Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 30, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 30, 2018

John Wesley left Savannah on December 2, 1737.

John Wesley’s strict discipline as rector of Christ Church in Savannah irritated his parishioners. More trouble followed when he fell in love with Sophia Hopkey, the niece of Georgia’s chief magistrate. When she married another man, Wesley banned her from Holy Communion, damaging her reputation in the community.

His successful romantic rival sued him; but Wesley refused to recognize the authority of the court, and the man who would eventually found a major Protestant denomination in America left Georgia in disgrace on December 2, 1737.

Touro Synagogue, the oldest existing synagogue in the United States, was dedicated on December 2, 1763 in Newport, Rhode Island.

General George Washington set up winter headquarters at Morristown, New Jersey on December 1, 1779.

On November 30, 1782, British and American signed a preliminary treaty in Paris to end the American Revolution, which included withdrawal of British troops and recognition of American independence.

On November 30, 1819, the SS Savannah returned to Savannah, GA from its trip as the first steamship to cross the Atlantic.

On December 1, 1824, the election for President of the United States, in which no candidate received a majority of electoral votes, went to the United States House of Representatives.

Andrew Jackson of Tennessee won 99 electoral and 153,544 popular votes; John Quincy Adams–the son of John Adams, the second president of the United States–received 84 electoral and 108,740 popular votes; Secretary of State William H. Crawford, who had suffered a stroke before the election, received 41 electoral votes; and Representative Henry Clay of Virginia won 37 electoral votes.

As dictated by the Constitution, the election was then turned over to the House of Representatives. The 12th Amendment states that if no electoral majority is won, only the three candidates who receive the most popular votes will be considered in the House. Representative Henry Clay, who was disqualified from the House vote as a fourth-place candidate, agreed to use his influence to have John Quincy Adams elected.

The Skirmish at Rocky Creek Church took place near Waynesboro, Georgia on December 2, 1864.

The City of Sandy Springs began operations at one second after midnight on December 1, 2005. Three years later, Dunwoody became a new city, on December 1, 2008.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The late former Congressman Mac Collins was eulogized at a funeral yesterday, according to

He ran for the state senate as a Republican in 1982 and 1984, losing both times. He prevailed in that race in 1986 and, once sworn in, was one of only 11 Republican senators in the state.

In Congress, he was considered one of the key architects of the GOP’s Contract With America. He served on the powerful Ways and Means committee, the Permanent Committee on Intelligence and as deputy majority whip.

Collins was a member of Rock Springs Church. Among the notables in attendance at his funeral there Sunday were Gov. Deal and first lady Sandra Deal; governor-elect Brian Kemp and his wife, Marty; Congressman Drew Ferguson; and Department of Corrections commissioner Greg Dozier. Former house speaker Newt Gingrich and current Sen. David Perdue made remarks at the service via video link, praising Collins’ work ethic and his commitment to those who elected him.

Collins was eulogized by Dr. Phil DeMore and Rock Springs pastor Dr. Benny Tate. In his remarks, Dr. Tate noted that, while in Congress, Collins turned down the opportunity to sign up for the lucrative congressional pension plan saying he would just get along with Social Security like his constituents.

The Augusta Chronicle looks at early voting in their area.

In the statewide runoff for Georgia secretary of state and public service commissioner and a District 3 runoff for Richmond County Board of Education, 1,934 cast early ballots, bringing the county’s three-day total to 5,348.

As of Thursday, 1,382 paper absentee ballots of 1,918 issued to voters had been accepted by the Richmond elections board.

Another day, another lawsuit from the Democrats. This time, the Democratic Party of Georgia filed suit asking for additional time for mail-in absentee ballots to arrive and still be counted, according to the AJC.

The federal lawsuit asks a judge to require Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden to order counties to treat absentee mail-in ballots like those sent by military voters, which means they would have to count ballots postmarked by Election Day and received within three days after the election.

According to the complaint, 44 counties didn’t mail their first absentee ballots until Monday and another 21 counties waited a day later. With mail delivery taking three to four days to reach voters in some parts of the state, the lawsuit said, the delay will risk disenfranchising voters.

