Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 5, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 5, 2018

John Willis Menard became the first black man elected to Congress on November 3, 1868 from the Second District of Louisiana. Menard’s election opponent challenged the results and prevented Menard from taking his seat, though in defense of his election Menard became the first black man to address Congress.

Alexander Stephens was sworn-in as Governor of Georgia on November 4, 1882; Stephens had earlier been elected Vice-President of the Confederate States of America.

Richard B. Russell, Jr. was born in Winder, Georgia on November 2, 1897.

In 1927, at age 29, Russell was named Speaker of the House – the youngest in Georgia history. In 1930, Russell easily won election as Georgia governor on his platform of reorganizing state government for economy and efficiency. Five months shy of his 34th birthday, Russell took the oath of office from his father, Georgia chief justice Richard B. Russell Sr. He became the youngest governor in Georgia history – a record that still stands. After Georgia U.S. Senator William Harris died in 1932, Gov. Russell named an interim replacement until the next general election, in which Russell himself became a candidate. Georgia voters elected their young governor to fill Harris’ unexpired term. When he arrived in Washington in January 1933, he was the nation’s youngest senator.

Russell had a long and storied career in the United States Senate, during which he served for many years as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, unofficial leader of the conservative Southern wing of the Democratic party and a chief architect of resistance to civil rights legislation. He also ran for President in 1952, winning the Florida primary.

Democrat Woodrow Wilson, who spent part of his youth in Augusta, Georgia and married Ellen Louise Axson, whom he met in Rome, Georgia, was elected President in a landslide victory on November 5, 1912.

On November 3, 1913, details of the federal income tax were finalized and published after the ratification earlier in the year of the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Bacon, Barrow, Candler, and Evans Counties were created on November 3, 1914 when voters approved Constitutional Amendments – prior to these Amendments, Georgia was limited to 145 counties. On the same day, Carl Vinson was elected to Congress from Georgia, becoming the youngest member of Congress at the time. Vinson would eventually become the first Member of Congress to serve more than fifty years. Vinson’s grandson, Sam Nunn would serve in the United States Senate.

Howard Carter found an entrance to the tomb of King Tutankhamen on November 4, 1922.

On November 4, 1932 Georgia Governor Richard B. Russell, Jr. campaigned on behalf of Democratic candidate for President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to his unprecedented third term as President of the United States on November 5, 1940.

The Chicago Tribune published the infamous “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline on November 3, 1948. Ultimately, Democrat Truman won 303 electoral votes to 189 for Republican Dewey.

Laika, a female Siberian Husky mix who was found stray on the streets of Moscow, was launched into space aboard Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957.

On November 3, 1964, Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson was elected President over Republican Barry Goldwater.

Richard M. Nixon was elected President of the United States by a plurality vote on November 5, 1968.

On November 3, 1970, Jimmy Carter was elected Governor of Georgia.

Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States on November 2, 1976.

On November 4, 1980, Republican Ronald Reagan was elected President, winning 489 electoral votes to 49 for incumbent Jimmy Carter.

Note on the electoral map in that clip, states that Reagan won were colored blue, and Georgia was a red state, going for Jimmy Carter.

The current Georgia Constitution was ratified on November 2, 1982 by the state’s voters.

Democrat Cynthia McKinney became the first African-Amercian female elected to Congress from Georgia on November 3, 1992.

On November 3, 1998, Democrat Thurbert Baker was elected Attorney General and Michael Thurmond was elected Commissioner of Labor, becoming the first African-Americans elected to statewide executive office in Georgia.

On November 5, 2002, Sonny Perdue was elected the first Republican Governor of Georgia since Reconstruction, beginning the modern era of Republican dominance of Georgia state politics.

On November 2, 2010, voters elected Republican Nathan Deal as Governor, and the GOP swept all of the statewide offices on the ballot.

One World Trade Center opened on November 3, 2014, more than thirteen years after the 9/11 attacks.

On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected President, becoming the first African-American elected to the position.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Retired Georgia Supreme Court Justice Harris P. Hines was killed in a car accident Sunday, according to 11Alive.

