Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 28, 2018

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 28, 2018

On November 28, 1777, Congress appointed John Adams as commissioner to France, replacing Silas Deane.

The Grand Ole Opry began live radio broadcasts from Nashville, Tennessee on November 28, 1925.

The Tawana Brawley case began on November 28, 1987; the greatest lasting impact would be the rise to celebrity of community activist the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal last week appointed State Rep. Jason Shaw (R-Lakeland) to the Public Service Commission seat being vacated by Doug Everett.

Shaw will serve the remainder of Everett’s term and will represent the 1st District of the PSC. The appointment will be effective Jan. 1, 2019.

“I would like to thank Doug Everett for his more than 15 years of dedicated service as a commissioner and I wish him all the best in retirement,” said Deal. “Rep. Shaw has significant experience both as a businessman and in public service, and I am confident that he will be an effective representative for the people of Georgia as a member of the Public Service Commission.”

Fair Fight Action, founded by losing Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams, filed a federal lawsuit contesting Georgia’s voting system, according to the Associated Press.

The lawsuit was filed in Atlanta by Fair Fight Action against interim Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden and state election board members. It asks a judge to correct problems with the state’s elections system.

In a fiery speech ending her campaign Nov. 16, Abrams announced that a lawsuit would be filed against Georgia “for the gross mismanagement of this election and to protect future elections from unconstitutional actions.”

Flanked by Democratic state lawmakers at the Georgia Capitol earlier this month, Abrams’ campaign manager who’s now CEO of Fair Fight Action, Lauren Groh-Wargo, said the campaign believed Kemp “mismanaged this election to sway it in his favor.”

Abrams said the election was marred by systemic voter suppression. She rattled off a list of concerns, pointing to absentee ballots thrown out by what she called “the handwriting police;” a shortage of paper ballots to back up broken voting machines; and Georgia’s so-called “exact match” voter registration rules that require information on voter applications to precisely match state or federal files.

In Bulloch County, 796 voters cast early ballots the first two days of this week, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Voters number “662 and 663 just walked in the door,” Bulloch County Election Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones had said when phoned shortly before 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. So another 133 voters must have filed through before 5 p.m., when she provided the total of 416 Tuesday voters and the cumulative 796.

She said that if the total from Monday, 380 voters, became the average for the week, that would be “good for the runoff” in early voting. With more voters Tuesday, the daily average is now 398.

Early voting is available three more days, 8 a.m-5 p.m. through Friday, and in only one location, the Board of Elections and Registration office in the county annex, 113 N. Main St.

Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-West Point) was elected as a Chief Deputy Whip in the Republican caucus, according to the AJC.

“Drew is respected and well liked and has built relationships across the entire spectrum of our Conference,” Scalise, R-La., said in a statement. “He is a strong advocate for the conservative principles that House Republicans stand for and his fighting spirit will be a huge asset to us as we work to stop the radical, leftist agenda being promoted by House Democrats.”

Ferguson, who recently won a second term in Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District, worked on the whip team during his first two years in Congress alongside Georgian Tom Graves. He is viewed as one of the Georgia delegation’s most ambitious newcomers: he hosted now-Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at the Kia assembly plant in his district last month and Scalise for a fundraiser in February. The former dentist and West Point mayor is also angling for a spot on one of the House’s most powerful committees next year: the tax-writing Ways and Means panel.

His new position will put him on the front lines as party leaders seek to stymie the Democratic majority’s top legislative priorities. It’s a highly social job that will put him in contact with all House Republicans, relationships that could help him secure even higher leadership posts down the line.

Georgia’s delegation to the U.S. House all joined in a letter requesting funding for hurricane relief, according to the Albany Herald.

All of the 14 members from Georgia currently in the U.S. House of Representative sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the chairman and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee requesting legislative action by the Dec. 7 government funding deadline to address recent natural disasters, including Hurricane Michael.

