Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 13, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 13, 2018

The Second Continental Congress opened in Philadelphia on September 13, 1775; Georgia was represented by Archibald Bulloch, Lyman Hall,  John Houstoun, and John Zubly.

On September 13, 1788, the Confederation Congress voted to implement the Constitution and authorized states to elect Senators and Representatives and called the first Presidential election, with selection of presidential electors in the states to be held on January 7, 1789, and February 4, 1789 as the day electors would cast their ballots.

The first two women to enter the Georgia General Assembly, Viola Ross Napier of Bibb County and Atlanta Constitution reporter Bessie Kempton of Fulton County, were elected on September 13, 1922.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Vice President Mike Pence canceled his trip to Atlanta ahead of Hurricane Florence, according to the AJC.

Vice President Mike Pence postponed a trip to Georgia on Thursday as updated forecasts show Hurricane Florence is expected to threaten the state.

The Republican was scheduled to make two Florence-related pit stops – the first to a Delta Air Lines facility, the second to an American Red Cross supply center – before hosting a fundraiser to benefit the Georgia GOP and Republican Brian Kemp’s campaign for governor.

President Donald Trump has also canceled campaign events in Mississippi and Missouri because of the hurricane, which has prompted officials in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia to order the evacuation of 1.7 million people.

Governor Nathan Deal issued an emergency declaration covering all 159 Georgia counties.

“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Florence,” said Deal. “In light of the storm’s forecasted southward track after making landfall, I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas. GEMA/HS continues to lead our preparedness efforts as we coordinate with federal, state and local officials to provide public shelter and accommodate those evacuating from other states. Finally, I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence.”

To read the executive order, see below or click here.

President Trump called Gov. Deal to offer federal assistance ahead of the hurricane, according to the AJC.

The governor said in an interview that Trump called him late Wednesday to urge him to contact the White House with any requests for aid as Florence veers toward Georgia.

“It was very nice of him just to take the time to call, but none of us know just what the consequences would be,” said Deal.

“It’s too early to tell,” he added. “We don’t really know. We have all of our resources lined up in case there’s flooding. The big thing we worry about is the wind and the water. And we’ll do what we can do.”

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr issued a warning ahead of the hurricane, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

State Attorney General Chris Carr warned consumers Wednesday to also be wary of scammers and others who may try to profit from their distress or good intentions.

“Sadly enough, con artists often exploit disasters by taking advantage of storm victims or preying on the sympathies of those who want to help out,” Carr said in a statement.

Carr’s consumer protection unit will investigate reports of scams and price gouging during the state of emergency, which was issued around noon Wednesday for the entire state. The declaration, which prohibits price gouging, is valid for a week.

“We strongly urge scammers and price gougers to think twice before trying to take advantage of consumers who are fleeing the storm’s path or attempting to rebuild their lives in this storm’s aftermath in Georgia,” Carr said.

Scams and price gouging can be reported to the consumer protection unit at 1-800-869-1123. Reports can be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.

The Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission sent a supplement list of three nominees for a vacancy on the Georgia Supreme Court, according to the AJC.

The nominees are House Majority Whip Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville, and Appeals Court judges Charlie Bethel and Sara Doyle. They bring to 10 the number of people Deal could choose from to replace Harris Hines, who recently retired from the Georgia Supreme Court.

The [new] nominees are House Majority Whip Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville, and Appeals Court judges Charlie Bethel and Sara Doyle. They bring to 10 the number of people Deal could choose from to replace Harris Hines, who recently retired from the Georgia Supreme Court.

Coomer, Bethel and Doyle join the remaining candidates from [an earlier short] list for Deal’s appointment to the high court bench.

The other candidates are: DeKalb Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson; Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert, R-Athens; Superior Court Judge Melanie Cross of the Tifton Judicial Circuit; Cobb County Superior Court Judge Tain Kell; Fulton Superior Court judges Shawn LaGrua and Paige Reese Whitaker; and Rep. Andy Welch, R-McDonough.

Governor Deal endorsed fellow Republican Geoff Duncan in his campaign for Lieutenant Governor, according to the AJC.

Deal said Duncan is more than just talking points.

“Geoff Duncan presents solutions, not sound bites and brings a fresh, conservative innovative approach to policy making,” the outgoing Republican governor said in a statement. “He will be a great Lt. Governor and I look forward to seeing his ideas in action delivering for Georgia taxpayers.”

In [a] press release, Duncan said he “couldn’t be more proud” to have Deal’s support.

“He has guided our state through challenging times and we have come through stronger for his leadership,” Duncan said.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp , campaigning for Governor, spoke against criminal gangs, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

A key part of his pitch during the Republican primary, Kemp’s “stop and dismantle” proposal would devote state funding to create a street gang database within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that lawmakers first envisioned nearly a decade ago.

The plan would also fund a gang unit within the state Attorney General’s Office and form a state-level strike team to aid local agencies that cannot afford their own specialists.

“This is more than just a metro Atlanta issue,” Kemp told the media at his campaign’s Atlanta office in Buckhead. “This is 157 counties that have reported a rise in gang activity.”

Secretary of State Kemp and state Attorney General Chris Carr, who held a joint press conference, said there are 71,000 identifiable gang members in the state and 1,500 gang networks, citing a survey from the Georgia Gang Investigators Association. According to that survey, 155 school systems have reported an uptick in gang activity.