Cobb County Solicitor General Barry Morgan confirmed the news about Justice Harris Hines’s death via Facebook, Sunday.

“I cannot express the immense grief I feel to hear that Justice Harris Hines had died in a car crash,” Morgan said in a statement. “I am blessed I was able to practice law before him, and to call him my mentor and friend. God bless Helen and his family and give them peace.”

A graduate of Emory University’s School of Law, Hines was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 1995 by Governor Zell Miller. Hines was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court Jan. 6, 2017.

Prior to that, he served as a judge of the State Court in Cobb County for eight years and as Superior Court Judge of the Cobb Judicial Circuit for over 12 years.

Christian Coomer was sworn in to the Georgia Court of Appeals, according to the Daily Report.

“I know there are a lot of lawyers here. Don’t raise your hands. I don’t want to get you in trouble,” Coomer said. “How many of you have ever been in front of a mean judge? How many of you have been in front of an arrogant judge? How many have been in front of a sarcastic judge.”

Silent pause.

“Those kinds of judges make you never want to go to court again,” Coomer said. “I want to show the same kind of kindness that I want to receive.”

Coomer officially resigned his position as a member of the House of Representatives upon being sworn in as a judge by Gov. Nathan Deal at about 1:40 p.m. [last Wednesday].

The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved an additional 34 counties for public assistance after Hurricane Michael.

The following 34 counties were today approved for Public Assistance: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Bulloch, Candler, Chattahoochee, Clay, Coffee, Cook, Crawford, Echols, Evans, Glascock, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Jones, Marion, Peach, Putnam, Quitman, Randolph, Schley, Screven, Stewart, Tift, Toombs, Twiggs, Washington, Webster, Wheeler and Wilkinson Counties.

Thirty-one counties had previously been approved for Public Assistance: Baker, Bleckley, Burke, Calhoun, Colquitt, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Emanuel, Grady, Houston, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, Lee, Macon, Miller, Mitchell, Pulaski, Seminole, Sumter, Terrell, Thomas, Treutlen, Turner, Wilcox and Worth counties.

FEMA Individual Assistance makes funding available to individuals and households. To date, Individual Assistance has been approved for the following counties: Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Crisp, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Laurens, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Randolph, Seminole, Sumter, Terrell, Tift, Thomas, Turner and Worth counties.

All counties in Georgia are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which provides assistance for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.

President Trump rallied Republicans behind Brian Kemp in Macon yesterday, according to the Macon Telegraph.

“In just two days the people of Georgia are going to elect Brian Kemp as their next governor,” he told a rally of thousands at Middle Georgia Regional Airport. “This is a very important election. I wouldn’t say it’s as important as 2016, but it’s right up there, it really is.”

The president’s message was simple: If you like me, you’ll like Kemp.

“I know Brian,” Trump said. “He will take it to new heights, heights you will never believe.”

“You put Stacey in there and you’re going to have Georgia turn into Venezuela,” Trump said, referring to the socialist South American country where many are starving.

Before arriving in Georgia, Trump told reporters in Washington that “If she gets in, Georgia goes backwards …If he gets in, Georgia goes forward.”

Trump’s comments Sunday were a reprise of remarks he made Thursday when he called Abrams, a former Georgia state House minority leader, “unqualified” to be governor.

From Jill Nolin’s coverage for the Valdosta Daily Times.

A spirited crowd filled a hangar Sunday afternoon at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Macon and spilled out onto the tarmac, with many supporters straining to catch a glimpse of the president.

rump called Abrams “one of the most extreme far-left politicians in the entire country” and said she would raise taxes “very substantially” and support “a socialist takeover of health care.” Abrams, he said, would turn Georgia into a “giant sanctuary city for criminal aliens.”

“If Stacey Abrams gets in, your Second Amendment will be gone. Gone. Gone,” Trump said to a chorus of boos. “Stacey and her friends will get rid of it. You wouldn’t mind if somebody comes knocking, ‘Please, I’d like to have your guns turned over to government.’”

