Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 8, 2018

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 8, 2018

Abraham Lincoln was elected 16th President of the United States and the first Republican to hold the office on November 6, 1860. By his inauguration in March, seven states had seceded.

On November 8, 1860, Savannah residents protested in favor of secession following the election of Abraham Lincoln.

Georgia Governor Joseph Brown addressed the Georgia legislature calling on them to consider Georgia’s future on November 7, 1860, the day after Abraham Lincoln’s election as President.

On November 6, 1861, one year after Lincoln’s election, Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens of Georgia were elected President and Vice President of the Confederate States of America.

President Abraham Lincoln (R) was reelected on November 8, 1864.

President Teddy Roosevelt left for a 17-day trip to Panama on November 6, 1906 to inspect work on the Panama Canal; he was the first President to take an official tour outside the continental United States.

Jeanette Rankin was elected to Congress, the first female Member, on November 7, 1916 from Montana. After leaving Congress, Rankin moved to Watkinsville, Georgia in 1925. The Jeanette Rankin Scholarship Foundation, based in Athens, Georgia provides college scholarships and support for low-income women 35 and older.

Franklin D. Roosevelt made his 15th trip to Warm Springs, Georgia on November 8, 1928 after winning the election for Governor of New York.

Richard B. Russell, Jr. was elected to the United States Senate on November 8, 1932 and would serve until his death in 1971. Before his election to the Senate, Russell served as State Representative, Speaker of the Georgia House, and the youngest Governor of Georgia; his father served as Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. On the same day, part-time Georgia resident Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to a record fourth term on November 7, 1944.

A dam on the campus of Toccoa Falls Bible College burst on November 6, 1977 under pressure from heavy rains, killing 39 students and faculty.

Democrat Sam Nunn was reelected to the United States Senate on November 7, 1978.

On November 7, 1989, David Dinkins was elected the first African-American Mayor of New York and Douglas Wilder was elected the first African-American Governor of Virginia.

On November 8, 1994, Republicans won control of the United States House of Representatives and Senate in what came to be called the “Republican Revolution.”

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (R-GA) resigned his office and his Congressional seat on November 6, 1998, effective in January 1999, despite having been reelected three days earlier.

On November 7, 2006, Georgia reelected its first Republican Governor since Reconstruction, Sonny Perdue, and elected its first GOP Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia Public Service Commissioner Chuck Eaton (R) faces a Democratic opponent in a December 4 runoff election, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, Eaton had 1.9 million votes, or 49.8 percent, to Miller’s 1.8 million, or 47.5 percent. Libertarian Ryan Graham garnered 102,234 votes, or 2.7 percent.

The Public Service Commission regulates the rates charged by telecommunications, gas and electric companies in the state. Eaton had support from both the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the state’s major unions, including the AFL-CIO.

She out-raised Eaton and Graham, drawing $1.27 million from more than 2,900 donors, many from outside of Georgia.

Republican Brad Raffensperger also heads to a December 4 runoff, against Democrat John Barrow, according to the AJC.

Raffensperger, a state representative from Johns Creek, had a slight lead over Barrow, a former U.S. congressman from Athens. The two were separated by less than 1 percent of the vote.

“We are laser focused on the runoff and pursuing a victory for John on Election Day on Dec. 4,” Barrow campaign spokesman Jonathan Arogeti said. “We’re excited about the opportunity to go back to the voters and earn their support.”

Monroe County voters will return to the polls on December 4th in a runoff election for Sheriff, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Lawson Cary Bittick lll and Brad Freeman were the top two vote getters in a 6-way race to replace John Cary Bittick. The former sheriff stepped down after 35 years in office to accept President Donald Trump’s nomination to serve as U.S. marshal for the Middle District of Georgia.

Lawson Bittick, the former sheriff’s son and a lieutenant in the sheriff’s office, was the top vote getter with 3,937 votes, or 31 percent. Freeman, a captain in the sheriff’s office, was second with 2,974 votes, or 24 percent.

With no one getting a majority of the vote, they will face each other in a runoff on Dec. 4. Both said with six candidates in the race they were expecting a runoff and were just happy to get in.

Greg Bluestein of the AJC writes about past statewide runoff elections.

No general election race for governor has ever required a runoff, but Republicans have dominated many of the other races that go into overtime, starting with a 1992 narrow win by Republican challenger Paul Coverdell over Democratic U.S. Sen. Wyche Fowler.

Republicans also thrived in the last general election runoff took place in 2008, when U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss trounced Democrat Jim Martin in a runoff after the Republican narrowly missed an outright win.