To underline Kemp’s statement about gang issues not being restricted to Metro Atlanta, a suspected Polk County gang member pled guilty to a firearms possession charge, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Hurricane Florence is causing coastal communities to batten down their hatches, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Tybee Islanders filled sand bags. Animal lovers adopted from the shelter. And emergency officials urged everyone to keep an eye on the storm and be prepared to shelter in place.

“Chatham County is not under a hurricane watch or warning,” Chatham Emergency Management Agency Director Dennis Jones said. “We want residents to maintain vigilance in monitoring the storm — it changes with every advisory.”

Forecasts from the National Hurricane Center have Florence making landfall on the southern North Carolina coast Friday, and indicate Florence could then stall before drifting southwest this weekend.

The most damaging winds and rain of the storm will not make it to Chatham County, but Warning Coordination Meteorologist Ron Morales at the National Weather Service in Charleston said that while the exact impacts aren’t known there’s increasing confidence in potentially significant impacts in southeast Georgia. Those impacts are more likely for tropical storm force winds, and lower for storm surge and rainfall.

“It appears we’re going to have more impacts than we thought a few days ago from the system as it may move closer,” Morales said.

Evacuees to Columbus are finding few hotel rooms and no city-operated shelters open, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

“We’ve got more hotels saying they don’t have availability,” said Peter Bowden, president and chief executive officer of the Visit Columbus GA, the city’s convention and visitors bureau. The city has more than 4,000 hotel rooms.

“In the beginning, the hotels tell us that people from the Georgia coast were calling to book, but because of the way the storm shifted, there were cancellations,” he said. “But just as quickly as those cancellations were happening, they were filling up with people from the Carolinas looking for alternatives.”

Columbus Parks & Recreation Director Hollie Browder said late Wednesday afternoon that her office has not received a request from the American Red Cross to open any of the city’s super centers for storm evacuees. But they are prepared to do so if needed under an agreement the city has with the relief agency.

Bowden said most Columbus hotels have either waived or reduced pet fees for those fleeing the storm with their furry loved ones. He also noted that should a hotel not allow pets, the local PAWS Humane shelter on Milgen Road has agreed to shelter them there.

Savannah-Chatham County public schools will be closed on Friday as Florence is expected to hit the coast, according to the Savannah Morning News.

There will be no school for students on Friday due to potential severe weather conditions associated with Hurricane Florence, said school district spokeswoman Sheila Blanco.

School based staff will not be required to report to work unless otherwise notified by his or her supervisor. Thursday remains a regular school day, but all after-school activities and athletic competitions will be canceled, Blanco said. The YMCA’s PrymeTyme program will operate until 6 p.m. Thursday.

The school District will maintain regular contact with the Chatham Emergency Management Agency to monitor storm impacts and establish the official date for the safe return to school operations. Official return to school notices will be communicated through the District’s call notification system, district website, and social media channels on Facebook and Twitter. An update will be provided no later than Sunday afternoon.

Explore Gwinnett is offering help to evacuees in finding accomodations in Gwinnett County, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Explore Gwinnett announced it is providing a list of hotels in the county that have at least some available rooms through Sunday on its website,, for hurricane evacuees. As of Wednesday night, there were about 42 hotels on the list and those hotels that are “pet friendly” were noted for animal owners.

A list of local pet boarding services was also provided on the website for pet owners who can’t get a room at a pet friendly hotel.

Hall County hotels and motels are largely booked completely due to the Dragon Board races, according to the Gainesville Times.

Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord will be suspended without pay for two weeks and have his salary reduced for six months after being charged with DUI, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The Savannah Economic Development Authority Board extended film incentives, according to the Savannah Morning News.

In the last two years, incentives paid out totaled just over $1.1 million, Brynn Grant, Chief Operating Officer of SEDA said. The numbers from 2018 aren’t yet available. The payoff from productions in economic impact to date in 2018 totaled $233 million. The overall impact since 2016 is nearly $600 million.

Those numbers show the incentives are working, Grant said.

Trash on St Simons Island beaches caused the deaths of some sea turtle hatchlings, according to The Brunswick News.

Tuesday, members of the St. Simons Island Sea Turtle Project discovered one of the eight nests on the island — No. 7 — hatched overnight, but many hatchlings from the “robust, otherwise successful hatch” crawled away from the ocean and instead died from exposure or from getting caught in beach gear that was left nearby, around the area of 9th Street, south of Gould’s Inlet.

“On our developed beaches, it’s something that happens pretty commonly — it’s really variable,” said Mark Dodd, director of the state Department of Natural Resources’ sea turtle program. “It depends on the season, (and) a lot of it has to do with where the nests are placed on the beach (and) how close they are to the artificial lighting.

State Rep. Bob Trammell (D-Luthersville) is challenging the residency of his general election opponent, Leonard Gomez, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

Rep. Bob Trammell, D-Luthersville, who currently serves as the representative for District 132, filed the challenge with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday.

Gomez has lived in Grantville for many years – he and his wife bought a home there in 2003 – but that house was sold in March, and his wife bought a house in Newnan in October 2017.

Gomez had been serving on the Grantville City Council, but stepped down in 2017. He didn’t run for reelection in 2017, and at a December 2017 council meeting, when his replacement was sworn in, Gomez said that he would be moving to Newnan.

In his declaration of candidacy for the Georgia House 132 seat, Gomez lists his address as 1 Main St., Apt. 2, Grantville. That was filed on March 8, according to documents included in Trammell’s challenge. In his financial disclosure, filed March 19, Gomez listed his long-time Grantville address.

According to Coweta tax records, the Gomezes sold that home on March 22. The home Mrs. Gomez owns is located in House District 70.

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