“The way the Democrats treated him and us, you’ve got to get the polls on Tuesday and you’ve got to vote,” Trump said, referring to Kavanaugh. “The contrast in this election could not be more clear. Republicans produce jobs. Democrats produce mobs.”

Trump’s last-minute visit to Macon capped a star-studded week in Georgia that saw Oprah Winfrey and former President Barack Obama campaign in Atlanta for Abrams. Vice President Mike Pence also campaigned for Kemp in Dalton, Augusta and Savannah.

Kemp told the crowd that Trump’s endorsement in the Republican primary was like “pouring gasoline on a fire” just ahead of the runoff. Kemp won in a landslide then, and he said Sunday he hopes Trump’s rally will similarly boost his campaign in the closing days of the general election.

“This is serious,” Kemp said. “Whatever it takes, we’ve got to get the vote out.”

The Ledger-Enquirer spoke to some of the Macon rally attendees.

Nancy Sellers of Box Springs, Ga. said it felt good to be surrounded by so many like-minded people.

“It feels like family,” Sellers said. “Everybody thinks alike. You don’t have to be careful what you say. You can express your beliefs without without retribution or wondering if someone’s gonna hit you over the head.”

Sellers often feels like she has to watch what she says. As a conservative Christian and Tea Party supporter, she sometimes feels like her beliefs are under attack.

Regan Smith of Metter, Ga., had never attended a Make America Great Again rally before, but she didn’t want to miss the opportunity when she found out the president would be less than two hours from her home.

Living in a small town, Smith normally only gets to see the president on TV. She was excited to take part in the movement in person.

“It’s great,” Smith said. “I love it.”

Smith thinks critics of the president misunderstand his platform.

“I think they don’t understand because they don’t want to, maybe,” she said. “Because, how could you not want your country to be great?”

From the Gainesville Times:

“You want to see Georgia prosperity end?” Trump told the rally crowd. “Vote for the Democrat.”

Appearing before thousands in an overflowing aircraft hangar, Trump declared, “There’s electricity in the air like I haven’t seen since ‘16.”

“This is a very important election,” he added. “I wouldn’t say it’s as important as ‘16, but it’s right up there.”

Trump went after Kemp’s Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, calling her “one of the most extreme far-left politicians in the entire country.”

Former President Barack Obama headlined an Atlanta rally for Democrat Stacey Abrams, according to the Washington Post.

A crowd of several thousand at a rally here roared its affection for two history-making political figures Friday as former president Barack Obama implored Georgians to show up on Tuesday to help Stacey Abrams become the next governor of Georgia.

“She is the most experienced, the most qualified candidate in this race,” said Obama, who served two terms as the country’s first African American president, a day after President Trump said that Abrams is “not qualified” to be governor.

Obama, in a speech that ran nearly 45 minutes, criticized both Trump and Kemp, who also is Georgia’s secretary of state and who has come under fire for policies and practices that have blocked or removed hundreds of thousands of people, many of them minorities, from the voting rolls during the past few years.

After introducing Obama, Abrams sat behind him on a stage filled with supporters standing in front of a giant projected sign that read, “Our chance. Our choice.” It was the second time in as many days that she’d shared the spotlight with a national celebrity. On Thursday, media mogul Oprah Winfrey was in suburban Atlanta to host two town halls with Abrams. She then went canvassing for Abrams, shocking and delighting unsuspecting people who answered their doors to find the longtime talk show queen standing on their steps.

Republican Brian Kemp spent most of last week rallying rural Georgia voters, according to The Jasper News.

Gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp made a stop at the American Textile Company in Tifton while on the Georgia Republican Party’s “Road to Victory” bus tour on Oct. 31.

Candidates including Lieutenant Governor Jeff Duncan, Public Service commission Tricia Pridemore, Public Service Commissioner Chuck Eaton, Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, Superintendent of Education Richard Woods were with Kemp in the tour.

Senator Greg Kirk, Representative Penny Houston and U.S. Representative Austin Scott made appearances in support even though they are running unopposed for their seats.