On Oct. 10, Hurricane Michael entered Georgia as a Category 3 hurricane and was the first major hurricane to directly impact the state since the 1890s. Recent projections conducted by the University of Georgia place the losses for Georgia’s agricultural industry caused by Hurricane Michael at around $2.5 billion.

“We write in support of legislative action to address recent disasters befalling our nation,” wrote the members. “Over the past month, Georgia has responded to and is now recovering from this devastating storm. We have identified agriculture and the impacted rural communities as critical areas in which the support of the federal government is essential to our recovery.”

“Federal assistance for these recent disasters is essential to help our nation recover. We urge Congress to work with the administration to ensure disaster relief resources are made available prior to December 7, 2018. Thank you for your support and we look forward to working with you to secure these critical resources.”

It is signed by Reps. Austin Scott, Sanford D. Bishop, Earl L. ‘Buddy’ Carter, Dr. A. Drew Ferguson IV, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr., John Lewis, Karen Handel, Rob Woodall, Doug Collins, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk, Rick W. Allen, David Scott and Tom Graves.

Gwinnett County has proposed a $1.8 billion dollar budget for FY 2019, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The $1.8 billion budget proposal was presented to county commissioners, and two incoming commissioners, at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center on Tuesday. It includes several new positions, most of which are in public safety, but it also continues a 4 percent pay for performance increase. A mid-year 3 percent market adjustment is also included.

“It is a good sign that we are able to address many of the issues that are addressed in this budget,” said commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, who contrasted the 2019 budget with budgets from the economic downturn at the beginning of the decade.

“We know the need for additional public safety personnel is a continuous one. We weren’t able to do what we needed to do in those areas during the (Great Recession). It’s a good thing to be able to be at the point where we’re able to address those needs.”

A public hearing for the budget proposal is scheduled for Dec. 10, and the Board of Commissioners is set to vote on adoption of the budget at its Jan.3 meeting, according to a schedule released by the county.

Included in that budget is $750,000 for the March 2019 election to decide the future of transit in Gwinnett, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The special election that Gwinnett County commissioners called for March 2019 to hold a referendum on whether the county should join MARTA now has price tag — and it’s a quarter of a million dollars higher than previously thought.

County spokeswoman Heather Sawyer said $768,937 was set aside in the county’s $1.8 billion proposed 2019 budget, which was unveiled Tuesday, for the referendum. It had previously been estimated that the election would cost about $500,000, and that figure had been floated around for months.

If voters approve the referendum, MARTA could take over Gwinnett County Transit’s operations next summer as it begins absorbing the county’s existing transit system.

MARTA would also be required under the terms of its contract with Gwinnett to implement the county’s Connect Gwinnett Transit Development Plan, which calls for a major expansion of multi-modal transit throughout the county.

Rome City Commission voted to allow a homeowner to opt out of a historic district, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Savannah City Council adopted revisions to the municipal code addressing property maintenance, according to the Savannah M0rning News.

The changes were touted by Mayor Eddie DeLoach during a press conference Tuesday as a way to improve neighborhoods.

“That’s what this is all about,” DeLoach said. “We want people, wherever they live, to feel comfortable about what they live by and who they live by.”

Booker Gainor, Mayor of Cairo, Georgia, helped a motorist from a wrecked vehicle, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

“My only thinking was to get him out of the vehicle as quickly as possible,” said Gainor, who said he initially thought the vehicle was on fire. “It took some time because he had blacked out.”

The mayor, who said he could smell fumes from a gas tank rupture from the road, saw steam rising from the swamp water and mistakenly thought the vehicle was smoking and would soon erupt in flames.

“I just really believe with all of the gas, the only way to really get him out of the vehicle was when I noticed he had a wedding ring,” Gainor said. “So I said, ‘are you married?’ And he said yeah. So I asked, ‘what’s your wife’s name?’ just trying to get him to answer questions like that to get him assimilated. He told me her name and I said, ‘hey, we’ve got to get you to her.’”

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