The lawsuit could affect a large bloc of voters in the runoff, which will decide the secretary of state’s race and a Public Service Commission seat. At least 121,000 voters have submitted an application for absentee mail-in ballots in the runoff election.

From the Associated Press:

Results of the general election were certified Nov. 17, but a federal lawsuit filed Thursday by the Democratic Party says at least 65 counties didn’t send out absentee ballots for the Dec. 4 runoff until this week.

Generally absentee ballots must be received by Election Day to be counted. The lawsuit asks a judge to order that absentee ballots postmarked by Dec. 4 and received by Dec. 7 be counted. It also asks that the secretary of state be prohibited from certifying the election results until she has confirmed that those ballots have been counted.

A special election will be held March 19, 2019 to fill the Atlanta City Council seat vacated by the death of Ivory Lee Young, according to the AJC.

House District 28 voters still have today and Tuesday to vote in a redo of the Republican Primary, according to

Judge David Sweat set the election for Dec. 4 after ruling that the election would be held again due to errors in the May 22 election.

District 28 includes Banks, Habersham and Stephens counties.

Judge Sweat agreed with information provided by Gasaway in a seven-hour hearing that 74 ballots were cast incorrectly in Habersham County in the May 22 election.

Information was presented that 74 people voted in the District 10 election, although they live in District 28.

The judge ruled that all eligible voters can cast a ballot except for citizens who voted on a Democrat ballot in the May 22 election.

Gasaway and Erwin are both on the Republican ballot.

Gasaway is the incumbent. Erwin is the retired Banks County School System superintendent.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) will likely serve as the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, according to the AJC.

The three-term congressman was recommended by GOP colleagues on Thursday evening to be the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, the powerful panel that is expected to investigate various White House scandals and mull impeachment proceedings under new Democratic leadership.

The recommendation to elevate Collins was made by the leadership-aligned Republican Steering Committee, a secretive group that Collins himself has been a member of over the last two years. The full House GOP conference must vote to approve of  the appointment before it can be finalized.

The same panel rejected the campaign of another Georgia Republican, Tom Graves of Ranger, to lead the party on the House Appropriations Committee.

Graves, a former state legislator who has served in Congress since 2010, had pitched himself as a disruptor who would stand up for Trump and conservative interests during government spending negotiations, but he faced off against a trio of more senior opponents. Texas Republican Kay Granger ultimately won the committee’s recommendation earlier Thursday.

From AccessWDUN:

The full House GOP conference will have to vote on the appointment before it’s a done deal. The newspaper report said the recommendation to elevate Collins to the position was made by the Republican Steering Committee.

The House Judiciary Committee oversees matters related to the “administration of justice in federal courts, administrative bodies and law enforcement agencies,” according to a definition on the committee’s website.

Republican Brad Raffensperger campaigned for Secretary of State in Augusta yesterday, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Brad Raffensperger reinforced a campaign tenet of not being John Barrow in a Thursday appearance in Augusta.

With Friday the final day to vote early and just four days until Tuesday runoff elections, Raffensperger, the GOP nominee for Georgia secretary of state, accused Democratic runoff opponent Barrow of being soft on voter ID requirements and intent on using hand-marked paper ballots.

“Y’all warned me about this guy, John Barrow,” said Raffensperger, a Johns Creek, Ga., engineer and business owner. “He puts forth a lot of effort.”

Raffensperger also said Barrow signed a 2011 letter sent to every secretary of state opposing photo ID requirements.

Lanier County businessman Franklin Patten announced he will run for the State House seat being vacated when State Rep. Jason Shaw is appointed to the Public Service Commission, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Franklin Patten, owner of Southern Financial Systems, Computer Design and co-owner of Patten Blackberry Farms, announced in a statement this week he will seek the House District 176 seat being vacated by Jason Shaw.

Shaw has been appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to serve on the Public Service Commission starting Jan. 1, forcing a special election for his House seat.

District 176 covers all of Lanier and Atkinson counties and portions of Lowndes and Ware counties.

Patten will run as a Republican.

Whitfield County Magistrate Court Judge Shana Vinyard is on voluntary paid leave, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Chief Magistrate Judge Haynes Townsend said it is unclear when she might return to the bench. Townsend said he has not had contact with Vinyard since she went on leave. Townsend wouldn’t comment on why Vinyard is on leave and said he couldn’t comment on any ongoing investigation, but said, “It is not through our office.”