Then again, Democrats hope a flood of momentum and attention will keep Abrams’ supporters motivated. Polls already suggest high Democratic enthusiasm, and voters won’t be able to avoid news about the race.

Another wrinkle: The timing of the runoff could force Deal to rethink plans to call a special legislative session next week to provide about $100 million in relief from Hurricane Michael and decide on a controversial tax break for jet fuel.

Democrat Lucy McBath has claimed victory in the 6th Congressional District over incumbent Republican Karen Handel, according to the AJC.

“Given the close results of our race, and the fact that the official results at this time are within the 1 percent threshold where a recount is possible, we believe it is prudent to review and assess all data before making additional actions or statements,” Handel said in a statement.

In Handel’s final comments to supporters Tuesday night/Wednesday morning she expressed optimism.

“I have a knack for the close ones, y’all. There are still precincts coming in from north Fulton,” she told the hardy clutch of supporters who made it to the end of the night and into the morning at her watch party at Le Méridien Atlanta Perimeter. “If it keeps going our way it’ll be a win. Unfortunately I don’t think it’ll be tonight.”

Baldwin County voters rejected a T-SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation), while Monroe County voters approved their SPLOST, according to the Macon Telegraph.

“We estimate that in the five-year period for this T-SPLOST that the county will collect ($22.7 million) and the city of Milledgeville ($12.5 million),” said Baldwin County Manager Carlos Tobar at a presentation in September, according to The Union-Recorder.

However, by 9 p.m. with all precincts reporting, the final count was 7,218 votes voting against the sales and use tax and 6,531 voting in favor of the tax.

On the other hand, with all precincts reporting by 9:30 p.m., the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum in Monroe County showed 7,587 votes, or 61.82 percent, in favor of it versus 4,685 votes, or 38.68 percent, against the tax.

The Monroe County Commissioner decided in July to put $700,000 toward internet expansion from a SPLOST, according to a WGXA-16 report.

Danielle Forte has been elected Clerk of Muscogee County Courts, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Early and unofficial returns Tuesday showed challenger Danielle Forte with a 7,000 vote lead over incumbent clerk Shasta Thomas Glover, who just took office this past March.

Glover, who came out of retirement to work as chief deputy clerk when her friend Ann Hardman took over in 2017, has been the clerk since Hardman’s death this past March 19, having been sworn in that same day.

Forte at press time had won every voting precinct in Columbus. Combining those Election Day totals with the early in-person vote and the mail-in absentees, she had 31,773 votes to Glover’s 24,276, or 56 to 43 percent.

“To God be the glory – I am so pleased,” Forte said Tuesday night.

Democrat Stacey Abrams is suing over the election results, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Multiple lawsuits have been filed in the contentious race, with voting rights groups contending that Kemp has used his office to interfere in the election for his own benefit. He has fiercely denied any impropriety.

At a news conference Wednesday, President Donald Trump said he heard the voting process was “very efficient” in Georgia. But polling places across the state had long lines, and some areas of metro Atlanta that typically lean Democratic experienced problems and delays.

Ontaria Woods arrived at a polling place in Snellville, just northeast of Atlanta, about 7 a.m. Tuesday to vote. More three hours later, she was still waiting, with roughly 75 to 100 people in line.

“That’s the majority of people in this line, African-Americans,” she said. “We’re begging them, ‘Please, stay.’”

The same or similar problem affected voters in four large precincts in Gwinnett County— a populous swing county — and at least one in the Inman Park neighborhood of Atlanta, election security expert Harri Hursti said Wednesday. Voters in those places were not able to vote for hours because the electronic poll books used to check in voters were not writing to the smart cards needed to cast ballots, Hursti said.

Five Georgia voters sued Kemp on Election Day, asking a judge to prevent Kemp from exercising his duties as the state’s top elections official for anything having to do with Tuesday’s election, including certifying results or administering any possible runoff or recount. The lawsuit says that Kemp presiding over an election in which he is a candidate “violates a basic notion of fairness.”

Secretary of state’s office spokeswoman Candice Broce called the lawsuit “twelfth-hour stunt.”

Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux has not conceded defeat against Republican Congressman Rob Woodall, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., holds a razor thin lead of three-tenths of a percentage point over Bourdeaux in unofficial results, leaving the provisional and oversees ballots to be counted. Woodall received 50.16 percent of the votes cast, compared to 49.84 percent for Bourdeaux.

The difference between the two candidates is 890 votes.