All of the speakers at the tour stop urged Republicans to get out and vote.

Kemp began his speech by asking for thoughts and prayers for Pittsburgh, saying that it was “an attack on all of us as Americans.”

“It’s been a long journey but victory’s in sight,” Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black said. “We’ve never faced an election like this, ladies and gentlemen. Whether it’s the ag community or deep in the heart of Atlanta, we’ve never had the opportunity to see such a drastic contrast. We’re at a fork in the road for the future of Georgia.”

Republican statewide candidates also campaigned at Anderson’s General Store, according to the Statesboro Herald.

In his Friday morning campaign bus stop at Anderson’s General Store in Statesboro, the Republican candidate for governor, current Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, gave no slack on Democrats, and particularly his opponent, having ideas worth considering.

Instead, he said that Stacey Abrams, the Democratic governor candidate and former Georgia House of Representatives minority leader, has a “radical agenda.” Kemp called Abrams’ ideas “extreme” and claimed that, despite her calls to expand Medicaid, she wants to cut both Medicare and Medicaid. Before speaking in these terms about her, Kemp first talked about doing business and making friends over the years in Bulloch County.

“You know, all politics is local,” he said, standing in front of the agribusiness-themed store with his wife Marty and their three teenage daughters. Around them were GOP lieutenant governor candidate Geoff Duncan and his family, along with other candidates and U.S. Sen. David Perdue.

Kemp said he has known the Andersons for at least 30 years and mentioned other Bulloch County residents he has called on in business and as a state official. He noted that he has worked with the area’s legislative delegation for 15 years, naming state House Majority Leader Jon Burns, Sen. Jack Hill and Rep. Jan Tankersley, all unopposed Republicans who were present.

“That’s why we’re here, because we’ve been listening to you, we’ve been working for you, and we’ve been working with people that represent you at the local level, your county commissioners and other people,” Kemp said. “That is how government is the best, when it’s closest to the people.”

“She’s also asking illegals, people documented and undocumented, to be part of the Blue Wave and to vote for her in this election,” he said, adding that this would be illegal.

Democrat Stacey Abrams held a rally in Augusta on Sunday, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Hundreds of people greeted Stacey Abrams when she entered a rally at the Henry Brigham Community Center on Sunday night.

The Democratic nominee for Georgia governor is making one final push to encourage people to vote in Tuesday’s midterm elections. In doing so Sunday, Abrams told the close to 700 in attendance that she was the only candidate with a plan, bringing most of the crowd to its feet in her support.

“I’m running because my parents raised me to understand that you not only don’t let people tell who you are, but you show them who you are,” she said. “And for the past 18 months, I have shown Georgia who I want to be for you.”

The Brunswick News looks at local ad buys by state candidates.

In local radio buys, Republican gubernatorial nominee Brian Kemp secured time for 120 spots on both WGIG and WYNR from the second week in October clear through to the election, at a combined cost of $7,080. Democratic nominee for governor, Stacey Abrams, went up with 88 spots between two different buys on WSOL, for a total of $10,435, for Oct. 29-Nov. 6. She made a similar buy on WJBT for 89 spots, which came to $11,156.

On television, Kemp took out a 460-ad reservation for the area zoned for Brunswick with Comcast Xfinity for the period of Oct. 24-Nov. 4, which cost $4,560. There are 34 ads a piece running on Bravo, CNN, ESPN, the Food Network, Fox News Channel, the Hallmark Channel, HGTV, Oxygen, TLC and USA. Ironically, he also has 34 ads on the Oprah Winfrey Network, even as Winfrey herself campaigned in the state with Abrams. There was one ad reserved on A&E.

Kemp had eight ads each running the weekend of Oct. 27 and nine ads each running the weekend of Nov. 3 on the sports networks of ESPN 2, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports South, the NFL Network and the SEC Network. He also bought a $750 ad for ESPN during the New York Giants-Atlanta Falcons game on Oct. 22, and a $1,500 ad on ESPN for the Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech game Oct. 25.