“There is not too much more than that I can say at this point,” Townsend said. “She is an elected official, and I don’t have the authority to put her on administrative leave. I am the senior elected official and I gave her the option to stay in her office or staying at home. She decided to stay at home. Under Georgia law, you can’t do anything to a judge’s salary while they are still officially a judge.”

Whitfield County Administrator Mark Gibson said he was aware Vinyard was on paid leave but said the county has no control over elected court officials. Vinyard was elected to the court in 2016, filling the seat of Kaye Cope, who resigned after being arrested for DUI.

Outgoing Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson spoke about the beginning of her political career to a women in business luncheon, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The attorney and then-executive director of MidTown Inc. had sought the opinion of a well-known and respected city politico in Columbus, with the two meeting for lunch at the Burger King on Wynnton Road. This came after others in the community had suggested she should possibly run for mayor.

The conversation with the person, who Tomlinson did not name, became starkly blunt as it unfolded in the fast-food eatery and she asked his thoughts about her considering elected office, a challenge she had never tried before.

His assessment: You’re definitely going to lose. Why, she asked. Nobody cares about economic and community development, he said of the issue that Tomlinson was considering putting an emphasis on as mayor.

The future candidate said the adviser then tossed out another observation, declaring that “you’ll never win because white men don’t like you.” On Wednesday, she compared that to today’s political analysts on the cable news networks, who divide people by demographics to include gender, race and age, then make broad generalizations about how those groups will vote in an election.

“What that was was the good ol’ boy system, the old-school way of wanting to push me away from this opportunity, knowing that somebody like me, a Gen-Xer, somebody that had my experience, might shake up a system that he and a few others were used to,” she said. “So I needed to move on down the road.”

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs denied low income housing tax credits for an apartment complex in Macon that was opposed by local residents, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency reimbursed Glynn County $1.5 million dollars for storm cleanup, according to The Brunswick News.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources expects to move some staff into a new regional headquarters in Floyd County, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Right whale calving season is set to begin after a goose egg in 2017-18, according to The Brunswick News.

Saturday, staff from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will take to the skies for the first time this season to see if any right whales have made it south, and if there are any early births to report. Georgia DNR partners with the Sea to Shore Alliance, which will launch its first flight of the season Dec. 8.

“Hopefully, we’ll start seeing some whales in December,” [Department of Natural Resources biologist Clay] George said. “Really, the population’s at a point where it’s in decline — that’s pretty clear at this point, that’s it’s been declining since 2010, and the scary thing is that the rate of decline actually seems to be happening faster than they were increasing in the 2000s. So, if we don’t start seeing some calves starting this year, it’s really concerning, because that means the whales are just going to be setting themselves back farther and farther, numbers-wise.”

A “Freeport” tax exemption for e-commerce passed in Chatham County, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The freeport exemption gradually eliminates inventory taxes on goods that come in through our ports destined for e-commerce fulfillment centers.

For years, online retailers have preferred to bring their products in through the Port of Savannah, whose reputation for speed, efficiency and customer service is unmatched on either coast.

Because area governments charged an inventory tax on e-commerce shipments warehoused here, retailers wanted their products on trucks and trains and on their way as soon as possible – putting Chatham County at a distinct disadvantage when it came to attracting fulfillment centers and the added jobs and revenues they could bring.

Trip Tollison, President and CEO of the Savannah Economic Development Authority, has long asserted that, if not for its inventory taxes, Chatham County would have much to offer as an e-commerce hub.

Earlier this year, Savannah lost a substantial fulfillment center project to Bryan County, which had exempted e-commerce inventory taxes in 2016. And, in October, Amazon announced it would build a temporary fulfillment facility in Effingham County.

Yesterday, Gov. Nathan Deal announced that e-commerce giant Wayfair will create 1,000 jobs in a new fulfillment facility in Savannah.

“There is no question that the voters’ approval of the e-commerce ballot provision helped carry the Wayfair project from the one-yard line over the goal line,” Tollison said Thursday.

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