized choice here in Georgia,” said Abramowitz. “Which is kind of the trend we’re seeing in the country too.”

The Macon Telegraph looks at what a trade war might look like for pecan farmers.

After President Donald Trump placed tariffs on imported Chinese products, the Chinese retaliated by raising tariffs on U.S. exports to China. That includes an increase of the tariff on pecans from 7 percent to 47 percent. On Tuesday, the White House announced $12 billion in aid to farmers impacted by the trade war.

The tariff increase has little immediate impact because pecans aren’t being exported this time of year, but it could mean a lot once the harvest begins in the fall and growers are looking to sell their pecans.

China is especially important to local growers because the Chinese love Georgia’s big, meaty pecans. Pearson Farm in Fort Valley has about 3,000 acres of pecan trees, and about 60 percent of the crop is exported to China, said Lawton Pearson, a partner in the business.

Currently pecans are the only crop in the state significantly impacted by the trade war, said Julie McPeake, communications director for the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

China also put a 25 percent tariff on soybeans, a big Georgia crop, but McPeake said that shouldn’t impact Georgia farmers. Although China is a big buyer of U.S. soybeans, McPeake said most of Georgia’s soybeans go toward making feed for the state’s large poultry industry.

Savannah Police are working on four homicides committed in the last week, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Georgia and South Carolina ports will share a joint chassis pool, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Federal Maritime Commission took no action, which functions as an approval, against the Southern States Chassis Pool agreement at their meeting on Wednesday.

The agreement was filed by the two authorities in June and will be effective starting Aug. 2.

The new chassis pool will serve Charleston and Savannah ports, along with intermodal terminals in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia and South Carolina.

GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch has said the pool is needed to fill a chassis shortage and to upgrade the equipment.

Manatees are congregating around Jekyll Island, according to The Brunswick News.

State Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Clay George said when encountering manatees on the beach, it’s best to leave them alone.

“Unlike dolphins and whales, manatees have really tough skin, so they can stand being out of the water — or in shallow water — for hours at a time, and basically when water comes back, they’ll just swim off,” George said.

Also, manatees tend to weigh more than 1,000 pounds, so it’s better and safer for people to stay back. George said there have been a larger number of sightings around Jekyll because of a treated wastewater outfall on the intracoastal waterway, which attracts manatees because they want to drink the fresh water. However, the main aspect is there are simply more manatees in the water and they’re spreading out.

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