Abrams, through the state Democratic Party, went in on two cable ad buys for the last days, culminating in a total of 408 ads, time for which cost $2,984. For Oct. 29-Nov. 5, she reserved time for 53 on the Oprah Winfrey Network, 44 on BET, 42 on CNN, 34 on Bravo, 33 on TV One and VH1, 31 on Discovery and ESPN, 29 on TNT, 28 on TBS, and 25 on the History Channel and Lifetime.

United States District Court Judge Eleanor L. Ross issued an injunction covering voter verification, according to the Statesboro Herald.

The injunction by U.S. District Court Judge Eleanor L. Ross addresses a specific issue that arose from a broader lawsuit by civil rights groups who in October filed a broader challenge to Georgia’s ‘exact match’ verification process. The state requires identification information on voter registration applications to precisely match information already on file with the Georgia Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration.

The judge ruled the state unfairly burdens about 3,100 possible voters whose registration was flagged for citizenship issues, because only a deputy registrar is allowed to clear them to vote a regular ballot when the voters show proof of citizenship at the polls. She noted voters flagged for issues other than citizenship can be cleared by any poll worker after showing a photo ID.

“This raises grave concerns for the Court about the differential treatment inflicted on a group of individuals who are predominantly minorities,” Ross’ order said. “… The election scheme here places a severe burden on these individuals.”

She ruled that Georgia must immediately start allowing poll managers, in addition to deputy registrars, to clear flagged voters who show proof of citizenship.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office announced that the Democratic Party of Georgia is under investigation, according to the Washington Post.

Candice Broce, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office, said in an interview that Democrats were in possession of an email with script attached to it that, if launched, could have been used to extract personal voter registration data.

“Our position is that these were failed attempts to hack the system,” Broce said. “All the evidence indicates that, and we’re still looking into it.”

Democratic officials, in turn, accused Kemp of “defamatory accusations” and released the email in question, showing that it had been forwarded to a Democratic volunteer by someone not affiliated with the party who was flagging a potential data vulnerability. The volunteer forwarded the email to the party’s voter protection director, who shared it with cybersecurity experts, who in turn alerted Kemp’s office, they said.

From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

“While we cannot comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation, I can confirm that the Democratic Party of Georgia is under investigation for possible cyber crimes,” said press secretary Candice Broce in the release. “We can also confirm that no personal data was breached and our system remains secure.”

The Georgia Democratic Party said in a statement Sunday that the “scurrilous claims are 100 percent false” and called the investigation “another example of abuse of power” by Kemp.

The Secretary of State’s Office later said the decision to launch the investigation was made after “receiving information from our legal team about failed efforts to breach the online voter registration system and My Voter Page.”

Broce said the office immediately alerted the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. The FBI declined to comment.

“The State of Georgia has notified us of this issue. We defer to the State for further details,” a DHS official said in a statement to CNN.

The Albany Herald looks at three local legislative race on Tueday’s ballot.

Of the three races, the District 151 contest between incumbent Republican Gerald Greene and Democratic challenger Joyce Barlow has drawn the most attention locally and in Atlanta.

This race is considered a swing race by many political pundits. Incumbent Gerald Greene was first elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1982. He is currently continuing his 33 years of service as the spokesman for one of the largest districts in the state, which covers parts or all of Calhoun, Clay, Early, Quitman, Randolph, Stewart, Terrell, Webster and Dougherty counties.

He is seeking his 17th term in the state House.

“Because of what the legislature has given us in regard to rural economic development, we have an opportunity to look at southwest Georgia in an economic way,” Greene, a retired educator, said.

The Gwinnett Daily Post spoke to candidates in local State House races.

In District 81, Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, is being challenged by Republican Ellen Diehl. Entertainment attorney Beth Moore is challenging Rep. Scott Hilton, R-Peachtree Corners, in the District 95 race.

Meanwhile, new representatives will be chosen in the open races for Districts 97, 102 and 105. Republican Bonnie Rich is facing Democrat Aisha Yaqoob in the District 97 race while former Gwinnett Planning Commissioner Paula Hastings is facing non-profit CEO Gregg Kennard in District 102.