“As of this afternoon, our race is still too close to call,” Bourdeaux said in an email to supporters. “Our fight isn’t over yet. My entire team is working overtime to make sure that every voter’s voice is heard and their vote is counted … Together, we will fight until every last vote is counted.”

The results will not be certified until the beginning of next week, giving voters who cast provisional ballots a few days to visit the county’s elections office to verify their eligibility to cast the ballot and have their vote counted.

Gwinnett County had to keep three precincts open after voting machine malfunctions, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gwinnett County Superior Court Chief Judge Melodie Snell Conner has ordered three voting precincts in Gwinnett to stay open later tonight because of a machine malfunction that affected all three this morning.

The order stipulates that the precinct at Annistown Elementary School will stay open until 9:25 p.m., while the precinct at Harbins Elementary School in Dacula will stay open until 7:14 p.m. and the precinct at Anderson-Livsey Elementary School will stay open until 7:30 p.m.

Gwinnett County spokesman Joe Sorenson said five precincts in the county experienced issues with the Express Poll machines, which create ballots on voting cards that are handed out to voters when they check in to vote.

Democrat Brian Whiteside was elected Gwinnett County Solicitor General, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Republican Solicitor General Rosanna Szabo was defeated by her Democratic opponent, Brian Whiteside, in the general election. Whiteside received 54.37 percent of the vote, compared to 45.63 percent for Szabo, who has been Gwinnett’s solicitor general for 12 years.

“Congratulations to Brian Whiteside on his election to Solicitor General of Gwinnett County,” Szabo said in an announcement on Facebook on Wednesday. “I am grateful to the people of Gwinnett for the twelve years they have entrusted me with the care of the office.

Gwinnett County Democrats also picked up two seats on the Gwinnett County Commission, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Change appears to coming to be coming for two Gwinnett County commission districts after voters opted to replace Republican incumbents Lynette Howard and John Heard with Ben Ku and Marlene Fosque, respectively.

Ku lead Howard in the Commission District 2 race by a margin of 53.6 percent to 46.4 percent with 81 percent of precincts reporting at 11:10 p.m. Meanwhile, Fosque was leading Heard in the Commission District 4 race by a margin of 53.03 percent to 46.97 percent with 85 percent of precincts reporting at the same time.

Lake Park had computer issues in submitting local election results, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

About 65-70 provisional ballots are yet to be counted, as well as absentee ballots, she said.

Internet difficulties kept the local elections office from sending updated Lake Park results to the Georgia Secretary of State’s elections website, she said.

The subject of some Lake Park voters allegedly being given wrong ballots was raised at the Lake Park City Council meeting Tuesday evening.

Councilwoman Deborah Sauls said when she took part in early voting, she was given a ballot with no Lake Park races on it. Sauls said elections staff told her it was because she lived outside the city limits.

“How could I qualify for and get elected to City Council if I didn’t live in the city?” she said.

Sauls said she had to cast a provisional ballot, which “didn’t make me happy at all.” Provisional ballots are used for people whose eligibility to vote is in question, with the vote being counted after officials double-check that eligibility.

Savannah also experienced some voting problems, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Lines at some poll locations were short, with voters in and out in under half an hour Tuesday.

As of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, however, voters at Rothwell Baptist Church in Pooler reported about 60 people were still in line waiting to vote, with others reporting casting ballots took more than four hours. Polls are held open for voters in line at polling locations at the 7 p.m. closing time.

Voters took advantage of early voting in record numbers for a mid-term, with 32,361 voting in person, compared to 17,697 in the 2014 mid-term.

Registrations were also up this year with an increase of with 188,315 registered for this election. That’s an increase of 51,251, over the last mid-term election in 2014, when 137,064 people registered.

Russell Bridges, Chatham County’s supervisor of the board of elections, said Election Day was not without some problems. Complaints alleging voter suppression are unfounded, however, he said.

Glynn County Board of Elections reported record turnout, according to The Brunswick News.

Hall County voters opted to extend alcohol service hours on Sundays, according to the Gainesville Times.

Voters in Hall County, Gainesville, Flowery Branch and Oakwood voted in favor of earlier Sunday sales. Lula and Clermont did not put the item up for a vote, meaning the sales will not be allowed within those city limits.

The bill, signed by Gov. Nathan Deal in May, gives municipalities the option to allow restaurants to start selling alcohol at 11 a.m. on Sundays. Previous state law stated that alcohol sales could only start at 12:30 p.m. on Sundays.

 

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