Former state Rep. Donna Sheldon, a Republican, is facing Democrat Donna McLeod in the District 105 race.

Hilton said the cost and access to quality health care is a big issue facing the state. The topic of health care, particularly whether Medicaid should be expanded in Georgia, has been a hot button topic in recent years. Hilton said Georgia’s leaders need to address issues such as the Certificate of Need program and what medical providers bill patients for.

“This can be accomplished through empowering patients with more free-market solutions, encouraging more competition in the marketplace, and protecting Medicaid for those who need it the most,” he said. “I will continue to lead the effort to reform our antiquated Certificate of Need program, leading to more choice in medical providers. I will fight for price transparency in healthcare, including legislation to end ‘surprise medical billing.’”

The Gwinnett Daily Post also spoke to State Senate candidates.

In Senate District 9, Sen. P.K. Martin, R-Lawrenceville, is being challenged by Democrat Cheryle R. Moses. Sen. Fran Millar, R-Atlanta, is facing a challenge from the Democratic nominee, Sally Harrell, in District 40. Over in District 45, Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, is facing Democrat Jana Rodgers. The District 55 race pits Sen. Gloria Butler, D-Stone Mountain, against Annette Davis Jackson.

Meanwhile, in the only open Senate race in Gwinnett, District 48, attorney Matt Reeves, the Republican candidate, is facing attorney Zahra Karinshak, the Democratic Party nominee.

Having served as District 45 state senator for the last 15 years, Unterman said she is running for reelection to continue her work helping Georgians who are most vulnerable.

“My top priority as a leader in our community is to protect those members of society that need it most,” Unterman said. “I have focused my career on ensuring the safety of our children while advocating for the elderly.”

[Republican Matt] Reeves there are several things that he believes the state needs to address over the next two years, including ensuring the economy is healthy, protecting quality of life and dealing with issues such as traffic, public safety, health care access and costs and school safety and funding.

“I want to keep Georgia No. 1 in business by being pro-taxpayer and pro-jobs, and advocating for quality of life issues such as fully funding Quality Basic Education and supporting our local schools, workforce-oriented traffic solutions, public safety and school safety and improving healthcare access, choice, quality and cost,” Reeves said.

The Henry Herald looks at the referendum to create a new City of Eagles Landing.

The highest profile race in Henry County could create the county’s fifth city. If approved by voters, Eagles Landing will be formed out of portions of the unincorporated county and parts of the city of Stockbridge.

Because of the fact that portions of Stockbridge would be used to create the new city, the referendum has been the cause of a great amount of litigation in the last few months.

The referendum has been the subject of three separate lawsuits in Henry County Superior Court, the Georgia Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court’s Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division.

None of the courts ruled to stop the referendum, and the city of Stockbridge has spent a little less than $500,000 in legal fees in trying to stop the referendum that, if successful, would take around half of Stockbridge’s tax base away.

Restrictions on short-term vacation rentals in Savannah may reach a cap by the end of the year, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The cap on the number of short-term vacation rentals that can operate in Savannah is expected to be reached by the end of 2018, slightly more than one year after the city adopted new restrictions on the industry.

As of Aug. 18, the city had certified 1,355 vacation rentals and 35 of the 44 wards where the rentals are allowed had reached the cap. Many of the wards already exceeded the cap when the ordinance was adopted and many others are now only a few certificates away, said Bridget Lidy, Savannah’s director of planning and urban design. A waiting list has been established for those that have reached the limit, so the ability to obtain a certificate is quickly diminishing, Lidy said.

Vacation rentals in which the owner lives on the premises are exempt from the cap, but only 36 such owner-occupied certificates have been granted since the revised ordinance was adopted and the city began taking count. Almost half — 46 percent — of the 1,431 vacation rentals the city had certified as of Sept. 18 had owners that are located outside city limits, with about 40 percent of the non-local owners based outside Georgia, according to data analyzed by the Savannah Morning News.

The prevalence of out-of-state owners is concerning to Melinda Allen, president of the Savannah Downtown Neighborhood Association. In addition to wanting to prevent the further loss of long-term housing, one of the association’s main goals during negotiations for the new restrictions was to keep outside investors from establishing “absentee hotels” all over the city, Allen said.

Chatham County Commissioners voted to move ahead with a $7.5 million dollar contract to design a new courthouse, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Georgia Supreme Court will sit in Albany on Thursday, according to the Albany Herald.

The Supreme Court of Georgia will hold oral arguments in Albany on Thursday at Albany State University.

At the 10 a.m. session, the court will hear two appeals: one each in a civil case and a criminal case. The first is an appeal of a Georgia Court of Appeals ruling involving a lawsuit between two physicians and former partners in which one alleges the other stalked him and his employees. The second is an appeal of a young man convicted in Houston County and sentenced to life in prison for his role in a double murder.

Each year, the Georgia Supreme Court travels outside Atlanta to hear cases for the purpose of making the court’s business and the judicial process more accessible to the public. Thursday’s session will be held in the Billy C. Black Auditorium of Albany State University, which is listed among the nation’s top Historically Black Colleges and Universities by U.S. News & World Report.

Democratic candidate for Attorney General Charlie Bailey campaigned in Dalton, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

U.S. Senator David Perdue endorsed Republican Matt Reeves for State Senate District 48, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“During my business career, fiscal conservatism and a favorable tax climate made states attractive places to do business,” Perdue said in a statement released by the Reeves campaign. “Matt Reeves will provide leadership in the Georgia State Senate to make sure that Georgia continues to be a great place to work and do business.”

The Atlanta Regional Commission says transit has more support in Gwinnett, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

ARC officials said 51 percent of Gwinnettians who responded to the commission’s 2018 Metro Atlanta Speaks survey said they would be willing to pay higher taxes to fund an expansion of regional transit. Region-wide, about half of the survey respondents across metro Atlanta said they were willing to pay more in taxes to fund regional transit expansion.

“This year’s Metro Atlanta Speaks survey tells us that many residents feel that a range of transportation options, including expanded regional transit, are needed to improve mobility and quality of life and remain economically competitive,” ARC Executive Director Doug Hooker said.

The survey also showed that 93 percent of Gwinnett’s 400 respondents believe work to improve public transportation is “very important” for the metro area’s future and 29 percent said they often don’t have transportation to go places.

Augusta City Commissioner Andrew Jefferson has died, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis said he did not have all of the details yet but said Jefferson was at Good Shepherd Baptist Church when he collapsed. Members attempted to resuscitate him, and he was rushed to University Hospital. Jefferson died shortly afterward, Davis said. He was 58.

Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen reported that the ambulance call came in at 1:06 p.m. and that Jefferson was pronounced dead at 1:57 p.m.

His death stunned his colleagues, who had just last week held a memorial tribute to late Commissioner Grady Smith, who died Oct. 16.

The City of Gainesville‘s Midtown Tax Allocation District is seeking to promote economic development, according to the Gainesville Times.

The city of Gainesville has helped facilitate those changes through its midtown tax allocation district, which uses property tax payments to support construction of new developments.

When a property is developed, property taxes on that land will go up, so the city would collect more revenue from the property owner. Developers who participate in TAD programs can use that tax increase to their advantage. The extra dollars from the increase go into a fund that can be used to pay for improvements.

“You take an area that has declining tax revenues, an area that’s struggling a bit and needs a shot in the arm, so to speak, some kind of assistance to encourage people to reinvest in that area, so back in the 2000s, downtown and midtown Gainesville qualified,” City Manager Bryan Lackey said.

Georgia adopted its tax allocation district law in 1985 but did not issue its first TAD bonds until 2001, according to a Georgia State University report. Most states use similar programs, although the practice is often called tax increment financing.

Developers have to apply with the city to participate in the TAD program. Their projects are reviewed by a TAD committee, which sends a recommendation to the Gainesville City Council. The City Council has the final vote on whether a development will receive TAD funding.

Voter Turnout

Morning Fix

All Early Votes: 2,099,142

All EV by voters who voted in 2016 or 2018 Republican primary elections: 739,033

All EV by voters who voted in 2016 or 2018 Republican primary elections: 531,422

All EV by voters who voted in 2016 or 2018 Democrats primary elections or by African-Americans: 800,831

From The Brunswick News:

urnout for early voting in the 2018 general midterm elections was higher than normal for midterms, but may end up falling short of early voting for presidential elections.

Early voting wrapped up Friday, with around 15,485 having voted as of 5 p.m. according to Glynn County board of Elections personnel.

“There’s a line out there like you wouldn’t believe. There’s 80 or 100 people in line out there,” Elections and Registration Supervisor Monica Couch said at 5 p.m. Friday “… I’d guess we’d have 1,500 (votes cast) by today, that’s what I bet everyone by the end of the day.”

During the last week of early voting, 1,010 cast their ballots on Monday, 975 on Tuesday, 970 on Wednesday and 1,108 on Thursday. As of 5 p.m., 1,415 had voted on Friday.

The early voting numbers more than double those of the last midterms. In 2014, 7,239 cast their ballots early in the midterm elections. Prior midterm elections in 2010 saw 6,661 early votes cast, up from around 3,011 in the 2006 midterms.

Turnout nearly matched presidential election early voting, coming close to 2012’s 16,127 early votes cast. Turnout for the 2016 elections was much higher, however, at 18,539 early voters.

From the AJC:

Early voting ended with a final surge Friday, when nearly 250,000 people got their votes in before Election Day, according to data from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

So many people showed up during Georgia’s three-week early voting period that the state approached its overall turnout — including Election Day — of the last midterms four years ago, when 2.6 million people cast ballots.

The number of early voters is a new high for a midterm election in Georgia. Early turnout more than doubled from the last midterm election in 2014, when about 954,000 people cast advance ballots.

From Politico:

Glitchy paperless voting machines are affecting an untold number of early voting ballots in Texas and Georgia, raising the specter that two of the most closely watched races could be marred by questions about whether the vote count is accurate.

Civil rights groups and voters in both states have filed complaints alleging that the ATM-style touchscreen machines inexplicably deleted some people’s votes for Democratic candidates or switched them to Republican votes.

The errors — which experts have blamed on outdated software and old machines — would appear to work to the advantage of Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, and that of Georgia GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp over Democrat Stacey Abrams.

“They have no evidence and no witnesses. Just fake outrage and members of the media who care more about headlines than facts,” Cody Hall, press secretary for Kemp, said in a statement to POLITICO.

From Vox:

Women have been more likely than men to cast ballots early so far this year: they make up 56 percent of early voters so far in Georgia; 54 percent in Texas, Florida, and Tennessee; and 53 percent in Nevada, according to an analysis by CNN and the data company Catalist.

Given the gender gap between the parties, there’s a temptation to interpret this as good news for Democrats. But it’s too early to say for sure.

Women tend to turn out at higher rates than men in general, so it’s not a surprise that early voting would reflect a gender gap as well. “Much of the data suggests to us that people who vote early are people who would’ve voted anyway,” Kathleen Dolan, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. “Early voting is not a sign of the mobilization of people who have been absent before.”

What’s more, women — especially white women — aren’t always a reliable voting bloc for Democrats. Analyses of early voting can provide tantalizing clues about voter behavior, but with turnout for women as with everything else, the lesson of 2016 applies: It’s not over till it’s over.

Women are leaning more Democratic this year than ever before — and much of the anti-Trump activism around the country has been led by women. But Democrats shouldn’t celebrate just yet.

Of course, even if early voting numbers are a sign of a wave of women turning out to vote this year, that doesn’t mean they’ll break for Democrats in key races. “Lots of women are Republicans, just like lots of women are Democrats,” Dolan said. “This big wave could take both directions.”

After all, in 2016, 53 percent of white female voters cast their ballots for Donald Trump.

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